We are over the moon to let you know that Girvan has won the town/city category in this year’s DogFriendly Awards. The winner of each category is chosen by public vote and Girvan was 1 of 122 entries in the town/city category, reaching the finals along with Bury St Edmunds and Eastbourne.
Although this is the 11th DogFriendly Awards, this is the first year that Girvan has entered. When Go Girvan decided to put the town forward, we had no idea we would be crowned the UK’s most dog friendly town just a few months later!
Back in May, Go Girvan introduced a dog friendly tourism initiative to encourage visitors with dogs to explore more of the town and support local businesses. We designed our own dog friendly sticker which we handed out to dog friendly businesses and attractions around Girvan. The sticker also has a QR code which is linked to a dog friendly page on our website. We want visitors with dogs to easily identify the places where their pooches are welcome to join them.
We were blown away by the number of local businesses that wanted to take part including shops, cafes, pubs, accommodation providers and even the amusement arcade. Biosphere Bikes added 2 dog trailers to their hire equipment and they have already been put to good use. As usual with Girvan, the support we received from the community was brilliant.
To get the word out there, we enlisted the help of local Instagram star, parkerhunter.rescuedog, who showcased a dog friendly day out in Girvan.
Local photographer, Victoria Rose from Flaunt and Flourish, joined us for some doggy photoshoots at Girvan-a-Damn and Girvan Gelataria.
We even ran a dog photo contest on social media with Girvan Pet Store providing a hamper of goodies for the winner. We received a phenomenal amount of entries and we were delighted to see so many cute pooches enjoying an outing in Girvan. After much deliberation, wee Pebbles was chosen as the winner.
Girvan’s new dog friendly status soon reached the media, with coverage in newspapers, on the radio and even on TV. Local MSP Elena Whitham paid a visit with her own dog Mojo and helped us get the word out when we entered the dog friendly awards.
However, despite the huge amount of positive feedback, we also received some concerns about dog fouling potentially increasing if more dogs visited the town. We listened to those concerns and started a dog fouling initiative in partnership with TAG Girvan, South Ayrshire Council, and help from our Town Ambassadors.
We now provide free dog poo bags and SAC has provided us with stickers, stencils and spray paint to target problem areas. The SAC Compliance Officers have also provided extra patrols at our request.
Through the dog friendly awards, Girvan has received 78 positive online reviews and we are so pleased that all our efforts over the summer have been recognised by the public who have voted for the town.
However, we only see this as the beginning and we will be working on more dog friendly ideas for 2024 so watch this space…
Although Go Girvan put the dog friendly initiative together, the town’s success in the awards is down to everyone who has supported the idea and made furry visitors and their owners feel welcome, it is a well-deserved recognition for the whole town to be proud of so a huge thank you on behalf of everyone at Go Girvan.