I am writing this from our plush room at 1777 Wimborne, the hounds are scattered in various positions on the large comfy bed, completely exhausted after the previous days adventures.
We came to Dorset for a shoot for Ministry of Dog, a fabulous dog walking & house sitting franchise that promises ‘Sky not Skype’ as a tag line. I thought it would be quite nice to make a weekend out of it, and I’m so glad we did.
Ali from MoD suggested the 1777 hotel in Wimborne as being dog friendly, I was a little sceptical when I looked at the website, the rooms were gorgeously ornate; would they laugh at me when I called and asked if we could bring our five dogs? I called them with trepidation (trepidation is my go to phone voice when asking anywhere if we can bring 5 dogs), I needn’t have worried, the lovely lady suggested, with a smile in her voice, that maybe we would want one of the bigger rooms, but it was entirely up to us. Brilliant!
So the day of the shoot arrives and we make good time, arriving at the location a little early, to be greeted by a mega watt smile & coffee (I knew right then Ali and I would get on). Ali is quite possibly the most glamorous dog walker you will meet, all blond hair and long legs; she was accompanied by her lovely partner Stuart, although he didn’t have the hair and the legs, he looks like he’s in excellent shape as I think dog walkers should be! After releasing my chaotic hounds into my husbands care for a walk (this took a while as they thought it was a great game to zoom between me and my husband), I finally managed to meet the dogs who would be the face of Ministry of Dog for this shoot. Out came two pointers (I think that’s what they were, they would be more accurately described as a ‘blurry objects’), called Tia & Sachsen, cute little Dotty the Jackerpoo with the massive personality, Darcy the Labradoodle with the most beautiful gold eyes, and of course we couldn’t forget Tilly the pug who spent the entire walk keeping up with the pointers.
The location offered a great variety; heathland, woods and lakes so we managed to fit an awful lot in! The hounds were fantastic, even with Tia rustling away in the bushes most of the shoot we still managed to get some lovely portraits, dynamic action shots & portraits of the team.
After the shoot, we headed to Wimborne town centre for a spot of lunch and a G&T to escape the sudden downpour. The Kings Head gave us a warm welcome and the hounds made themselves comfortable whilst keeping a beady eye out in case of any food droppages. We then wondered round the lovely little town centre and spotted an excellent butcher who provided the hounds with some meaty bones. The hounds were happy as Larry with their treasure in the hotel’s secure garden area, even though we had a downpour again, they continued with their bones while we hid under a tree.
For dinner, Ali had recommended The Olive Branch, which is a sister company of 1777 and just a short walk from the hotel. Oh my days, we felt like royalty! I had called in advance to warn them that we were bringing 5 hounds and they had reserved a table near the back of what is a really vast and quirky bar. They made a fuss of the hounds, letting us cordon of a little space with high chairs so the hounds wouldn’t get stepped on, and asked us if the hounds would like some dog beer & doggy ice cream. The ice cream was devoured (even by Scout who is usually fussy!), the dog beer took a little more getting used to. And then there was the human food! Very high standard considering the size of the restaurant & the fact that it was a Saturday. I can’t thank the staff enough for making our dinner so stress free.
The next day we met with my in-laws as they were down in Dorset too, and we took them to Pugtoberfest put on by Ministry of Dog, Mum-in-law was in her element having two pugs herself. It was a pretty amazing sight!
I’m not sure if the rest of Dorset is this dog friendly, if it is, it has high standards to follow!
Ministry of Dog: www.ministryofdogfranchise.com
1777 Hotel Wimborne: 1777.co.uk
The Olive Branch Wimborne: theolivebranchwimborne.co.uk