What would life be without man's best friend? A much lonelier place indeed. Despite our love of dogs, there are many places that do not allow them, and our faithful companions have to either stay at home, or be tied round a lamppost, while they wait patiently for us to come out again.
But for every sign that says 'no dogs allowed', you will also find one that welcomes them with open arms. If you and your family are looking to spend some time with your four-legged friend, then here are a few days out that will have everyone barking with glee.
But first things first; before you start taking your dog here, there, and everywhere, make sure that you'll be able to find them again if they go running off. Nothing can be more distressing than when a pet goes missing. My heart always breaks when I see a flyer pinned to a tree, asking if anyone has seen their cat or dog. The charity, Dogs' Trust are holding free microchipping around the country this year. Since the government will soon make microchipping compulsory for all dog owners, this is a good chance to get it done without the cost. To see Dogs' Trust's schedule of events, see here.
Of course, it is always best not to lose your dog at all, and the best way to ensure that is with good training. At Hatfield Forest on the 31st May, the National Trust will be holding a Canine Capers event, where experts will be giving demonstrations, giving self-confidence workshops, and obedience training. There will also be Waggiest Tail and Shiniest Coat competition. You'll get equally good advice at Tottenham Marshes on the 8th June with Lee Valley's Top Dog event. There will be a free handling clinic, where you will be given guidance on how to deal with aggression, obedience, noise, and general bad behaviour.
Dogs Unleashed is the 'ultimutt doggy day out'. At only £4.50 a ticket (£3 children), it will give you all the fun of Crufts, but without the price tag. Take the family to The Bakewell Showground on 22nd & 23rd of June and enjoy children's entertainment, a doggy paddling pool, and the chance to have your pet's portrait taken. There will also be agility displays, flyball, a dog scurry, and pedigree show. These events aren't just for watching, but also for taking part. Could your dog win a rosette?
Join Battersea Cats & Dogs Home on the 6th July for their Old Windsor Fun Day. There will be a variety of doggy gift stalls from leads to toys, and snacks. They can also play games such as Have-A-Go-Agility, Temptation Alley, or take part in a number of shows like the 'waggiest tail' and 'golden oldie'. Children can also have fun with face painting, a bouncy castle, and a coconut shy.