For those of you who haven't already done so, meet Captain.
Captain likes cheese, oatcakes and having his tummy rubbed. He's slightly scared of cats and does a strange little 'yip' when told to 'speak' for a treat. He doesn't slaver, bite, bark or growl menacingly at small children. He looks cute and when he's lying down he sort of spatchcocks his back legs and looks like a small rug. He's pretty much the perfect pub dog.
But it's still hit and miss trying to find pubs in Stoke Newington that allow dogs in. And given the state of some of them, Captain would be the least likely contender for the 'peeing against a wall' or 'biting someone on the leg' prize.
We've got some nice pubs in Stokey, and perhaps it's the proliferation of staffies with goons attached that's turned landlords off, but still... The slate-floored Rose & Crown? Nope. The trad-pub Daniel Defoe, whose previous owners used to own 2 springer spaniels who sat on bar stools? Nope. The sweet and, let's face it, not desperately chi-chi Auld Shillaleagh? Nope. The Three Crowns (ridiculously priced food, thinks it's in the West End)? Nope. And as they've just taken over The Red Lion and are gussying it up, presumably not there either.
And there's nothing more irritating than being told it's 'against the law' or a 'health and safety' issue. Much as Captain loves having a wander into the kitchen to check out the chicken situation (with his 'no-one loves me' face on), as long as we have a well-behaved dog who sits under our table, I can't see the problem.
Andy, landlord at our favourite local, The White Hart, has the best rule. Dogs on a lead at all times. No ifs, no buts. He applies the same sort of rule to kids, with the result that all are welcome, but have to be on reasonable behaviour. Perfect. We know that if Captain disgraced himself, he'd be barred. Same for Mr PBBB.
Anyway, if you're in the area, here are my recommendations.
The Charles Lamb, Islington - the delightful, if slightly portly, Mascha the pub dog even has hand-painted 'please do not feed Mascha' signs all over the pub.
The Scolt Head, Islington (resident 1-year old Jack Russell called Monkey and occasional visiting small dogs Elsa and Podge)
The White Hart, Stoke Newington- great beer garden too
The Island Queen, Islington
The Alma, Newington Green
The Hemingford Arms (despite the brass sign on the door saying 'no dogs')
The Albion - Islington's loveliest pub allows dogs in the front bar
The Duke of Cambridge - organic pub
The Spaniard's Inn - possibly the best doggy-pub ever, complete with gourmet dog treats on sale in the bar and a dog-washing machine (featured in Mr PBBB's blog when Captain was 'volunteered' for a Flying Dog photo shoot - oh how we laughed)
And do visit the brilliant doggy pubs website which has just unearthed some others I wasn't aware of.
Now Captain and I are off to the White Hart to meet Mr PBBB who's been 'working' there since 4:30. And I think we all know I don't mean pulling pints....