Molly, Mable and I do love to be beside the seaside. Especially since adopting Mable from Wood Green animal shelter. There’s very little that warm’s my heart as much as watching her and her sister tearing about like lunatics on a beach. This has been affectionately referred to in our house as ‘beach frenzy’, says TV actress and dog lover Ali Bastian.
Feeling the sand beneath their paws, attempting to dig their way to Australia (rather there than in the back garden) splashing in and out of the surf, and paddling in rock pools. I’m often wondering whether Mable is experiencing all this for the first time. I may well be projecting, but I’m sure I can spot a brightness in her eyes and a delightful grin that seems to stretch from ear to ear that tells me that she might well be. Being a stray, I know very little of her life before joining our family.
Photo Credit: Anthony Mayatt
One of the biggest gifts taking in a 'Mable' gives you is the daily reminder to fill our lives with as much love, fun and adventure as possible. So being the good dog mother/captor that I aim to be, I take every opportunity to bundle my team into the car and head for great British seaside.
This month as we continue our pet travel review series in K9 Magazine, the pin in the map pointed to Devon, namely the dramatic Jurassic coast. An interesting name, as we had recently watched the latest blockbuster which shared the title. This had lead to a lengthy conversation observing Mable’s slight resemblance to a baby Raptor, (after a rather severe hair cut I hasten to add,) and a suggestion that she might have in fact, hatched out of an egg.
A quick search for Doggy friendly accommodation later and we were off. Cranberries Luxury Hideaway on the Devon/Dorset border had soon lured us in with promises of spectacular views, spa treatments, endless on and off site activities and all the comfort and convenience of luxury, self catering cottages.
Boy did it live up to our expectations. We loved it so much we even extended our stay for a couple of nights! And had a bit of an embarrassing scene trying to get Molly in the car to leave. The weekend ended with her sat on the doorstep in protest refusing to budge! Gotta love that powerful poodle mastermind brain. Some might call it disobedience.. I say.. she’s small but she’s powerful.
At Cranberries Hideaway, you’ll find a number of 17th century stone cottages to choose from, renovated to the highest standard. Accommodation ranges from the cosy and romantic Saddlery, sleeping two, complete with king size bed, fully equipped kitchen, dining and living area to the Milking Parlour, sleeping sixteen.
The Milking Palour is absolutely perfect for a party and has it’s own hot tub and private garden area. The whole or part of the hideaway can be hired for weddings, hen dos or simply a good old knees up or extended family getaway. They have a dedicated wedding pagoda for a beautiful outdoor ceremony overlooking the sea and surrounding countryside. The hideaway is built on 100 acres of private land, just perfect for the dogs to run wild.
Molly’s musings… I loved the Cranberries and was furious my mother wouldn’t let me linger. Acres of land to run around, plenty of other dog’s to play with.. this has been my favourite mini break by far.
Mable’s mutterings… The nearby beaches of Lyme Regis and Beer are beautiful but pebbly so a little painful under paw. Also quite a few beaches aren’t doggy friendly or are only at certain times of the year so worth couple checking first. There are plenty of foot paths though so we found some beautiful coastal walks.
Not to be missed… They have put together a comprehensive list of activities and are happy to work with you to put together a schedule. Everything from circus skills to cocktail parties to canoeing and Kayaking. Nothing is too much trouble for Steve and his team to organise to ensure you have a weekend to remember. We loved exploring nearby Lyme Regis and Beer, plenty of seaside walks, cream teas and cosy pubs right on the doorstep.
This month, Molly, Mable and I road tested the Kurgo Tru Fit car safety harness. With the increased amount of time on the roads with the dogs and following an incident where Mable, who is not such a keen passenger, leapt on my lap while I was driving, (we were incredibly lucky that didn’t end badly) I decided that for my sake, other road users and of course the safety of the girls, driving without them being strapped in was just not an option.
I’d heard great things about Kurgo harnesses, they are made using the same technology and engineering as harnesses used by rock climbers and linesman . I have to admit, when I got it out of the box, the heavy duty harness and five adjustment points looked a little baffling and I was suddenly overwhelmed by quite a strong urge to pop it back in the box and the cupboard. I’m glad I persevered though, on further inspection, it is all pretty logical (once I’d managed to get it the right way round), it required a little patience from Molly and Mable whilst adjusting it.
Once fitted the girls seemed really comfortable, it’s super easy to attach it to your existing seat belt system with the carabiner included and can double up as a walking harness, attaching the lead to the halt ring on the padded chest plate.
You can rest assured that this harness has been seriously crash tested and you can find the crash test videos on their global website kurgo.com. I feel so much happier knowing that the dogs are both safe and comfortable whilst I’m driving. Molly is a little put out as she is used to riding shotgun but I’m assuring her that being safely strapped on the back seat is the best place for her and her sister.
Find out more about the Kurgo pet travel range, including the Wander Hammock pictured above, online at www.kurgostore.co.uk
Find out more about booking your own dog friendly getaway at the Cranberries online at cranberrieshideaway.co.uk.