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'We are approaching peak dog. They are everywhere': Norfolk pubs are no different

The Bar Man, by Jeff Hoyle, Friday, May 7, 2019

My Father would say ‘Day o’ t’ dog’s done’ when I raised the issue of getting a puppy.

He was wrong. The Chinese may have decided that it is the year of the pig, but I think we are approaching peak dog. They are everywhere.

A Dog’s Journey almost rivals the Avengers at the cinema.

Universities have dogs to calm exam nerves, schools invite dogs in to calm pupils and I read that there are now dogs at Aberdeen airport to help relax nervous passengers.

Before you board the flight, you can pet Noodle, the friendly Labrador, to ease away your anxieties.

Presumably this is before you are inspected by his brother Pot Noodle on the look-out for illicit drugs.

Pubs are not immune. All eight of the Norfolk pubs that we surveyed recently for the Norfolk County Awards had dogs present and, at the local football games I attended recently in Mildenhall and March, the dogs were about as much an attraction as the games.

Even the play-off game at Lynn had at least one dog in attendance. It would be sad if they have now reached a level where the rules mean that they have to be dog-free.

The Bar Man, by Jeff Hoyle, Friday, May 7, 2019
The Bar Man, by Jeff Hoyle, Friday, May 7, 2019

Pubs seem to be competing amongst each other to attract our furry friends. The cheeky little paw print on the chalk board outside. Bowls of water to slake their thirst. Bone-shaped treats in a jar on the bar.

Even the Good Beer Guide now includes a symbol for dog friendly pubs. Enough already? Not at all.

When we called in at the Fox at Garboldisham they even had dog beer. In two flavours. Snuffle Dog Beer is based on Belgian style beer, it has 0% alcohol content and you can choose between chicken flavour or beef and chicken flavour.

The ingredients are said to be ‘human grade’, so it is pretty healthy, though I might stick to traditional bitter myself.

Intrigued, I did a bit of research (aka Googled) to find that the Americans were here first. Over there you can also buy Flat 12 Paws Dog Beer, made from carrots, potatoes, meat bones and brewer’s yeast, and said to taste like a nice broth.

Bowser Brewing Company offers Beefy Brown Ale or Cock-a-doodle-brew which contain glucosamine, good for the joints. Dawg Grog is a vegetarian option, while in Brazil Dog Beer is supposed to be super popular.

Have I jumped on the bandwagon? (dogcart?).We won’t be getting a dog any time soon, although we have had a few come to visit.

Jasper the Labrador was driven down without a stop from Newcastle on a really hot day a year or two back. When he arrived, it was straight into the Walks, where he escaped Judy and dived straight into the water, to emerge very wet and smelly.

He had been before, and knew his way back to the house. Or thought he did. In fact he bounded straight through our neighbour’s open front door before being quickly captured and hosed down in our back garden.

And there’s the problem. They can be a bit smelly, and it can linger in a pub. Keen though they are on food, washing their paws before eating, especially your dinner, is not their strong point, and there are some people that have an irrational fear of them.

So, let’s have dogs in pubs, but make sure that they are nice and clean and well behaved. Keep them out of the restaurant areas and maybe have a dog free room.

Then we can all be happy to see dogs in pubs, except perhaps for Black Shuck.

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