This weekend I attended an event that might have sounded somewhat unusual to most – Doggie Speed Dating! I stumbled across this idea on the website Style Tails, an online store that sells all sorts of fancy goodies for the more ‘cultured’ doggies of the UK (www.styletails.com).
On further inspection, I realised that this was so far up my alley that I must go. The event was organised by Fetch and Follow, a lifestyle brand for dogs who produce cute jackets, leads, and other doggie apparel and accessories (www.fetchandfollow.co.uk), and was featured at the trendy, 'dog-friendly', Ace Hotel in Shoreditch (www.acehotel.com/london).
The simple reason for this event was to allow prospective, or current owners, a chance to have a session of 10 minute dates with some of the dog industry’s leading professionals, re-homing charities and instafamous doggie personalities. Attendees are given the opportunity to ask anything and everything they want to know about finding their perfect canine match, or how to best treat their current furry love of their life.
To top it off, our ticket also included tasty snacks, a doggie-themed cocktail (or mocktail) and a goodie bag from Fetch and Follow themselves. All profits made from the event were donated to the two attending charities - All Dogs Matter and the Blue Cross. So obviously, I was quite excited about being able to take Lucy with me to pick the brains of so many doggie professionals!
Once we arrived, Lucy quickly started making friends with all the humans, while typically ignoring all the other lovely dogs! After a quick social near the entrance, we were shown to our first date by being given a number that matched us up with our corresponding professional/ personality. I managed to speak with every date for much longer than the planned 10 minutes as inevitably we all forgot to start our timers! On completion of our dates, we were given goodie bags and shown to the rooftop terrace for our free food and cocktails. Overall, the whole experience was extremely interesting and well worth the visit! I'd also recommend the hotel as a great place to stay in London, if you're looking for somewhere quirky, central and dog-friendly!
See below for a list of all the professionals I spoke to, with links to their websites or Instagram pages:
1. Dog Personality – Winny the Corgi and his owner, and doggie photographer, Rachel Oates. We had a lovely chat about Winny and her photography.
See Winny’s Instagram: www.instagram.com/winnythecorgi and Rachel’s photography page: www.racheloatespetphotography.com
2. Dog Personality – Ella the French bulldog with her New York born owner. We had a really insightful chat about marketing through mediums such as Instagram.
See Ella’s Instagram: www.instagram.com/grrlgenius_
3. Dog Personality - Reggie the schnoodle with his lovely owner, who again gave me some great insights into gaining traffic on platforms such as Instagram.
See Reggie’s Instagram: www.instagram.com/reggie_the_schnoodle
4. Vet – Ciara Clark, and her practice that visits Doggie Day Care centres in London. She helps administer health checkups to dogs while they’re in a happy and comfortable environment. I really enjoyed my chat with her about dog related behavioural courses available, and the potential idea of using GPS tracking on my walks - something I am considering.
See her website - www.vetinthecity.com
5. Groomer – With an interest in possibly branching Wanderdog out to grooming as well, my chat with Carolina, a groomer based at Sniffles Dog Grooming Spa in Hampstead, was extremely interesting. She was very helpful answering all my questions, down to what are her favourite and most recommended pair of scissors are!
Check out her spa website - www.sniffles-spa.co.uk
6. Re-homing Charity - Blue cross. I had a lovely chat with some ladies who work tirelessly to re-home dogs, cats and all sorts of other small animals
Check out their website - www.bluecross.org.uk
7. Re-homing Charity - All dogs matter. Sadly only a quick chat with these guys, as I had spent far more than 10 minutes with all my previous dates! These guys are particularly interesting as they’re based only in London, so they are a reasonably small charity working hard to keep the dogs of London in loving homes.
Check out their website - www.alldogsmatter.co.uk
8. Doggie Photographer – Had a lovely chat with Lauren Sheldon, a fantastic photographer.
Check out her beautiful photos: www.laurensheldonphotography.com
9. Dog behaviourist – I was lucky enough to arrive a little early for this chat, so couldn’t help but listen to give some very sound and interesting advice to the lady before me about her anxious Schnoodle. Wanderdog hopes to offer behavioural and training advice in the future, so it was quite thrilling to chat to Louise about her career and how she started.
See her website: www.thedarlingdogcompany.co.uk
10. Doggie nutritionist and herbalist – Last, but definitely not least, I met with Kima who promotes healthy eating through the use of herbs and raw food. This for me was particularly exciting because I am a big fan of the BARF (Bones and Raw Food) diet, and really can talk quite a bit on the topic.
Check out her website for more unusual herbs, and for advice on healthy eating for your dog - www.dafioretti.com