Posts Tagged ‘Pet’

Meet the 17-year-old dog lover with a huge ambition

I’m a sucker for a dog-friendly café. If I can take Bruce with me for a nice brew and piece of cake after a good walk, I’m happy. So when I heard about 17-year-old Nicole Welch’s dream to open a Paws for Coffee café, where people can go for coffee plus a cuddle with a canine, I was intrigued.


Nicole got her initial idea for her dog-friendly café, Paws for Coffee, from the cat cafés in Japan, which give punters somewhere to go for a cuppa and the option to stroke a resident cat while they’re enjoying their refreshments. Nicole’s plan is to open a doggy version in London, where dog lovers can congregate and non-dog owners can visit and feel the benefit of a cuddle with a four-legged friend.

Nicole and Millie Image supplied by Nicole Welch

Nicole and Millie
Image supplied by Nicole Welch

“I realise how much dogs can bring people together,” Nicole tells The Mighty Pooch. “Whether you have a dog or not, just talking about dogs can make you smile. That’s where I came up with the idea of a dog café, a place where you can meet puppies and other dog owners, and bring along your furry friend, all while enjoying yourself.”

Nicole is certainly a determined teenager, as she spent 10 years trying to persuade her mum, who suffers from a skin condition, to get a dog. “After extreme researching I managed to convince my mum that a hypoallergenic breed shouldn’t trigger her and we’ve now had Millie, a cockapoo, since the day she turned eight weeks old. The one thing that annoyed me though was not being able to take her out with us for a coffee or some lunch!”

Millie will be one of the resident dogs at the café when it eventually opens and will come to work with Nicole every day. “I intend to rescue another dog as soon as I can who will also be a resident pooch, while people with friendly, healthy dogs will be more than welcome to come in for tea and cake. Later down the line we’ll organise puppy parties and other events. I want to hold fundraising events to raise awareness with animal charities too.”

Far from simply a café where dogs are petted and cooed over, Nicole intends to use her enterprise to “make the world (well, maybe just London for now) a place that accepts dogs and looks after them, loves them and treats them as we would wish to be treated.” She hopes to work with people with disabilities, anxiety and depression, too, believing that dogs can really make a difference to people’s well-being.

“Dogs do wonders for people’s emotions. They can lower blood pressure, stop anxiety and just talking about them can put a smile on your face. My dream has always been to work with animals and, this way, I will also be encouraging others to love dogs the way I do!” She tells me.

Currently, Paws for Coffee is at the planning and funding stage. Nicole intends to use crowdfunding to finance the opening of the café, which uses donations to get ventures up and running. “The plan so far is to ensure we can secure all the right licences and insurances to make this possible and, from what we can see, it’s all green lights! A dog-friendly café is something that will really involve the community, so why not ask them to get behind it and contribute? I want the café to be as sincere as possible and to be a lovely, family-orientated place.”

So far, Nicole has had a good response to her enterprise, with many people pledging to donate money to get the venture off the ground. “In general, everyone has taken to this idea so well, that I can’t wait to open and meet them all! I know I can make this happen with everybody’s support.”

If you want to drop Nicole a line, she can be contacted at or you can follow her on Twitter @PawsForCoffee.

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Keep track of roaming dogs with a GPS dog collar

To lose a dog must be devastating. But did you know that there is a way to keep track of dogs with a penchant for haring after rabbits and disappearing out of sight? The GPS dog collar is not something on everyone’s radar – but it is there to give you peace of mind.


Last week we spotted new posters in our area pleading for information on a beautiful terrier who had gone missing on a walk. Having spotted a rabbit, she’d raced off after it and her humans hadn’t seen her since. A couple of days had passed and they were seriously worried.

Beagles are especially notorious for heading out on missionsImage copyright to The Mighty Pooch

Beagles are especially notorious for heading out on missions
Image copyright to The Mighty Pooch

Then, a few days later, we found a different wandering dog and returned her to her owner. The owner was delighted to have her back but seemed to think that wearing a normal collar would stop her from getting lost, as someone would be able to return her. Not always so, of course, especially if the dog is frightened of strangers. (Not to mention the fact that a collar certainly doesn’t stop a dog from being run over.)

It got me thinking and I got straight onto google to check out the latest on tracking collars. I have a dog myself (although he usually likes to stay close, touch wood!) and I’ve grown up with dogs, but I’ve never actually seen a tracker collar first hand. In fact, I’m not really sure that I knew they existed to be honest, nor did a friend I asked who owns two dogs, one of whom has been known to dart off at the first sign of a rabbit. GPS dog collars just don’t seem to be widely advertised or fully embraced by the dog community – I’d love to know why – but they are out there.

Image copyright to The Mighty Pooch

Image copyright to The Mighty Pooch

Of course, the tracker collar may be of little use if your dog is stolen. That’s another matter entirely – and a terribly distressing one – but if your dog is a roamer, a chaser or an escape artist, the tracker collar could give you peace of mind. And if it reunites you with your lost dog, then of course it’s worth way more than any money you might have paid for it.

So what’s the deal with these collars? Well, the Retrieva seems to be the most widely advertised and available collar out there. It’s also listed as an anti-theft collar, which sounds promising, as it’s apparently very difficult to remove if you’re not authorised to do so (it requires a key to unlock it) and, should someone try to remove the collar, it alerts you. (I would assume there’s a balance to be found between ensuring the collar cannot be slipped easily over the dog’s head and not having the collar too tight.) It’s waterproof (not just showerproof), provides live tracking and location data direct to your mobile phone, iPad or computer, and the rechargeable battery can last for five to seven days. The price of the collar is £249.99, with an annual fee of £79.99. You can also rent a collar from £35.

Another, cheaper option is the Loc8tor – the available devices range from a tracker with a range of just 400ft to alert you if your dog escapes from your garden (£64.99) to the full GPS device at £99.99.

According to a study by the Open University, wearing a tracking collar can also impact positively on the behaviour of your dog, due to a reduction in stress. If you are less worried about where your dog is when they are off the lead, they say your dog is more contented and even enjoys more freedom.

A five-minute internet search brings up a host of GPS dog collars to consider. And what price can you really put on the safety of your beloved dog?

Please add your comments, as I’d love to know if you use a GPS dog collar. Which one do you use and would you recommend it? Have you and your dog been reunited happily thanks to such a device?

If you fancy writing a little review on your experiences with a GPS collar, please drop me a line!

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Image copyright to The Mighty Pooch

Image copyright to The Mighty Pooch

All rise for National Puppy Day: Let’s spread the word

Saturday 23 March is National Puppy Day in the US and UK: a whole day devoted to puppies and the joy they bring to our lives. But there’s a more serious side to this celebration of puppy love – and that’s to raise awareness globally about the horrors of puppy farms, to campaign for puppy-free pet shops and to care for orphaned puppies.

Bruce with a toy apple as a puppy

Bruce with a toy apple as a puppy


Our dog Bruce was around four weeks old when he was found abandoned. Where he came from, we’ll never know. He was tiny, helpless and totally adorable. To think there are puppies just like Bruce out there who are crammed into cages in pet mills, before being sold to anyone who wants them in pet shops, is shocking to say the least. It wrenches at your gut.

The mothers are forced to keep producing litters and are often killed in these puppy farms. It’s a cruel and terrible life. We know how sensitive and intelligent our canine friends are – how could anyone treat them like this?

National Puppy Day was founded in 2006 – click here to find out more.

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