Littlehampton area is home to plenty of dog-friendly places

Sullington Tea Rooms, Stanley and Pepper have only just met yet already relaxed and at peace with each other
Sullington Tea Rooms, Stanley and Pepper have only just met yet already relaxed and at peace with each other

Dogs come in for some darned hefty bad press around these here parts, even cowboys liken them to be being ‘low down and dirty.’ A reputation not deserved.

They mirror the behaviour of their owners, nothing more or less. The dogs have no control over their invisible leads that trip people up, or over the fact that their promenade poops are not picked up and they have no say in the fact that they are out of control if they are not taught control, all of that is down to their master or mistress.

Dog owners should be aware that although their pet looks as if he is listening to their rambling orders they are not, all they really understand is the single word of command or the single gesture, the tone.

No point in saying ‘Now Rover, sit down and be a good boy and do not jump up at that poor old man in the Stetson hat you might knock him over…’ Rover will not understand a word of it.

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He will understand the sharp jerk on the lead or the cross word of command especially when followed by a soft ‘good boy’ and small reward for instant obedience.

Dogs are fantastic pets if well-trained and of the right temperament. They like a cuddle, company and a soothing voice, they sometimes appear to smile but, trust me, it isn’t a loving grin that’s just the way we interpret it. I do not now own a dog of my own but do look after very special ones for friends when they go on holiday or are housebound through illness or whatever. If out with a well-behaved animal, strangers smile at you and even engage in passing the time of day when, without a dog, you would probably be passed by.

So, I am here just suggesting some of the really very extra dog-friendly coffee houses or tea rooms in the area: The Putting Green Café in Norfolk Gardens is especially welcoming as is the Mewsbrook Café with its lovely outside dog play area.

The Dolphin Hotel in the town centre – although actually walking an animal in town is best avoided as there are some pretty aggressive dogs and owners in the around that area – is also welcoming.

Edgcumbes in Ford is super dog friendly with many of the dogs known by name, walk in there without your pet and someone is bound to ask you ‘where is Ralph today?’

In Arundel the Cockburn Tea Rooms give a friendly welcome to the well-behaved animal as well as, along with another delight, a super orange and raspberry sponge. If not too muddy, the Black Horse in Amberley is dog-friendly and also serves a very fine ale.

A little further afield is the Sullington Tea Rooms, a particular favourite of mine with its own resident animal, a charming springer named Pepper. If you know of any other exceptionally dog-friendly venues, please let me know.

RARELY, if ever, do I agree with something our MP Nicolas Gibb has said but, for once I do. Mobile phones should be banned from schools, they are a distraction and should never have been allowed into the classroom in the first place. Go for it, sir, for once you have my approval!

• If you would like to get in touch with Whispering Smith, please email: whisperingsmith1@gmail.com

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