Swanage shops get more dog friendly

There should be lots of happy wagging tails in town, now more and more shops are displaying ‘dog friendly’ signs in the window.

Local artist Andy Knill is the man behind the scheme. So far more than 30 shops in Swanage have adopted the window stickers, with four more in the wider Purbeck area.

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And there’s a security aspect to it too. With dog theft on the rise, owners need never be parted from their pooches.

Andy Knill outside his gallery
Andy Knill

Artist Andy Knill has been promoting the scheme

“They don’t have to worry where their dog is”

The pen-and-ink artist may be dog-less himself but he always keeps a bowl of water outside his Courtyard Studio, in Tilly Mead, off Commercial Road, to keep thirsty canines content.

Andy said:

“I love people being out with their animals. There’s nothing in here that they are going to damage.

“The owner can be with their dog and they can look at things and they don’t have to worry where their dog is.”

Dog friendly stickers in shop windows

More than 30 shops have adopted the scheme

Shop owners have been keen

He had seen the idea in another town and decided Swanage – as a dog-friendly tourist destination – should have its own version. He’s been heartened by the success.

He said:

“It’s really great to see how many shop owners have been keen to take up the scheme.”

Shopkeeper with her pet dog
Michelle Poultney

Shopkeeper Michelle Poultney, with her dog Willow, was keen to display a sticker

“the perfect idea”

Dog owner Michelle Poultney who runs the Pursenalities shop in Institute Road was keen to take up the scheme. She already has a supply of dog treats and a water bowl.

Michelle said:

“It just seemed the perfect idea. As a dog owner myself I know it can be really frustrating when you go somewhere for a day out and somebody has to always stand outside with the dog.”

Tourist information staff
Sarah Tattersall

Tourist Information staff – Kathy Bangle, Sarah Tattersall and Maggie Pearce

The scheme has the backing of the Swanage Tourist Information Centre.

Assistant manager, Sarah Tattersall, said:

“We always welcome people with dogs and anything like the stickers to show that we are dog friendly is all for the good.”

Dog with water bowl
Michelle Poultney

A thirsty dog makes use of the water bowl outside Pursenalities

Plan to put Swanage’s hidden streets on the map

Andy, who is a former Geography teacher, is now hatching a new plan that will put his little bit of Swanage on the tourist map and attract more shoppers to the town’s back streets.

He’s encouraging businesses in the triangular area between the High Street, Kings Road East, Institute Road and Station Road to join ‘The Heart of Swanage’ scheme, with a profile of their business on social media.

Andy said:

“I want to encourage people to explore all the small businesses between the three main shopping streets. So far the feedback has been positive.”

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