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The Dogvine Blog

Our Dog And Human Paddle Boarding Experience On The Thames

When we recently heard about dog and human paddle boarding on the Thames hosted by City Paws Club (the UK’s first dedicated outward bound centre for dogs), we were simultaneously super excited and extremely nervous at the thought of giving it a go! Let’s just say we’re not the most likely participants that come to mind seeing as neither human nor hound are that athletic. Not letting a minor detail like that (nor that fact that we’re not the best swimmers) get in our way, we signed up.

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In terms of things to do with your dog, dog and human paddle boarding has to be at the top of the ‘different’ category and definitely ticks the box for a unique experience. Honestly we had no idea what to expect but imagining things going well, saw us serenely and effortlessly gliding down the Thames!

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Belinha…ready for our paddle board adventure!

After making sure we had some of the logistics covered – both dog and human life jackets are provided (phew), we were very much looking forward to giving it a go. On the big day, we met eleven other humans and their hounds at Active 360 under the Kew Bridge Arches for a kitting out and briefing. I was pleased to hear that several of the experienced Active 360 instructors would be joining us and well as pack leader Matt from City Paws Club. At least there would be someone not too far off to help fish us out if we fell in!

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The dogs seem to be paying attention to the briefing by pack leader Matt!

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Given that dog and human paddle boarding was a new experience for the dogs, it was important to get them used to the boards on dry land first. With the help of some treats helpfully provided by Matt, we enticed the dogs onto the boards and encouraged them to sit and lie down to get comfortable. Somehow I managed to end up with two dogs on mine…Belinha and little Alfie. Fine on dry land just not on the river Alfie!

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Image: Natasha Balletta Photography

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Then we were off…after a few rocky steering moments we managed to get going in the same direction as everyone else which was a good start! It’s best to start in a kneeling position which is much easier than standing up. It’s also good for dogs who are a little unsure (as was Belinha) as they can stay close to you for reassurance.Dog and Human Paddle Boarding 00007

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Image: Natasha Balletta Photography

Some of the other dogs like Frank the wire-haired Vizsla needed no reassurance whatsoever and seemed to think this was dog and human swimming instead!

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Frank | Image: City Paws Club

Once you get some confidence you can progress to standing up (it is called stand-up paddle boarding after all). Sam the instructor helpfully held Belinha on his board whilst I gave this a go and oh my….does this give you a leg workout or what! Weirdly, your legs start to shake uncontrollably (apparently happens to most people first time) which doesn’t bode well for not capsizing. Surprisingly however, I didn’t capsize (don’t worry that moment comes later).

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Belinha & Sam | Image: City Paws Club

We glided (yes, there were moments when my vision of serenely gliding down the Thames became a reality) from Kew Bridge to Chiswick Bridge and were even able to catch some of the moments on video (as seen from Belinha’s point of view)…

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9 Of The Best Alternative Great Hampstead Bark Off Awards 2017

Last weekend, Hampstead Heath was taken over by London’s humans and hounds for the annual Great Hampstead Bark Off, raising much-needed funds for London Rescue & Rehoming Charity, All Dogs Matter.

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Each year this event gets bigger and better and this year didn’t disappoint. The dog show categories of Best Pup, Golden Oldies, Best Rescue, Best Child Handler and Mr & Miss Heath were all packed with pups and owners hoping their pooch would wow the judges and be the star of the show.

Celebrity judges Alan CarrMarc AbrahamAnneka SvenskaMichelle Collins, Plum Pudding (holding the torch for Lucy The Rescue Cavalier), James WhalePeter Egan and Kevin O’Sullivan certainly had their work cut out choosing the winners with so many gorgeous pups…we most definitely did not envy being in their shoes!

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Anneka Svenska with Golden Oldies Winner Pippa and Nina

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Alan Carr with the Cutest Pup Winners

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Alan Car, Marc Abraham and Michelle Collins with two young winners

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Alan Carr with the K-9 Angels

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Judges Peter Egan, James Whale and Anneka Svenska

As well as the judges’ choices for winners (with the true caveat from judge Peter Egan that every dog is a winner), we couldn’t help but fall in love with some of the pups who were there to show their suppawt. So following on from our Alternative Bark Off Awards last year, here are our nominees for The Dogvine Best Alternative Great Hampstead Bark Off Awards 2017….

1. Best Dressed Dog

These dogs certainly came dressed to impress and were winning with both style and elegance.

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2. Best Human & Hound Bond

It was clear that the bond between these humans & hounds is truly special and we were lucky enough to be able to share in some of their special moments during the day…

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3. Most Engaging Eyes

‘Eyes are the window to the soul’ and that’s certainly true in the case of these pups…

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4. Best Name

Some people clearly like to choose unique names for their dogs. Meet Halloumi (left), Beyonce (top right) and Plum Pudding (bottom left). Probably not on The Kennel Club most popular dog names list but absolute winners for us.

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5. Most Colour Co-ordinated Human & Hound

This glamorous pair is definitely winning at #twinning. We’re loving the South American vibe too!

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Our London Dog Photo Shoot with Emma O’Brien

It’s official, I most definitely ‘have a thing with walls’ – did you know there’s even an Instagram account @woofandwalls dedicated to dogs and colourful walls which is just my idea of insta heaven! So when I was contacted by award-winning Photographer Emma O’Brien who spends her time between South Africa and the UK to ask if I would like to bring Belinha along for an ‘urban’ London dog photo shoot, images of photos with gorgeous graffiti backdrops flashed before me and the answer was a resounding YES!

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Read on to see how we got on and be warned…this is a colourful post!

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We met Emma at the Leake Street Tunnel, Waterloo. For me, this most definitely ticks the box for an urban dog photo shoot (and for graffiti) – it’s an amazing space with ever changing art and for a photographer I can imagine simultaneously both inspiring and challenging due to the lighting. Fortunately, it wasn’t me behind the camera so I was able to stand back and let Emma work her magic.

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Belinha as always was a superstar (not that I’m biased) and Emma was able to capture Belinha’s personality in some amazing photos that I will treasure forever.

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What’s On | The May 2017 Events Agenda For London Dogs

Oh my dog! Aside from being one of our favourite months of the year, May has a pawsome line-up of events for the city’s canines in store. And as if planning your own social life isn’t hard work let alone your dogs, here’s our pick of the pack to make planning your dog’s social life that bit easier.

From pooch parties to dog & human paddle boarding, there’s enough to keep us London dogs busy this month! Find out what’s on in our May 2017 Events Agenda For London Dogs…

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Orvis Dog Club Launch Party – Wednesday 10th May 2017

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Orvis Dog Club Launch Party

London dogs get their own party invite this month, courtesy of  luxury dog brand Orvis who are celebrating the launch of the Orvis Dog Club on May 10th at their flagship Regents Street Store. Hounds & Humans are invited to come along for a pawsome party, bringing together much-loved dog brands and canine experts. There will be treat and feed brands, pet photographers and dog care specialists on hand to keep the pups entertained. Free to attend, please confirm your pup’s RSVP (and yours), either via the Orvis London store or email

Dog & Human Paddle Boarding – Sat 13th & Sun 14th May 2017

13may11:00 am- 2:30 pmDog & Human Paddle Board Event11:00 am - 2:30 pm Active 360Event Organized By: City Paws Club

This is one event we cannot wait for this month….the chance to take to the Thames on a paddle board with your pup, how cool is that! The event hosted by outdoor experts City Paws Club will take 12 lucky dog & human duos for a 2 hour paddle board each day from Kew. If you or your pups aren’t the best swimmers (like us), life jackets are of course provided with special Ruffwear dog life jackets available too. Cost: £55 per dog & human duo – to book email or call Matt on 07869461304.

Richmond May Fair Dog Show – Saturday 13th May 2017

13may2:00 pm- 4:00 pmRichmond May Fair Dog Show 20172:00 pm - 4:00 pm Little Richmond GreenEvent Organized By: The Vet on Richmond Hill

The Richmond May Fair is a longstanding London tradition (it’s back for the 48th year) complete with traditional Maypole dancing and of course….the Richmond May Fair Dog Show hosted by none other than TV heart-throb: The Vet On The Hill, Dr Scott Miller. There are ten canine categories to choose from so put your best paw forwards pups and head on down to South West London on 13th May to impress the judges.

The Great Hampstead Bark Off –  Sunday 14th May 2017

14may11:00 am- 4:00 pmGreat Hampstead Bark Off 201711:00 am - 4:00 pm Hampstead HeathEvent Organized By: All Dogs Matter

Great Hampstead Bark Off 2017

To round off this mid-May weekend, London Rescue & Rehoming Charity All Dogs Matter will be holding their much-loved annual Great Hampstead Bark Off on Hampstead Heath on Sunday 14th May. This is the event where both humans and hounds have the chance to impress with the Cake ‘Bark-Off’ (doggy themed) and the popular Dog Show, all to be judged by a panel of celebrity judges. Make sure you get your registrations in early for this one London Dogs as places sell out and the competition is tough! To see what’s in store, have a read of our blog post on last year’s event.

Goat Dogs Trust Party – Wednesday 17th May 2017

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Chelsea’s dog-friendly The Goat restaurant, will be holding their annual pooch party in aid of The Dogs Trust on Wednesday 17th May. Owners will be greeted with a canine-themed cocktail and dogs with treats from Lily’s Kitchen. There will also be the chance for your pup to be crowned ‘Top Dog’, as well as a raffle and lucky dip to be entered with some fab prizes to be won. Tickets are £20 with 50% of all ticket sales going directly to the charity. RSVP your dog with #DTGOAT on Instagram.
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SCI-FIDO | The Geeky Event Not To Be Missed For London Dogs This Month

So even though you may not necessarily be a big Sci-Fi fan, when SCI-FIDO – The World’s Only Cosplay for Dogs comes to town and London is taken over by Doggy Darth Vaders and Princess Leia’s, how can you not become a little bit of a sci-fi geek…just for one day?

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The very aptly named SCI-FIDO will be taking place at 11.00am on Saturday 29th April, at Juju’s Bar, The Old Truman Brewery and will be supporting a great cause – London Rescue & Rehoming Charity All Dogs Matter.  SCI-FIDO is part of the annual SCI-FI London Film Festival which runs from 27th April until 6th May 2017 with an astronomical programme of film, live music, immersive experiences and more…including a whopping 6 World and 13 UK film premieres!

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Paws down, the best part of the festival has to be the cult cosplay for dogs! In-character canines will have the chance to walk their own red carpet in the annual dog show hosted by Bunny Galore and will be photographed by the fabulous Dogstar Photo who have teamed up with Doug’s Dogs to support the event. The best-dressed pup will win a bag of canine goodies courtesy of Hounds of Bow, a framed print of their photo and most importantly, earn a well deserved place in the canine cosplay hall of fame!

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You’d be barking mad to miss SCI-FIDO purely for the entertainment factor alone and if you happen to be a dog-loving sci-fi aficionado this will be your idea of geek and canine heaven. 

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London dogs….if you secretly see yourselves as the next ‘Hound Solo’ or ‘Chew-bark-a’, there’s still time for your humans to get creative and make sure you take home the coveted best-dressed canine cosplay award!

Personally, we can’t wait to see who goes over to the ‘bark side’…may the ‘fur-ce’ be with you! Just make sure you do Carrie Fisher proud.

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Photos courtesy of Dogstar Photo

Our Airbnb Guidebook To Dog Friendly London | 10 Of The Best Spots For Shopping & Hanging Out With Your Furry Friend

More and more places are recognising the importance of being dog friendly in the capital, so when we were asked by Airbnb to write an ‘Insiders’ Guidebook to Dog Friendly London for their new Trips platform, we couldn’t wait to share some of the pawsome places and lovely local businesses we’ve discovered along our blogging journey. We’ve had great fun putting our Airbnb Guidebook together and the launch photo shoot was a blast!

Airbnb gathered several of it’s London ‘Insiders’ together on the rooftop terrace of One New Change to help celebrate the launch and we were joined by TV presenter and broadcaster Reggie Yates who has created his own Airbnb Guidebook.

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Presenter and broadcaster Reggie Yates comes together with a series of London ‘Insiders’ (including The Dogvine) to celebrate the launch of Airbnb’s ‘Insider Guidebooks’, part of the new Trips platform. Photo: Airbnb

From bike-makers to bloggers, each insider has curated a Guidebook based around their local expertise showcasing their favourite spots around London in a bid to help both locals and visitors discover more about the city. See all the London Guidebooks here.

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Sadly for health and safety reasons Belinha couldn’t join me on the shoot but a ring in was swiftly organised. Photo: Airbnb

We were extremely proud to be part of the Airbnb ‘Insider’ Guidebooks project and to see our Dog Friendly London Airbnb Guidebook published (find it here). And of course we had to share our top tips with you, so without further ado meet the dog friendly London spots that feature in our Insider Guide (in no particular order of pawsomeness)…

1. Holly & Lil The Collarmakers (103 Bermondsey St, SE1) The Dogvine Airbnb Guidebook 7 - Holly & Lils

Why We Love It:

Think fashion emporium for dogs with a classic British feel. Nestled in the very quirky Bermondsey St, dogs are treated like queens (or kings) here, roaming free whilst you browse their selection of iconic handmade collars and leads, stylish accessories or tasty treats in this treasure trove of a shop. Treats and water readily available.
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Insider Tip:

Make sure you pick up a copy of Holly & Lil’s ‘Who Lets The Dogs In Paw Guide to Bermondsey St ‘ a brilliant dog friendly map of the area with more than 30 places nearby for coffee, shopping etc. Staff are also super knowledgeable and can give you plenty of tips. If you’re looking for unique items for your dog (or as a gift) or London-themed dog accessories then this is definitely the place to come.

Website: Holly and Lil’s The Collarmakers

2. F***Coffee (163-167 Bermondsey St, SE1)The Dogvine Airbnb Insider Guidebook 10 - F***kCoffee

Why We Love It:

The perfect refueling pit stop after some doggy shopping at Holly & Lil’s in the same street. Relaxed and spacious place with huge sofas at the back for lounging on next to your dog or plenty of tables at the front. The vibe is eclectic, laid back and colourful and not at all pretentious – it feels like a home away from home. Staff make sure to offer dog treats and a bowl of water and dogs are genuinely welcomed throughout.

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Insider Tip:

Definitely recommend grabbing a spot on one of the many huge sofas so your dog can relax next to you. Coffee is great and there is a good selection of fresh cakes (including vegan ones) and soups on offer. If Bitcoins are your thing there is also a Bitcoin ATM for some post-coffee Bitcoin trading (whilst your dog is still sleeping on the sofa of course). Read More

Celebrities Open Bow Wow Grooming Salon For London’s Best Loved Dog Shop

Celebrity London Dog Owners Amanda Holden and Maria Friedman together with their dogs Buddy the Shichon (Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise cross) and Bingy the Shih Tzu, showed their ‘suppawt’ for the opening of Bow Wow London’s new Grooming Salon in Bloomsbury on Wednesday 22nd March 2017.

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Amanda Holden with Buddy

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Maria Friedman with Bingy

Bow Wow London (whose flagship Covent Garden Store was voted London’s Best Loved Shop in Time Out’s 2015 Love London Awards), are clearly hoping to carry over that success to their new Grooming Salon. The aim is to create a happy environment with plenty of treats and a play area for dogs whilst they wait  – cages and drying cabinets are banned from the salon we were pleased to hear.

Celebrity canines Buddy (who has his own Instagram @buddyholden) and Bingy were treated to a spruce up with the finest, holistic BIOGANCE® products from head groomer Haruka who hails from Japan, where she studied an extensive two-year dog-grooming course at the prestigious International Animal Health & Management College in Tokyo. Joining her as assistant groomer is East London girl Vicky, who has been grooming the hounds of Essex for the past four years and is the resident First Aider for Dogs. Read More

New 24 Hour London Animal Hospital Comes to Camberwell

Next month The London Animal Hospital will open it’s doors in Camberwell. Not only is this going to be a brand new state of the art hospital but it will operate round-the-clock on a 24 hours basis.

London Animal Hospital Facilities

The London Animal Hospital is the dream of David Cuffe of well-known Clapham Vets Practice, Cuffe Vets. Ever since we moved to London five years ago, Cuffe Vets has been our vets and have been fantastic. However when we’ve needed emergency after-hour care, up until now we’ve had to go to the 24 hour Vets in Westminster or Streatham. Knowing that should the need arise (and paws crossed it doesn’t), we will now be able to go to a 24 Hour Vets in South London that is an extension of Cuffe Vets at any time day or night is really reassuring.

But it’s not only about after-hours emergency care. The London Animal Hospital will offer extended consulting hours to accommodate for people’s busy schedules.

As David Cuffe says “Our pets don’t keep regular office hours so why should we. For years I have watched time get in the way. I’ve seen clients rush in at 8:45 in the morning, hoping to be seen immediately so they can still make it to work, or ring in at 6:45 to cancel the last appointment because their train is delayed or the cat has suddenly vanished. On Saturdays, they encounter a skeleton service with some cases inevitably delayed until Monday. Phones that just ring and ring and overstretched, out-of-hours services that tell people to wait to see their own vet in the morning.”

Well not any more! The London Animal Hospital will be open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with consultations available from 7am to 9pm daily and then a team on-call until the morning.

As well as regular veterinary care, the hospital will also offer specialist services such as Cardiology, Advanced Diagnostic Imaging Services, Dentistry, Maxillofacial Surgery and Emergency & Critical Care.

The London Animal Hospital Logo

The London Animal Hospital at Kenbury Works on Coldharbour Lane, in Camberwell will open on 10 April, 2017. You can pre-register on the website and if you do, consultations are half-price for the first three months. You could also be in with the chance to win a Golden Ticket £10,000 voucher to pay for your pet’s care throughout their life!


Abbey | The Dog Dumped In A London Canal Needs A Home

Sadly, Abbey could be the poster girl for another case of irresponsible breeding gone wrong. This beautiful 14-month-old Staffie Cross was discovered dumped in the Grand Union Canal, North West London soaking wet, shivering and underweight. After being spotted by a member of the public, Abbey was taken to The Mayhew Animal Home where it was discovered she had already been used for breeding despite being so young.

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The Mayhew’s Head of Animal Welfare, Zoe Edwards, said: “ Unfortunately we see a lot of unwanted dogs like Abbey who have been bred purely to be sold for profit or used as a breeding machine. When they end up injured, unsold or no longer wanted, some irresponsible breeders abandon and dump them. We ask that owners think responsibly about where they get their pets from and consider adopting a rescue dog.”

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Abbey is an innocent victim of the mercenary backstreet breeding trade that forces dogs to produce litter after litter of puppies for easy cash. Just over a year ago, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home produced a Backstreet Breeding report that showed that of 560,000 puppies born in England each year, only 12% are born to licensed breeders. Poor Abbey is just one of the dogs paying the price of this shocking statistic. Read More

Loved-Up Dogs London Dogs At The All Dogs Matter Valentines Dog Walk

Whether you’re a fan of Valentines Day or not, the All Dogs Matter Valentines Walk will definitely bring out the hidden romantic in you!

Every year, London dog lovers share the love by taking a Valentine’s stroll on Hampstead Heath to help dogs in need from rescue and rehoming charity All Dogs Matter. And for those looking to find the four-legged love of their life, the All Dogs Matter team are always on hand ready to play canine cupid with some very loveable pups looking for a home.

This year, some of these pups received an unexpected helping hand from animal-loving celebrity Ricky Gervais who stopped by…

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Ricky with Weller. Visit Weller’s Profile

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Ricky and Pixie. Visit Pixie’s Profile

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Ricky with Romeo, All Dogs Matter General Manager Ira Moss and Rescuer/Rehomer Sonia Robertson. Visit Romeo’s profile

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Ricky and Juliet. Visit Juliet’s profile

They also had plenty of helping paws from all the loved-up dogs and owners who came along. One pup who deserves a special mention is canine celebrity Elvis The Dachshund who did the whole Valentines walk in his specially adapted (and very well-decorated) wheelchair, what a superstar!

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