Hotel for dogs – in praise of the pooch

#NationalDogDay – Yes it’s a thing

Most interspecies partnerships involve an element of give and take: rhinos and tickbirds; cleaner fish and potato cod; crocodiles and those little birds that pick their teeth… Humans and dogs are a little bit different. We feed them, walk them, shelter them, take them to the vet and follow them around with little plastic bags, but do we get anything in return beyond torn cushions, shredded tissues and all the drool you could ever need? There’s affection, of course. And devotion. And, quite often, amusement. But there’s not much by way of material benefit if you’re on the human side of the relationship.

However, anthropologists might disagree. If you look back to the early days of human evolution, it turns out we might owe dogs quite a lot. In fact, we might not even be who we are without them.

Man and dog first went into partnership as part of an outsourcing operation. By taming wolves, early men realised they could co-opt the services of a much more efficient hunter than themselves. The wolves could do all the sniffing out prey, running and catching; all the humans had to do was point them in the right direction and the divide the spoils when they got back. With wolves to do the heavy lifting, we could get on with the important business of not being hairy, ditching our finely tuned sense of smell, and concentrating our evolutionary energies on growing bigger brains. Wolves became domesticated; humans became civilised.

In effect, dogs changed humanity for ever. If we hadn’t hooked up with them, we wouldn’t be half as smart as we are now. So really, it’s about time we offered them something by way of payback – beyond occasionally chucking a frisbee and waiting expectantly.

Thank goodness then, for National Dog Day on 26 August: our chance to recognise our canine friends for their ancestors’ contribution to human evolution – or, at very least, to post pictures of them doing daft doggie stuff on Instagram. At the Fish, we’re inviting our guests to do the latter – tag us (@thefishhotel) in a pic of your favourite pooch, make us laugh, and you could win a night’s B&B at the Fish in one of our dog-friendly rooms, including our signature doggy afternoon tea, some delicious goodies by Woof & Brew, and a deluxe dog’s dinner by canine-nutrition specialists Cotswold Raw.

Of course, you don’t really need a dedicated day to celebrate dogs at the Fish – we’re one of surprisingly few hotels that is enthusiastically geared towards people packing pooches. With 400 acres of dog-walking space (including our newly installed agility course), a selection of dedicated dog-friendly rooms, a gourmet menu for guests of both species, and the Cotswolds’ only doggie afternoon tea, you could argue we’ve gone a tad overboard on the dog-loving, but show us an unenthusiastic dog owner and we’ll show you someone who bought a cat by mistake. (NB There is also a National Cat Day, but really, even if you go back to the dawn of time, they’ve done nothing to deserve it.)

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