New project provides inspo for Sheff dog-owners

Sheffield is one of the greenest cities in the UK and Europe overall. However, dog owners can confirm it still is rather tricky and tiring to find pubs, restaurants, cafés that allow pets into their venues.

Or at least it was until Brandon Egley and Charlotte Connor started making lists of dog-friendly places across Sheffield. They created a website, added a couple of areas for a start, such as the City Centre, Kelham Island, and now businesses out and about the town don’t want to be overlooked.

It was not that simple as it sounds, though. Brandon and Charlotte have spent an awful lot of time researching different areas in Sheffield. They said their dog, Eddie, now a somewhat Instagram influencer, doesn’t like to be left alone, so they were looking for places where they were able to spend time together.

They grew tired of writing dozens of messages, so they were wondering whether there was a centralised platform to find where a dog owner could take their dog.

Brandon, 33, said in the 21st-century pets are part of the family. He added venues are losing a lot of money if they don’t let them in.

He said: “I genuinely think more and more people don’t want to leave their pets at home. Dogs being at home for eight hours on their own is not a happy life for them, so why shouldn’t they be allowed to go out and socialise with you?

“Sheffield is one of the greatest cities in Europe. There must be thousands of dogs living with families as full-time members.

“We wanted to celebrate the businesses that are welcoming dogs and show people that there are more pet-friendly venues than they think.”

Charlotte Connor said some people are scared of or allergic to dogs, and it’s understandable if the businesses are thinking of their customers.

However, she said, some landlords have implemented annoying policies that made it more difficult to go out with pets.

She said: “Some things are bothering us, for instance, the fact that the Wetherspoons don’t even allow dogs anymore in their beer gardens.

“I just don’t understand. We realised the bars were looking for a place to promote themselves as dog-friendly venues, and they were struggling as much to get to the customers as the customers were struggling to get to them.”

We have spoken to a couple of pet-friendly businesses across Sheffield to get a broad picture of why someone chooses to allow pets into their venue?

The key, as every landlord we’ve talked to claimed, is creating a comfortable atmosphere for customers and, equally important, the staff.

“It wasn’t a business-based decision in the sense we thought it would drive customers. We just wanted to do it. We even have dog biscuits and water bowls ready for them,” said Ed Daily, from Dead Donkey Bar.

Pub owners agreed that dogs and cats on lead, it’s rare but still, must be seen as a family member and they also are part of the British culture. They don’t see why pets shouldn’t be welcome.

Maurice Crookes, the landlord of The Millhouses, said: “We get a lot of people bringing their dog into the Millhouses, whether it be a family outing on their way back from the park or just an individual walking their dog and calling in for a quick drink.”

Some venues, such as the Frog and Parrot, have had a long history with pets and wouldn’t be the same brand without them.

We also have tried to speak to some non-pet-friendly places, such as the Cavendish on West Street, but we’ve received no response. It’d be important though to understand what’s their major concerns when it comes to their pet policy.

Brandon and Charlotte’s project, Dog Friendly Sheffield, has been a hit and praised among pet owners across Sheffield and the bar community as well.

The future looks bright; the founders pledged to work very hard to find and add more pubs, cafés, restaurants, and places onto their website.

Brandon and Charlotte are doing this in their free time. They don’t want to make money out of it. They started this new project only for pet owners, just like them, and their four-legged best friends.

Brandon said: “There’s been a need for this website. We have to deliver now.

“I still don’t know, though, why we can bring pets onto the trams. There is more standing place than on buses, it just doesn’t make sense at all.

“Maybe when we’re done with venues, we can take on trams, but there is still much to do before we even start thinking about our next step.”

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