St Giles and St Nicholas church is friendly to all dogs

Church of St Giles and St Nicholas welcomes dogs

Church of St Giles and St Nicholas welcomes dogs - Credit: Alex Walton

Toto, the infamous pooch of Sidmouth, gives a dog's-eye-view of the world

MUTT OF THE MONTH – If you dig dug dogs then this story’s for you. While poking around in the Arabian desert, some archeololeoligists have revealed a right ancient woofer, dating back to 4,000 BC (BC = Before Cockapoos, I guess). Doug (of course) is one of the oldest examples of a domesticated dog ever found. I don’t know what breed he is but he’s doing very well. Those big lunks Great Danes only manage to live to about seven, by comparison. Doug’s probably on Lily’s Kitchen. Anyway, local cave paintings show dogs and people hunting together, and there are even etchings of dogs on leads. Mostly just the basic model, mind – neon retractable ones with poobag dispenser attached were still in development at that point.

‘MUSEMENT OF THE MONTH – If you’re as old as Doug you’ll remember an athletic little lobber called Tessa Sanderson. Well, here’s another world-beating compact thrower. Welcome to Kompact 9. Made in Newton Abbot from 100% recycled plastic, they’re gigantic in the fun ‘n’ frolics department, but then retract to the size of a chihuahua’s toenail when not in use. Total telescopic terrificness.

MOOCH OF THE MONTH – Harpford Woods make for a perfect pooch perambulation: not too steep and good gulping courtesy of a little river that flows through. You can walk right along an old railway line (I think it was the Feniton to Sidmouth line but I’m more into treats than trains so I wouldn’t listen to me. No doubt some chuffing expert will write in to correct me). Anyway, history fans will be agog to learn that oak and beech trees from this ancient woodland were used to build ships in something called the Nappyleonic Wars. Some bust up involving babies. They do get quite grumpy at times. There’s a nice place to do a spot of glamping nearby called Hunger Hill Yurts, if you’re into campanology. No, I know that’s not what that means. I’ve forgotten what the right word is, but campanology does ring a few bells. Which reminds me…

MERCHANT OF THE MONTH – OK, bit of a change this time, as I’m going to spread the word about the answer to all our prayers: the fabulous Church of St Giles and St Nicholas. I gather it’s dedicated to Gyles – take note of spelling, please – Brandreth and Nicholas Parsons, and I just worship it. Surely you’re not allowed in there, I hear you cry. It’s true most churches aren’t keen on dogs, despite the fact that we’re anagrams of the big fella (there’s a St Bernard’s church up in Bristol that I must try, mind you). I’m very happy to say that Reverend Matt Selman is one of those who have seen the light and saintly dogs are allowed into his lovely church. OK, a grave place on the outside, but inside it’s an apse-olutely divine creation. I canonestly say aisle always love it. Might be because I’m a cross-breed. It’s an obsession, a disease, but I don’t want to curate. Some churches are not so great, mind you. I went to a service in one where I kept getting told off for standing at the wrong time, not kneeling, etc. They were constantly finding more and more fault in me until I’d had enough and blew up at them. It was a critical mass thing. Sidmouth’s churches are much friendlier. I often pop into St G and St N with my owner. He’s been into churches since he was a child: apparently he was an altered boy. I don’t like to ask. Do give the place a look on your next walk. OK, the glass may be a bit stained but that aside it’s super-clean. And we all know what cleanliness is next to. Dogliness, that’s right.
By the way, Rev Matt, next time you need a new dog collar, you know where to come.

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