K9Nation founder Becky on her mission to find the UK’s most Dog Friendly place

Becky Baker and Buddy from K9Nation

When you go to a new place with your pup, how do you find out dog friendly spots to check out?

Facebook, Trip Advisor, the pub or pet shop… there’s so many places.

One dog owner is on a mission to change that and give pawrents one place where they can find all the resources they need.

Becky Baker, 35, from Halifax, and her Cockapoo Buddy are going on a 2,500 mile, two month road trip around the UK to check out a different location every day.

They’ll be scoring them on dog friendly places, walks, amenities like groomers and pet shops, pubs, cafes and how warm and welcoming residents are.

Becky will blog each day and the winning location will announced at the end of the summer.

With my journalist/PR coach hat on (more of that here www.publicityforpetbusinesses.co.uk) I’ve been helping Becky get the word out and this week we spoke to her about her trip.

Becky and Buddy all set for their trip

Can you tell us about #PawsonTour2019

Buddy and I are going to go all around the UK to check out all the different dog-friendly places, and  find out what’s out there for us dog-lovers.

What kind of places are you going to be going to?

We’re looking for people living in each place to get in touch and tell us about nice walks, hidden gems you won’t find online, with beautiful scenery.

And I’m also looking at more unusual things, for example, we’re going to Cambridge to try a punting tour down the River Thames.

We’re getting a ferry over to the Isle of Wight to try out their dog lounge, then dog-friendly cafes, a hydrotherapy centre.

The world is our oyster and we’re trying to show you can involve your dog as much as you want in your everyday life. You’re not restricted to taking them for a walk in a field.

So it’s about you and you dog living your best life?

Absolutely. I didn’t get a dog to only be a companion, then leave him at home and carry on with my life. He’s a member of my family.

He’s my best mate, hence the name Buddy. And I just wanted to be able to prove to people that you can involve your dog in nearly everything you do.

Becky Baker from K9Nation talks about her #pawsontour2019 mission to find the UK's most dog friendly place
Becky and Buddy’s home for the summer

And you’re going in a camper van?

Yes, I’ve never camped or been in a camper van, or a motor-home before, but I have been out and bought a little two berth motor home, so look out for the K9Nation sign and come and say hi!

Buddy and I are going to go out and park up at the different camp sites.

We’re going to some of the dog shows of the summer, to meet lots of other dog lovers and touring round, different place every day seeing who we meet.

We’re looking to find out what it’s like to live in that local area and covering it all on our social media and I’ll be blogging about our experience every day, telling it how it is, warts and all.

Some places say they’re dog friendly, but are more dog tolerant

Yes, some places, they roll out the red carpet for dogs and make a real fuss.

Others, you’re lucky to get as much as a biscuit and there’s strict signs about what they can and can’t do.

Also, sometimes our dogs are angels, sometimes they act up, so we’ll see how Buddy behaves when we go to places and give a really truthful and honest account of our adventures.

Becky Baker from K9Nation talks about her #pawsontour2019 mission to find the UK's most dog friendly place
Ruff ride – Buddy takes the wheel

And the tour is to raise awareness of your website and app too?

Yes, so K9 Nation is a completely free website, and at the minute just a iOS app which is a free resource for dog owners.

There’s a social networking element to it with a newsfeed where you can find friends in your area and dogs of similar breeds.

It’s also a resource where you can find vets, groomer and so on and read reviews. I like to think of it as a bit like Facebook meets Trip Advisor for dog owners.

We don’t promote one brand or service over another, we’re completely impartial. We let you guys put your own honest reviews on there.

Where did the idea come from?

When I got Buddy at eight weeks old, I didn’t know where to go to find a vet or where was a good groomer.

I thought, ‘You know, it would be so handy if I just had something that I could say where I was based and it would tell me what was in my local area.’

Particularly when I went to visit friends in different parts of the country, if they didn’t have a dog themselves, they didn’t know where to go to walk.

So I thought I would do it myself and made a website and app.

Becky’s looking forward to lots of exploring with Buddy

What are you most looking forward to on your road trip?

The opportunity to bond with Buddy. We’re quite close but up until now, I have worked from nine to five and he goes to daycare, so it will be lovely to be able to spend that quality time with him.

There’s a lot of the UK that I haven’t explored myself and I can’t wait to go down to the South of England, Cornwall and the Isle of Wight that we’re visiting.

It will be brilliant to see what’s out there for pet parents on our doorstep so to speak, particularly  with Brexit around the corner and European travel becoming harder.

How are you going to pick the most dog friendly place?

There will be various metrics that I can score against like the amount of bins around on local walks, for you to put your dog poop bags in, what the reception is like from people in the area where I’ve taken Buddy, whether when you walk down a local high street, if the majority of them are saying, ‘No dogs allowed.’

Look out for Becky’s stall if you’re at any of the events she’s attending

If people are reading and want to tell you about a brilliant place in their town, what can they do?

They can either reach out to me on social media, either by Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or if you go to the website which is www.k9nation.uk and send me an e mail.

We  want to hear your individual stories, recommendations, suggestions, nothing’s off the cards for us as long as it’s in the UK.

Find out more about Becky’s story in Why having a new puppy inspired Becky to create the K9Nation app or you might like to read TV psychologist Emma Kenny talks about nine things all pet parents need to know.

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