With so many places in Britain opening their doors to paws nowadays, it seems like we never have to stray too far to find establishments that will welcome Elsa, but sometimes we come across somewhere that goes above and beyond to cater for our canine friends… DOGHOUSE is one of those amazing places that’s definitely worth going out of your way to visit!
We took a little detour on our way home from a short break on the South Coast (which is why Elsa looks a bit bedraggled in the photos - her fur was styled by the salty sea air) so that we could travel through Bradford-on-Avon and stop at DOGHOUSE, rather than make do with a break at a service station.
DOGHOUSE is a lot bigger than we expected it to be, filled with all sorts of products including food, toys, accessories and lots of practical things including training aids and healthcare items. There is also a grooming salon called the DOGWASH at the back of the shop where dogs can be booked in for everything from a ‘Puppy Intro’ to a ‘Full Body Groom’.
The café takes pride of place in the centre of DOGHOUSE, offering all sorts of delicious treats and drinks for both humans and hounds.
We ordered Elsa a puppaccino and expected a pot of foam or cream but instead she was served a cup of frothed milk (dog safe) with a small cookie and some tasty sprinkles that were scattered on top as it was served. I didn’t think that she would drink the milk because she is normally incredibly fussy about drinking anything other than water but once she had a taste of it she really seemed to enjoy this extra special treat; She took her time with it, savouring every gulp, and even licked the cup clean when she was done!
I got the impression that DOGHOUSE is somewhat of a central hub for local dog owners to meet up, make friends and spoil their furry companions and I have to say that I'm a little bit jealous that we don't live closer...but we'll certainly go out of our way to visit again!
Throw us a bone DOGHOUSE!
We chat to the owner, Ruth, to learn more about this shop’s background, their best selling products and plans for the future:
Tell us the story behind DOGHOUSE:
Before I opened DOGHOUSE I had a small shop called Fetch, where Sparky and I spent ten happy years learning the art of pet shoppery and curating the idea of what we thought would make the perfect dog shop. People honestly thought we were a bit bonkers to open a café in a pet shop, but our perfect shop always included a coffee shop where dogs would be treated just as well as the people they bring with them! Since we opened our doors in 2017 our feet have not touched the ground, we have been overwhelmed and humbled by the feedback we have received from our customers and the industry, we thought this was a good idea and it seems other people think so too! We have grown from a tiny little shop into this wonderful small business that employs ten local people and brings a huge amount of footfall to our high street and I am so proud of that.
What can visitors expect?
Gosh, where to start. Aside from an enthusiastic welcome? Our shop is unique, we have a beautiful premises which we took from a damp, derelict vault to the light industrial space it is today, complete with cafe, shop and grooming salon. Our fully trained pet shop baristas can make you any coffee you care to name, plus we stock a huge range of foods and accessories for dogs and their people, often showcasing new makers and new products before they become mainstream. Our brilliant little team are very knowledgeable and are happy to help with anything from the best way to remove a tick to how to fit a harness correctly or which dog food will suit your dog best.
What sets DOGHOUSE apart from other pet shops?
The café, for sure. We were the first pet shop with a café in the country. When we set out to do this we were told we'd be serving coffee with dog hair in and that people wouldn't want to come and sit in a smelly old shop that smelt of wet dog to drink coffee... how wrong they were! We sell a range of treats in the café for dogs and their people including the very popular puppaccino, a specially warmed goats milk drink served in a cup with a dog treat on the side! Beyond the café, we have a superbly stocked shop with products you don't find in many shops, we love supporting small British brands and showcasing what wonderful products are out there for dogs. And then finally we have our state of the art dog grooming salon where we have quickly gained a reputation for grooming dogs well, so well that we have to run a waiting list for new clients as we are so busy!
Do you sell any exclusive products?
We do, we have collaborated with a fabulous natural shampoo company based in Devon to supply our very own nose and paw balm, we are also developing our own range of shampoo and perfume sprays. Then we have a range of exclusive bandana. Our current special edition is a fabulous gold bandana that is being sold in aid of Bowel Cancer UK in memory of a dear friend and customer who died from the disease last year.
What's your bestseller?
Quite possibly our puppaccino and ice cream, closely followed by our natural treats - plaited Ostrich is the most popular at the minute! We also sell a lot of enrichment toys that add value to a dog's day and promote health and well being.
Do you host any events?
Oh yes we do! We host lots of events for dog owners to enjoy with their dogs including educational workshops covering first aid, grooming and enrichment. At Christmas we ran a very popular wreath making workshop and a pop-up photo booth. We also host birthday parties for dogs and supply healthy, homemade birthday cakes. We've just collaborated with a local company called Original Wild to bring paddle boarding with your dog to Bradford-on-Avon and Bath which we are very excited about! Click here to find out more about the current events that DOGHOUSE are hosting.
Do you have plans for the future?
Oh yes, there are so many opportunities to expand DOGHOUSE. We get asked all the time when we might open another shop and can it please, please be in.... what we've created is so much more than a pet shop, it has a certain magic about it and people want to be a part of it, and yes, we may well be coming to a town near you soon!