As we enter the last couple of weeks of the Dog-Friendly Pub Awards (there’s still time to vote!) we’re introducing our pack of judges. They’re each experts in all things dog and pub related, and they’ve got the tricky task of picking our National Winner from the shortlist of regional winners. Please give a big woofy welcome to Dog-Friendly Pub Awards judge, and leader of the DogBuddy pack, Richard Setterwall.
DogBuddy: If you could match your personality to a dog breed, what would you pick?
Richard Setterwall: I think if you asked my colleagues and friends they’d tell you this would have to be a high-energy and enthusiastic dog… a Border Collie, a Terrier or Spaniel would be on the shortlist. Personally, I’ve always had a soft spot for Rottweilers. They’re sometimes thought of as tough, guard-dog types, but they’re naturally very loyal and gentle. Plus, they need a lot of exercise and activity and since I love to keep fit, a Rottie would be my choice.
DB: Why is DogBuddy running the Dog-friendly Pub Awards?
RS: At DogBuddy, we’re firm believers that dog owners and their dogs deserve to get the most out of life. For dog owners, that means being able to enjoy both work and rest times without worrying about who’s taking care of your dog, which is why we help dog owners find their perfect dog sitter.
Dogs and dog owners should also be able to enjoy themselves together, too. We surveyed 3,000 UK dog owners and discovered that 64% of dog owners are searching online for pooch welcoming pubs, but 34% said they struggled to find a pub that was truly dog-welcoming. We wanted to find the UK establishments that are already doing a great job of welcoming dogs and celebrate these businesses, whilst encouraging other pubs to become more welcoming to our four legged friends.
DB: As a Swede living in London, what do you like most about British pub culture?
RS: Believe it or not, there are a few British themed pubs in Stockholm, which is where I’m from. They even hold regular pub quizzes in English! There are so many pubs in London, so it’s great to get an authentic experience, and there’s always somewhere new to go for a thirst quenching drink to meet a friend after a busy day at work.
DB: Having seen the calibre of the finalists in the Dog-friendly Pub Awards last year, what are you looking for this year for a dog-friendly pub to really stand out as a potential national champion?
RS: Last year’s National Winner, the Hand In Hand in Wimbledon, is such a great dog-friendly pub, and it was a tough decision for us judges to pick just one to name as champion! I think we’re looking for more than lip-service when it comes to being dog-friendly. For example, do the staff really go the extra mile to make dogs and their owners welcome and comfortable? There’s already some stand-out pubs in this year’s Awards who are taking dog-friendliness to new levels, so I’m excited to see who finishes at the top of each region’s Leaderboard.
DB: If you could design your perfect relaxing weekend pub visit, what would it look like?
RS: When I’m not working or travelling between Sweden and the UK, I spend my weekends playing polo. After a game it’s great to find somewhere to enjoy a relaxing drink with team mates and catch up with my polo-playing friends. If it’s a dog-friendly pub, that’s even better. Dog welcoming pubs tend to be more relaxed anyway, and so everyone else tends to be more relaxed. These are a great opportunity for me to give dog owners my “pub pitch” and spread the news about DogBuddy, too!
DB: Can you help settle this one for us, vodka martini – should it be shaken or stirred?
RS: In the movies James Bond always orders a shaken martini, but shake it too much and you just get a watered down drink. Besides, I’m more of a Gin & Tonic man…
That’s all from Richard for now, we’ll be hearing more from him and all our judges when we announce the UK’s best dog-friendly pub in just a few week’s time.
With only a couple of weeks remaining before voting closes on Sunday 29th October, make sure your favourite pub gets your vote.