Sometimes the best days are those that you don’t spend months planning or that are based around the simple things in life. That’s what happened when London Dogs who knew each other mostly from social media (Insta or the South London Dogs Facebook Group) decided to get together (well their humans did) for a London Dogs of Instagram Meetup.
We were also joined by pet and lifestyle photographer Natasha Balletta who I first met a few years ago when we were both volunteering to take photographs for London Rescue and Rehoming Charity All Dogs Matter. Thank you to Natasha for capturing some fabulous shots from our London Dogs of Instagram Meetup and for allowing me to use them in this blog post.
The plan was to meet for a walk in Battersea Park then for those who wanted to, take the Thames Clipper down the river to Greenwich (turns out our blog post on the dog-friendly Thames Clipper has meant quite a few pups are now exploring what we think is the best dog-friendly way to travel).
With multiple meeting points, two in Battersea Park, one at the Thames Clipper and the other in Greenwich this sounded like a plan that had all likelihood of not coming together but turns out that sometimes the not so best laid plans are the ones that work out just fine.
We had a great turnout at Battersea Park and all the dogs, large or small got on pawsomely which was lovely to see. It was slightly bizarre to be greeting the dogs like long-lost old friends even though you’ve never met them but feel like you know them so well from social media and then trying to work out which human was connected to each dog.
Dog names were easily remembered whilst human names needed some reminders. That didn’t last for long and everyone soon became thoroughly acquainted with both humans and hounds by the time we gathered at the Pear Tree Cafe.
Sadly it was soon time to leave to catch the Thames Clipper down the river to Greenwich and not everyone decided that this part of the London Dogs of Instagram Meetup adventure was for them. However, there were plenty of us to put a smile on the Thames Clipper staff faces as we got on the boat with more than one Thames Clipper staff commenting, “look at all the dogs…this is brilliant!”
Little did they know that we have a secret goal to fill the Thames Clipper with London Dogs all sailing their way down the river!
And so we were off on part two of the London Dogs of Instagram Meetup! Given the Thames Clipper weekend timetable, we did have to change boats at London Bridge but every step of the way the Thames Clipper staff were super helpful (and super amused, especially at Belinha (aka Queen B) in her buggy.
We had plenty of room on the boats and the dogs took it all in their stride. Hemingway the Pug decided he would like to hitch a ride with Queen B (who wouldn’t want to be driven around all day) but Belinha was not too impressed at having to share her ride, sorry Hemingway!
Once we all arrived in Greenwich we were in the capable paws of Amber the Cav Repawter, top dog in the area for part three of the London Dogs of Instagram Meetup. Amber decided to take us to the dog-friendly Parkside Café and Terrace at the National Maritime Museum (dog-friendly outside on the spacious terrace) for a spot of lunch before a stroll in the park with a welcome doggy paddling stop (literally) in the museum water feature along the way to cool off!
We were also joined by some local doggos who came along for part three of the London Dogs of Instagram Meetup, before rounding off the day with a walk (and sit for the humans) in the park. After a wonderful day, it was time to get the boat back to Battersea but we encountered a long queue of tourists wanting to head back which would have meant waiting an hour plus. Fortunately, thanks to a tip from a helpful Thames Clipper staff member who recommended we take the boat one stop in the other direction to North Greenwich (last stop) and then stay on the pretty much empty boat back, we were speedily on our way.
We had an absolutely pawsome time and the London Dogs of Instagram Meetup was testament to the importance of putting the old-fashioned social back into our online social media lives. This was the first London Dogs of Instagram Meetup but it definitely won’t be the last. Oh and it probably needs a new name as you definitely don’t need to be on Insta to come along.
Watch this space for the next London Dogs of Instagram Meetup or rather watch the London Dog Events Calendar or join the South London Dogs Group on Facebook. Hope to see you there!
A BIG thank you to Natasha Balletta Photography for coming along to capture the day (see Natasha’s photo gallery from the day here) and to Freddie, Barnaby, Buxton and Amber for their pawsome co-hosting skills!
More photos (which will also shortly be up on our Facebook Page) from our London Dogs of Instagram Meetup…