April's Dog Friendly Spotlight
Hello from Lesley Anne, Ali's pet parent. Along with partner Shay - we opened our Dog Friendly café / wine bar and events venue back in August 2016 and we were proud to be the first of its kind in Limerick. We welcome all our loyal canine customers to Chez le Fab, ensuring we know each one of them by name, and offering them all a bowl of water and treat to settle them in.
As we were both completely consumed with running a business, we didn't think it would be fair to adopt a dog of our own too soon, as we felt we wouldn't be able to give them the attention they needed. We became aunt and uncle to all the dogs that visited us over the last two years, ensuring they were made very welcome, but as dog lovers, we still yearned to have one of our own. When we saw a Facebook post back in February, looking for a home for an abandoned pup that had been rescued, we just fell in love with Ali from her photo alone.
Since we welcomed Ali into our family, she has brought so much positive warmth and unconditional love and is a fantastic social enabler for anyone who brings her out for a walk. She has become the ambassador for our campaign to help promote a Dog Friendly Limerick, and we personally visit places that welcome dogs on their premises, and have a mini photo-shoot with Ali, who loves having her photo taken! She's almost been given celebrity status at this stage and she's known locally for all her adventures!
On our daily drive to work, which is ten minutes from where we live, we give Ali a little treat en route for being so well behaved in the car. Once we’re parked up and ready to go we bring her for a quick walk in the park beside us, and then she has a walk around the café with us whilst we get set up before opening the doors at 10 am.
Once we are open, Ali is either on her lead (which is one of our house rules) with one of us if it's not busy, or she opts for her cosy crate in the event section, which is mostly only in use in the evenings. From her crate, she has a full view of us behind the coffee dock, so tends to chill out with a chew toy or a bone in between being brought out for walks or when we get some play time with her in between busy periods!
We are huge advocates of Responsible Dog Ownership in Chez Le Fab and insist that all dog owners must respect our house rules; Ali is no exception and is not allowed on the furniture, and restricted from food preparation areas. Pet parents must also ensure that their dogs keep 'canine conversations' to a minimum so as not to disrupt our other guest’s comfort. We also maintain that all dogs must be house-trained and well-behaved, socialised pups. Although we’d love to welcome every single human and pooch that comes knocking on our door, we do have a limit of 6 dogs in the café at any time to avoid overcrowding. We think that having these rules in place is very important and makes the experience safe and enjoyable for both our human and canine customers.
Ali gets plenty attention from all the customers who love seeing her in the café, and there's great support and positivity around her being in the workplace. She is only ever there for a few hours every day, as I work from home also. We find having the freedom to bring her to the workplace so rewarding, and once certain guidelines are followed, it is very easy for others to consider.
Ali has become a super-social pup over the past few months and loves all the attention she receives from our customers. When we first rescued her, she was a little bit nervous but after meeting a few friendly faces, this quickly wore off. We got some fantastic tips from a local dog behaviourist, who also helps with complimentary Socialisation Sessions on Sunday mornings at our venue. This has seen so many of our canine customers overcome their anxieties and we love being able to host these events. We even have our own Fairy Dogmother on our team, Chloe, who is a qualified Canine CPR First Responder!
We also have a dedicated dog group called Barking Mad About Dogs | Limerick, which we operate out of Chez Le Fab. Barking Mad About Dogs is a free forum for dog owners, dog related business owners and Dog Friendly premises to “petwork” and advertise their product/service or offer advice to other dog owners. Luckily we are able to hold all of our Barking Mad About Dogs events in Chez Le Fab and have had great success with them.
As well as being Chez Le Fab’s K9 Customer Coordinator, Ali has been an excellent ambassador for Dog Friendly Limerick and my partner and I just love being able to take her on so many of our outings. We are all very appreciative of each of the Dog Friendly places that Ali is welcome in and we hope to put Limerick on the map as #K9County considering the volume of premises that are now Dog Friendly - in turn, we hope this will lead to Ireland becoming a dog friendlier place to live and visit!
We are really reaping the benefits of bringing our dog to work, a campaign we helped create awareness of only last year along with Dogs Trust. We can happily report that it definitely helps lower stress levels, increases employee morale, and promotes a healthier lifestyle, as we each take dedicated dog-walking breaks during the day to enjoy a brisk walk in the park beside us.
We absolutely adore being able to include Ali in our everyday life and couldn’t imagine it without her now. We highly recommend bringing your dog to work for anyone who has the option, as the benefits far outweigh any small changes that have to be made to your routine.
For some hints on how to start creating your own Dog Friendly workplace please visit our tips and tricks section here.
If you would like your Dog Friendly establishment to be featured in next months Spotlight, please email [email protected]