Richard Wood, who owns the Matlock-based pub with wife Sophie, said the pair look after dogs as they would customers, as it’s “important to take good care of animals.”
Wood said: “There are more rugged toys and soft, plush toys, otherwise, dogs have a tendency to rip things to bits, so we’ve got lots of toys they can play with.”
He continued: “We've got some standard treats, but Sophie makes her own peanut butter dog treats, so there's generally a load of those available as well.
“Then we've got a little porch shop. Pretty much half of that is all kind of things to do with dogs, like dog biscuits, and food and all that kind of stuff.”
A dog's breakfast
The inn also has an online shop that sells a range of dog products including a beer for dogs called ‘Bottom Sniffer’ which, brewed in Britain, is described as “the perfect dog gift for birthdays, Christmas, and other special occasions”.
The owner said that the inn keeps a stash of spare leads. He said: “If [local dogs] get loose, they wander into the pub, so we’ve got these spare leads to catch them and say, ‘come on, let’s take you home.’”
Wood describes his pub as “a very doggy pub”, estimating a footfall, or paw-fall, of around 30 to 40 dogs per day.
He said: “There’s a lot of dog walkers that come in, so there's a lot of dogs about, which has been great. It means they can socialise, and it's good for younger dogs to mingle with other dogs.
“[…] We tend to get the smaller ones in, and then the great big hounds, they tend to stay outside. There's always space for them somewhere.”
Many customers at the Flying Childers inn have recently lost dogs to old age or natural circumstances, so the owners work with charities such as Ashbourne Animal Rescue and East Midlands Dog Rescue to rehome dogs.
Countrywide dog houses are at capacity, with owners realising they don’t have time to take care of dogs when returning to work, after 3.2m pets were bought by UK households during lockdown.
Hope Rescue, a centre in Rhondda Cynon Taf told the BBC that the number of dogs being dropped off at its rescue centre was the highest in its 15-year history.
The centre said these were “desperate times”, with vets asking full centres to take the dogs or they would have no choice but to put them down.
“We just try and promote what they do. We've got funding boxes where all the dog stuff is,” he said.
He added: “All the treats and toys and things, it's all free, so we just encourage people to put a bit of a donation in for the dog homes."
Looking to the future, Wood hopes to integrate a portal on his website where people can adopt or donate directly with charities.
He said: “[…] It's a horrible, really, really terrible situation, that [people have] got these dogs during lockdown, and gone back to work and thought ‘I can’t have a dog anymore’, then just throw them out like an old pair of boots.”