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There's a Pawty Going on Around Here!

When is a party not a party? When it’s a ‘PAWTY’, of course, and that’s just what you’ll find at the Market Hall in Caernarfon on Sunday December 9th, when it will be decked out in all its Christmas finery to welcome the town’s first ‘Tails and Tinsel Christmas Pawty’!

The event is being hosted by Cardiff-based ‘Dog Furiendly’, an on-line organisation launched in 2017 with the aim of bringing dog owners together to share information about dog-friendly places and experiences across the UK. They also organise activities for dogs and owners to enjoy together, including group walks, pub quizzes - and even Wales’ first Dog Furiendly cinema night, in Swansea!

The ‘pawty’ in Caernarfon is being organised by local lady, Emma Hughes, founder of North Wales Dachshunds, and ‘Pack Leader’ for Dog Furiendly, whose enthusiasm for this event is infectious, as I found out when I caught up with her for a chat!

She told me: “There will be doggy mulled wine and Pawsecco on arrival and our guests will get to pawty the day away with other V.I.P.s (Very Important Pooches). There will even be a chance to meet Santa Paws in his grotto to receive a gift and to grab a photo opportunity! There will be more fun with a Big Christmas Quiz and a Dog Show with prizes for the Best ‘Pawty’ Trick, best Christmas Outfit and Best Matching Pooch and Human Outfit, and all of our doggy guests will receive a goody bag to take home with them!”.

Emma founded North Wales Dachshunds in 2016, inspired by her own dachshund, Seth. When she first got him as a puppy three years ago, she found that, despite signing up to lots of on-line groups, there were very few dog-friendly activities on offer in North Wales.

Organising group Dachshund walks along the North Wales coast and elsewhere, such as Bodnant Garden in Conwy, led to Emma travelling down to Cardiff to take part in a charity South Wales Sausage Dog Walk, involving around 200 people and their dachshunds. The walk even had air time on national TV, with BBC’s ‘The One Show’ filming the event, held to raise funds for ‘Dedicated to Dachshunds with IVDD’. This charity is dedicated to supporting sausage dogs with the condition IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease), by far the most common health problem in Dachshunds in the UK (around 1 in 4 may be affected at some stage in their lives), and their families.

Besides the ‘Tails and Tinsel Christmas Pawty’, Emma feels that there is definitely a market for more doggy themed activities in North Wales, saying: “People want to do more things with their dogs rather than leaving them behind”.

She is also keen to work with and promote local dog friendly businesses; for instance, Conwy based ‘Pet Remedies’ sponsored their Halloween Walk and have donated some fabulous prizes to the Christmas Pawty, and other local pet based business have contributed prizes, and will have stands on the evening, including Hughes-Ellis Pet Shop, Canine & Co., S&J Working Dog Supplies, Sethbows, Digon o’r Sioe & Carly’s Emmi-Pet Toothbrushes. The event will take place at the Market Hall in Caernarfon on Sunday 9th December 2018, from 1.00 pm – 6.00 pm. General tickets cost £10.00 (one dog per person). Tickets for extra dogs are £3.00 each and tickets for humans only are £5.00 each. You can book your tickets here.

IT’S THE DOGS!

Inspired by Emma, I decided to check out other quirky doggy-themed businesses in North Wales, and those dog friendly venues which offer something just a little out of the ordinary. As I am of the opinion that nothing is too good, or too much trouble, for our furry friends, I thought it would be fun to imagine what might be considered ‘must-haves’ by our pampered canine companions!

Somewhere nice to walk, perhaps? We are truly spoilt for choice here in North Wales, but a fairly new attraction is the Nature Trail at Conwy Water Gardens, where you can walk through a tranquil wooded valley to enjoy its birds and wildlife. Entry is free! Or perhaps a visit to the National Trust’s Bodnant Garden, again in Conwy. These world class gardens are an absolute joy, and dogs are allowed in every day from the beginning of October to the end of March, and then it’s ‘Wag Wednesday Evening Walkies’ from April to the end of September. If you’re planning a winter visit, make sure you visit The Dell to enjoy a luxury hot chocolate, complete with marshmallows and whipped cream, while sitting round the open fire – highly recommended!

Perhaps your pooch would like to look smart when out on walkies? I have a couple of great local companies who can help out here: Canine & Co based in Betws-y-Coed offer a wide range of doggy clothing and accessories, and lots more besides. You can buy on-line, or you can visit their shop adjacent to the Information Centre in the middle of the village. What about a bandana, or even a bow tie? Sethbows, based in Snowdonia, have some great designs – and if you and your loved one are going to the ‘Tails and Tinsel Xmas Pawty’, or any other festive occasion, what about treating them to one of Sethbows’ very smart tuxedo bandanas?

Next - what about eats? Why not try somewhere with a difference, like Pie Records Arts Cafe located in the former HSBC bank building in Rhos-on-Sea. It has a fully licensed bar, live music and a delicious vegan/vegetarian menu – owner Aaron Cooper also runs a Dog of the Week competition! Another option is The Albion Ale House in Upper Gate Street, Conwy, where your companion can choose from a dedicated doggy menu, which even includes gluten free and joint care options! Ironically, the pub doesn’t serve meals to their human customers – you’ll have to make do with a bag of crisps! Both of these establishments were nominated by locals for the 2017 Dog Friendly Pub Awards, run by Dog Buddy.

And finally, when it’s time to put their paws up after a long day, what your companion would really love is a soft and comfy bed on which to lay their head for a well-earned snooze. A hand-made luxury bed from Ivy and Duke is perhaps the ultimate indulgence, but who wouldn’t want one of these lovelies for their own furry favourite! Although the beds aren’t made in North Wales, they are hand crafted in here in the UK.

So what are you waiting for! Get yourself out there and enjoy everything that North Wales has to offer - from pet shops to pawties, we’ve got you covered.

About the author: Sonia Goulding

Sonia lives with her other half, Jon, and her two gorgeous dogs Alfie and Seren, in the pretty hill village of Cilcain, in the glorious Clwydian Hills. She is passionate about rural north Wales and enjoys researching and writing about the people she meets and the beautiful businesses on our doorstep. She is our local Hills correspondent bringing you snippets of country life and the stories of artisan businesses.

Sonia and Jon consider themselves very lucky to be able to live and work in such wonderful surroundings, counting their blessings every day!

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