Where does a rescue dog from the Cayman Islands end up? Why, in Edinburgh, of course! Declan tells us about the good-dog life in this very ‘dug’-friendly city
Hello Wunderdog gang,
I’m Declan, originally hailing from the very tropical Cayman Islands and now living in Edinburgh via a couple of years at the seaside of Brighton.
My family met me one fateful day on Seven Mile Beach. The Cayman Islands Humane Society had brought a bunch of its residents (myself included) to their beach training and socialising session in the hope that some of the tourists would fall in love with us and give us a forever home. My soon-to-be new family had only just arrived on the island, but with my magic powers and good looks, I managed to convince them to become my foster family. They caved after a day to properly adopt me.
Having made the journey across the seas to Brighton, a couple of years later we were off on our adventures again – this time to Edinburgh. I love going anywhere by car, and the long journey was a breeze for me.
We live in the centre of Edinburgh and have some of the most amazing walks on our doorstep – I absolutely love it. I’m an Anatolian / German Shepherd mix, which means the cooler climate totally suits me, I’ve also grown a heap more fur since we’ve been here, so when the snow hit I was good to go, no jackets for me!
When my humans are working, one of my favourite people, Carol who owns dog-walking company Mutts on the Move, takes me for adventures. I get to play in the countryside and down by the sea with my new fur friends. Carol needs me as her navigator, so I usually get to sit up front in her van. It’s brilliant. When she’s not spoiling me with cuddles there may also be the odd (read: frequent) biscuit.
On the weekends, I hang out with my family, and our usual walk is up to Calton Hill. It has an amazing view of the city and is a popular tourist spot. But never mind the view, I’m particularly fond of rolling around in the grass up there. If you’re feeling more adventurous, then walking through Holyrood Palace park and up to Arthur’s Seat is for you. Your human will love the spectacular views, but make sure they remember to bring some water (and snacks, obviously) as those hills are thirsty work. You’ll be sure to meet lots of fellow four-legged pals on your trails. Watch out, however, for the swans on the small lake, as they are particularly mean.
My absolute favourite place is Portobello beach. We get the local number 26 bus, and I tend to complain for the entire journey (it takes around 20 minutes from our house). I cannot contain myself once we get off the bus: It’s the best, especially when the tide is out – you can walk for miles and miles. I do get a bit over-excited and tend to run full pelt towards all the dogs I want to play with, which my humans say is not the best behaviour.
There’s always heaps of new friends to make and my humans’ favourite coffee stop (the green vintage van) on the promenade also sells dog biscuits, so no excuse for them to not get you a treat. If your humans fancy a boozy drink, they can stop at the Esplanade (Espy) pub, which is dog-friendly (or ‘dug’-friendly, as they say in Scotland).
It’s really easy to know which places allow four-legged furries, because they have a red ‘Dug Friendly’ sticker in the window, and often you’ll find a bowl of water outside as well.
I’m not very good and relaxing in pubs and cafés, so my humans usually leave me to look after the house, but if you’re used to accompanying them, then the choice in Edinburgh is wide and varied.
When the sun is out in Edinburgh (we do get sun in Scotland), we head to one of Edinburgh’s amazing bakeries called Twelve Triangles and sit outside, so I can keep an eye on the street. I like to think of myself as a neighbourhood watchdog. They are famed for their doughnuts (lemon & ricotta, pistachio custard, caramel custard) – apparently, they are to die for, not that I’d know as my humans have normally eaten them before I’ve had the chance to get my chops round them.
My absolute favourite place though is Just Dogs in Stockbridge. It’s heaven! We walk along the cobbled streets through New Town until we reach Stockbridge. The picturesque Water of Leith runs down from Dean Village, and there is a food market on Sundays, which is a must. There’s so much to smell it’s almost overwhelming. Once my humans have had their treat (the Scotch Eggs), we go to Just Dogs. They sell everything a dog could ever want, in particular they have a pick ‘n’ mix treat section (I love the long raw hide twists). I usually wait outside to grab a drink from their water bowl, also because I can’t resist helping myself to the treats which apparently is highly embarrassing.
Back home, my humans found a sofa just for me and it’s in the perfect position in our lounge to watch the world go by, especially because I am still searching for a best friend up here – I’m constantly on the lookout. I’m told I’m quite shouty, but it’s very difficult not to bark since I am a Shepherd and we are all about protecting our family. Luckily, we have very nice neighbours who don’t seem to mind.
Edinburgh is a brilliant place to be a dog. If you’re like me and don’t like busy streets make sure your family don’t come during the festival in August because it’s heaving with visitors. And don’t forget to say hi on Instagram if you are visiting as we’d love to welcome you to our new city.
Declan and his pack run the brilliant Dogbore series on declandog.com
If you would like to tell us what it’s like to be a dog in your city or neighbourhood, please email Nina@wunderdogmagazine.com