cafes for dogs, Dog Friendly, Dog Friendly Accommodation, dog friendly cafes, dog friendly hotels, dog friendly pubs, dog friendly restaurants, Dog Friendly Shops, Fashion, pubs for dogs, the dog blog, Whitstable

Whitstable – Waves and more

We recently went away for a weekend break with our good friends Daisy and Gav….AND COUSIN ALF!!!

There is no real reason for me to write anymore, after all, you just want to see a picture of Grenson and Alf together, and who am I to deny you?!

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Yes this post could simply be filled with gratuitous cuteness, but that would be unfair, because I’ve lots to tell you about Whitstable.

First off, if you haven’t been then sort it out, you need to go! Secondly if you do go then check out Waves self catering holiday cottage. Not only is it a beautiful little cottage and super dog friendly…

…but it also happens to be in the most amazing location, with a brilliant little dog friendly pub literally stumbling distance from the front door!

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Good pubs, with scratchings and pool tables literally across the road are always going to make me and Gav happy. Alf too was having a good time, as he realised that he was able to steal big cousin Grenson’s lamb dinner (turning his white beard a shade of orange!), and then spend the night climbing all over his Uncle!

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Where do I start with what makes Whitstable so great? Is it the oysters that are as fresh as they come? Or the beach that even in the snow is still lovely?

Well actually for us it’s probably the shops! I mean you can’t really go wrong with Ruskin, a shop that not only welcomes dogs but also has a copy of one of En Brogue‘s books in the shop window!

I have to say for me the cafes and breakfast stops are also a highlight. We found a lovely one just around the corner simply monikered Cafe + Kitchen, that did a brilliant bacon sarnie.

Then we found the Windy Corner Stores & Cafe on the last morning, a cute little retro corner shop/cafe that was very much appreciated after a brisk walk along the beach. The mushrooms on toast went down a treat!

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Oh yes! There are also the pubs and food!!

A visit to the Lobster Shack is an absolute must for all seafood (and beer) lovers.

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And we can highly recommend the Pearson Arms too. We popped in for a lunchtime drink and found more dogs in there than people!! Any place that dog friendly is going to get our custom. So we booked for dinner, and boy we did not regret it.

Absolutely deee-licious!

So there you have it. So much to see and do (and eat and drink), and I didn’t even have time to tell you about the wine shop with a fine selection of sweets! But no fear, we plan a return trip in the Summer, this time adding our other friends and their little ones into the mix (that’s kids, not dogs). So I imagine sweet shops will be high the list for the kiddies (and the wine will be a priority for the adults!).

Meanwhile Grenson finally taught Alf the joys of Schnauzer wrestling. This led to Alf spending the entire last two days jumping on Grenson’s head until eventually we had to prise them apart and make them take a break and have a drink of water…before they went straight back to wrestling.

BFFs!!

 

The Man and the Dog.

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Broadstairs, cafes for dogs, Dog Friendly, dog friendly cafes, dog friendly restaurants, Kent, the dog blog

Wyatt & Jones – Broadstairs

Right, we’re back. I left you last time promising to return with tales of Wyatt & Jones. I just couldn’t bring myself to squeeze in simply a quick review during the Margate post, as this place deserved so much more.

We’d happened upon this establishment via a quick internet trawl before leaving for our mini break. All we knew was that the restaurant wasn’t too far away from our accommodation (The Botany Bay Hotel, see Margate link above), and the number of food awards on their website indicated that the food was likely to be good. The fact that they were dog friendly sealed the deal (best to call beforehand though in order to let them know that you’re bringing your pooch. Dogs are only allowed in part of the restaurant).

So basically we arrived not really knowing too much about this place, or what to expect.

Wyatt & Jones can be found down a sleepy looking little road leading to the beach. Stepping out of the cold coastal air and into the twinkling candle light of this beautiful little restaurant, we knew almost immediately this was going to be a good night. In fact, you know those rare evenings when everything is just perfect? Well our evening at Wyatt & Jones would prove to be one of these rare events.

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The area designated for doggies is the smaller room next to the bar. When a bar is this beautiful and well stocked that is no bad thing. You can also easily see the rest of the room leading down to the open kitchen, so you don’t feel like you’ve been banished to a separate room.

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On this cold Thursday night in January we basically had the bar to ourselves, but there were enough other diners to ensure that a quiet relaxed atmosphere was maintained. Even if we had have been alone, any awkward ‘eating in a library’ vibe would have been dispelled by the excellent music that they were playing in the background. So often, music in a restaurant can spoil things. Generally it is too loud and/or too rubbish. In this case they had the perfect balance so that the only time you noticed it was when you thought ‘ooh this is such a nice song, I wonder who it is by? I must make enquiries’ (clearly I didn’t make enquires – far too shy). Just sitting in the bar with a glass of wine and enjoying the music would have been great. But then of course I would have missed out on sampling the food!

Having already established that this place was a winner we decided to kick start our appetites with 2 rock oysters (for me) and anchovy toast (for her). I was also pleased to see that they had Curious Brew IPA on tap. Oysters and Curious Brew, what better way to kick off a meal?

Meanwhile, Grenson had been presented with a bowl of water and his own bowl of biscuits, so he was approving of his surroundings almost as much as I was.

En Brogue reckons the anchovy toast was ‘Oh. My. God. Fantastic’. My oysters came with a bottle of red wine vinegar and tabasco for me to dress them myself. Unfortunately, I was a little heavy handed with the tabasco and had sizzling lips for the next ten minutes. (The only bad thing that happened that night and it was all my own fault).

Then we moved on to the main events. Now normally I’m not too keen on photographing food, (far too shy). This can be a problem for someone who blogs about places to eat. On this occasion though, any self consciousness had to go out the window. It was just too good not to save for prosperity.

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En Brogue went for -‘Chilli glazed mackerel,celeriac remoulade, pickled shallots and almond puree’, followed by another starter (small appetite), ‘Spiced scallops, marinated chickpea, chermoula, shallots, coriander’. She then finished with ‘Granny Smith mousse, hazelnut crumble, blueberries & brown bread ice cream’. Yes, that’s what I said, brown bread ice cream. Amazing!

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I went for – ‘Oak smoked salmon, crispy crab, dill aioli, soused fennel & salmon caviar’ to start. My main was not a starter (big appetite), ‘Sussex beef loin, braised ox cheek, bone marrow butter mash & autumn brassica’. Then for dessert, ‘Valrhona dark chocolate souffle’.

If all of that hasn’t got your mouth watering then let me give you more details.

En Brogue basically was only able to say ‘Oh. My. God. Fantastic’ about everything!

My starter was so fresh and light it may have to go into my top five starters…ever! The Ox cheek was deliciously glutinous to the point that it virtually melted in my mouth. And that souffle?! Jeez! Once the outer crust was broken I found myself inside a fluffy cloud of pure chocolate joy!

After all of this I could only possibly complete my meal by sitting back with a 10 year-old Somerset cider brandy. If I am ending my night with a brandy then it is a sure sign that I have had a most relaxing and enjoyable evening.

Absolutely brilliant. And I forgot to mention the wine! This place really knows its wine. I suggest you ask for a recommendation, the one they served up to us was simply perfect.

Finally we made our way back to our hotel room and fell face first onto the the bed, immediately drifting off into a deep sleep whilst I mumbled a proclamation that the whole night had been one of the best dining experiences I’d ever had!

The next day, following breakfast and check out, we decided to head back to Broadstairs to assess it in the daylight.

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The beach at the bottom of the road turned out to be incredibly pretty, as was the rest of the small town. I even found a butchers that served an award winning sausage. If nothing else, this warranted a return visit all on its own.

Eventually though we were drawn back towards Wyatt & Jones, mainly because I needed a picture of the outside for this blog post.

As we arrived, it just so happened that they were open and serving coffee. Clearly we had to go back in and take up our seats at the table that we had vacated merely a few hours earlier.

The coffee, of course, was Oh. My. God. Fantastic. It was all I could do to decline the pastry deal that came with the coffee but I had recently consumed a full English (which was mighty fine, congratulations on that Botany Bay Hotel).

To sum up:

1. Broadstairs is great.

2.We will return as soon as possible.

And,

3. Upon our return we will be spending all day at our table in Wyatt & Jones.

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(And no I do not have a handle bar moustache, although it very much looks like I do in this picture!).

Anyway, just to avoid any confusion and to be completely clear about this:

WE LOVE THIS PLACE!

 

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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cafes for dogs, Dog Friendly, Isle of Wight, the dog blog

Off the Rails – Yarmouth,Isle of Wight

Ok I’ll admit it. I have written about this place before. I apologise (but it is a good’un).

Way back at the beginning of summer a company called Wight Locations asked me to do a guest blog post for their website. Grenson and I compiled our top 6 cafe/restaurants on the Isle of Wight for dogs …. well not quite for dogs, more for hoomans that are with dogs, but you know what I mean.

If you look hard enough you may be able to still find it somewhere out there on the world wide web.

Anyway, as I was looking through old piccies I came across the ones that I had taken for that blog post and quite frankly it made me nostalgic for those heady days of summer. (Listen, Christmas is over, all I’ve got immediately ahead of me is never ending months of darkness. I need something to look forward to!)

One of the places we visited jumped out at me as we had recently been back there after a nice long Christmas walk (to the pub). On that occasion I had a delicious coffee and walnut cake with a top quality flat white to wash it down. (Which reminds me, I also have lots of trips to the gym to schedule in during this season of gloom).

However, I don’t want to talk about cosy winter walks and warming coffee and cake (not today anyway), I want to take us all back to the days of crickets in the long grass, of swallows dive bombing in the blue skies, and of ice cubes slowly melting in late evening drinks. Let’s all go back to summertime!

(Cue: wavy fade back to the past).

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I mean!! Look at us!! I’m wearing shorts and t-shirt and jauntily hanging shades around my neck. Grenson is panting from the heat. There is even a hint of colour on my face rather than my current deathly pallor.

Good times. Hot summer good times.

And where are we enjoying this glorious sunny afternoon?  Why, the wonderful ‘Off the Rails‘ cafe in Yarmouth, of course.

This place pretty much has everything.

Its location is a dream for dog walkers. Grenson and I are particularly fond of the trek along the old railway line from Yarmouth to Freshwater. Keep the river on your right and head away from Yarmouth car park, keeping an eye out for kingfishers along the way. This path eventually leads you to a bridge, at which point if you turn right you’ll come across the Red Lion pub. A perfect place for a refreshment stop (and another place I wrote about for Wight Locations that I may need to revisit in the future for this blog too).

If you then retrace your steps and take a right before the old mill building, you’ll end up back at Off the Rails for further refreshments. After all, it’s always important to stay refreshed when on a walk.

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Arriving at this cafe via the old railway path is most fitting, as this place is situated in the old Yarmouth railway station (Off the Rails, see what they did there? Clever).

From the outside it seems like the station has remained untouched since the steam trains were regularly pulling up outside. Indeed, you’ll still find the platform out front, but instead of commuters and tourists hurriedly disembarking, you’ll find diners leisurely munching on cakes and sandwiches.

Inside, the retro railway feel continues with seating booths styled like 1950s carriages complete with luggage racks overhead.

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The booths are great in the winter but as we’re time travelling back to summer in this post, take a look below at the seats on the platform. What an idyllic view to enjoy your lunch beside!

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Oh, and as if great walks, quirky historic surroundings, delicious coffee, cakes and lunches, all enjoyed beside beautiful countryside views weren’t enough to confirm my assertion that this place has everything, then take a look below. They even have a menu for your pooch!

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Of course, with this place open all year round (closed Mondays & Tuesdays except bank holidays) and even open until 10pm on a Friday and Saturday (bookings necessary) there is no reason not to enjoy this special little place any time of the year.

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So don’t wait around for the sun to shine (it may be on holiday for sometime yet); head there as soon as you can…you can always make another visit when it’s shorts and T-shirt weather again!

The Man and the Dog..

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Dog Friendly, dog friendly restaurants, London, the dog blog

Mac & Wild – Great Titchfield St

As you probably already know, Grenson’s mum doesn’t only spend her days making delicious meatloaf for his dinner and smothering him with kisses, oh no; she also finds the time to be a super successful fashion journalist whilst also being the flat shoe blogging sensation, En Brogue. As a result, most weeks she can be found heading off up west to meet up with other fashionistas to assess the latest trends, and basically just swank around town looking grand (apparently it’s all in the name of research?!).

On one such occasion recently, I decided enough was enough, it was high time that Grenson and I got in on this game too.

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From the look on Grenson’s face in this picture you can tell that he wasn’t entirely happy with the idea. For a start, it meant we had to go on a train (which he’s not too keen on) and secondly, I had neglected to put him in his fanciest coat! ‘Really darling how do you expect me to socialise with the fashion crowd without my best clobber on?’

So after a few appointments, including one that Grenson and I had been personally invited  to (see we’re cool too!), for a look at White Stuff’s new SS17 collection which I can confirm is very nice indeed, it was decided that we’d stop for lunch and then take a walk around Regent’s Park whilst En Brogue finished off the rest of her ‘to do’ list.

But where should we go for lunch? There is of course a wealth of choice in the big city. Luckily for us, we managed to stumble across a place that happened to be described as “the best restaurant in the world” by Giles Coren, no less (if their website is to be believed).

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Mac and Wild is a Scottish restaurant (yes I know! I didn’t know that was a thing now either). The only Scottish restaurant I’d encountered previously was that one that has a clown serving burgers … at least it sounds Scottish anyway.

We bagged a table outside as the weather was unseasonably mild and waited for a menu that I expected to consist entirely of haggis and battered chocolate bars.

What a fool I was! I hadn’t realised that I’d accidentally entered a meat nirvana. There was even a burger on the menu that had been voted the ‘Best Burger in the UK 2016’ at the National Burger Awards!! (yes I know! I didn’t know that was a thing now either)

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It’s fair to say that if you’re a veggie, this may not be the best place for you to visit. If, however, you’re the type of person that appreciates dishes such as ‘bread & dripping’, ‘venison chateaubriand’ and ‘dirty buttery mash’, and you also appreciate knowing not only where your meat has been farmed, but also who butchered it and even who shot it, then you’ve come to the right place.

The meatiness shouldn’t be a surprise; the guy who founded this place, Andy Waugh, is the son of a venison butcher, hence the concentration on fine wild venison dishes. A lot of us Brits have never tried wild venison and I have to admit that the thought of hunting those magnificent beasts may have put me off in the past. But this isn’t some trophy hunter wanting to feel big by shooting  a defenceless animal and posing for photos. If you read Andy’s blog on the Mac and Wild website, you realise that this is all done ethically, based on a yearly cull to keep numbers manageable and healthy for themselves and the environment. Also, if we don’t eat it then the Norwegians and Dutch will, as they currently buy up nearly all of it.

As already mentioned, the award winning ‘Veni-Moo burger’ had immediately caught my eye, so I ordered that along with cheesy chips and a Brewgooder Clean Water Lager, which is a craft beer that donates 100% of its profits to clean water projects around the world (so you can get drunk and do your bit for charity at the same time! Bonus!).

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Oh Em Gee!

You could really understand why this burger was award winning. But to be honest, I’d also give those fries and the cheesy dip an award too…Nobel Peace maybe?!

I hadn’t thought of it as we had enjoyed our mighty fine bounty sitting outside, but while writing this post I became a little worried that dogs may not have been allowed indoors. This would have been a disaster as I aim to try not to include anywhere on here that you can only enjoy with your pooch if the weather allows, and having to leave out this place would have been a travesty. Luckily, they confirmed via email that small dogs are indeed allowed indoors (it is, after all, a very small indoors, so a Mastiff for instance may actually fill the place!). I shouldn’t have really worried, as there were telltale signs that the place was a fan of our four-legged friends – mainly the door stop.

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So there you go. If you find yourself on a fashionable day out in central London and in need of an award winning Scottish meal, then look no further. And I suppose if you do have a dog that couldn’t accurately be described as ‘small’ you could always follow our example and sit outside. They did seem to have blankets on offer and there are outside heaters. If all else fails you could warm yourself up with a whisky, and where better to do that than in a Scottish restaurant?!

 

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

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dog friendly restaurants, London, the dog blog

Dogs Trust & Andrew Edmunds – Soho

Recently we were lucky enough to be invited into town to attend the launch of a new book by the Dogs Trust published to coincide with their 125th birthday celebrations – ‘Dogs and Their Faithful Celebrities‘.

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Yes, frankly I’m as shocked as you are that we weren’t asked to actually be in it. Outrageous oversight on their behalf I reckon!

Still, at least we got to go along and enjoy the launch party…well eventually we did, once I’d managed to get Grenson to walk past the incredibly lifelike doggy mannequins that were standing on the door and were completely freaking him out.

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Once inside, as you’d imagine from a Dogs Trust event launching a book about dogs, the place was a dog-fest!

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Doggies everywhere!!

I applaud the organisers for being brave enough to put on such an event, it had the potential to be absolute chaos, but all in all the canine partygoers were pretty well behaved… apart from one big guy that got a bit too excited about being out on the town and tried to pick a fight before being dragged out by his ‘hooman’. There’s always one who can’t handle his cocktails isn’t there!?

With a room full of dogs there was only one certainty. Grenson would find the one that looked just like him to hang around with (narcissistic? Grenson? never!). And so it was that we stood idly by and watched Grenson and WiggyWright (the mini schnauzer that belongs to Matthew Wright of Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff fame – Grenson is only interested in celeb dogs these days) do the schnauzer hug for the remainder of the time that we were there.

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Eventually we had to drag these new BFFs apart. Canapés are all very good but we were ‘up west’ and so a slap up dinner was in order.

Off we headed into Soho to a little place I had passed many times and each time promised myself that I’d eat at one day. Andrew Edmunds on Lexington St, is an unassuming little spot with an unassuming little name, but aren’t they always the best? Now that I had found out that they allowed small, well behaved dogs (Grenson is almost both), there was no stopping us.

This amazing restaurant is situated in an incredibly atmospheric 18th Century town house, and as we were led into the downstairs room it was like going through a time tunnel. The candle light and stylish interior could have easily been the same for over 300 years. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean that it’s covered in cobwebs. It means that it’s classically classy.

Any place that gives me a hand written menu that includes ‘Old Spot Pork Chop’ is guaranteed to make me happy.

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And when they say pork chop and green beans, they mean pork chop and green beans.

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When it’s this good you simply don’t need anything else. Probably the best pork chop….ever. No messing, just simple delicious food. They’ve been doing it for thirty years. They know what they’re doing. No need for fiddling about.

I cannot recommend this place enough. However, as mentioned, it’s an 18th century townhouse, those places aren’t what you’d call spacious. Intimacy is the name of the game, and so when they say small well behaved dogs only, they do have a point. Luckily Grenson on this evening was being as small and well behaved as he is able. He sat quietly at our table for the duration, with only a few sniffs under the table of the two gentlemen at the table next to us (sorry whoever you were, and thanks for not seeming to mind too much).

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It probably helped that I’d threatened him with those doggy mannequins if he didn’t behave!

If you have a small well behaved dog yourself (or not, dogs aren’t compulsory I suppose), and enjoy simple food, served simply, but with a touch of magic that makes it somehow a million times better than you’d ever be able to do yourself, then head to Andrew Edmunds immediately.

And if you need something good to read whilst you’re there (it’s definitely the type of place you’d be fine going to alone with a good book for company) then follow the link and buy a copy of ‘Dogs and Their Faithful Celebrities‘. Even if you don’t like to look at pictures of Ronan Keating and his Pug (although, who doesn’t?!) then just be aware that 100% of the royalty goes to Dogs Trust. You can’t need anymore incentive to buy a copy, or maybe even two!

 

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

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cafes for dogs, dog friendly cafes, London, the dog blog

Canvas & Cream – Forest Hill

Canvas & Cream is a beautiful little creative hub in the heart of Forest Hill. It’s much more than your average cafe; let’s start with the fact that the cream part of its name is not to be ignored. I indulged in a lovely creamy flat white and had to tear myself away from the equally creamy and indulgent-looking array of cakes on the counter.

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If this top quality fare and the delicious restaurant menu was all that was on offer, then this cafe would already be on to a winner. However, add the canvas part of the name, and it moves into the category marked ‘special’. You see, as well as being a cafe and restaurant, it also houses an art gallery and studios at the rear of the property. I heard a rumour that once a very famous art collector attended one of their exhibitions and bought everything on show! Of course that may be completely false, but who am I to let facts get in the way of a good story?!

But what I really love about this place is that you don’t have to even go into the gallery to get your artistic fix. Just walk through the door and look around.

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The entire space is a creative delight.

From the ingenious lighting …

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… to the amazing reclaimed and hand laid wooden floor..

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… this place is just a pleasure to sit in, relax,  and soak up the vibe.

It’s also an excellent place for a private function. I speak from experience having performed the running man (probably more jogging man to be fair!) during a friend’s birthday party that was held here.

So with all of the above in mind I was already a fan.

Then they went and brought out a bowl of water for Grenson … but not just any old bowl.

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SUPER BONUS POINTS!!!

If the deal wasn’t done before, that bowl completely sealed it. Yes, we definitely like it here.

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The Man and the Dog.

 

 

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