Me and my Pet - Ed Woollard and Lottie

Ed and Lottie

Ed and Lottie - Credit: not Archant

Every month readers tell tales (or should that be tails?) about their favourite friends

Lottie at the beach

Lottie at the beach - Credit: not Archant

I’m originally from Suffolk but now have very firm roots in York, making me, I hope, an adopted son of the county.

When I’m not at one of the nine cafes at English Heritage’s northern sites, from Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland to Brodsworth Hall in South Yorkshire, making sure they’re ready for visitors, I share the care of five-year-old pedigree beagle, Lottie, a doggy with all the benefits.

Lottie enjoys a lot of love and attention and, as I’m often away, it only seemed fair to share her. I think of the arrangement as being like the shared ownership of a thoroughbred horse, but rather than having a leg or hindquarter, my girlfriend and I share the full doggy duties of this loveable hairball.

That’s where the thoroughbred analogy ends though. Lottie is a scamp and a handful but very easily forgiven for anything chewed. She is also always delighted to see me, which is perfect after a work-related leave of absence.

For a dog that enjoys exercise, Lottie is also pretty horizontal for long periods of time while she’s at home and the sofa in front of the fire is her favourite place to be. She has a favourite toy, a stuffed fox that she always has close at paw. Now in a poor state, dear old Foxxy has been nuzzled to death and is looking rather the worse for wear. However, if washed, he is duly ignored until his regular pong returns. Thankfully, Foxxy never leaves the house, so we don’t have to worry about losing him. Honestly, Lottie would be bereft without him, which is why he now never leaves the sofa.

My lucky mutt has enjoyed some superb doggy days camping in the Dales and walking in Robin Hood’s Bay, on the Ingleton Waterfall trail, at Malham Cove (below and above – a nightmare, but that’s another story) and along the Cleveland Way.

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She just loves beaches. Growing up in Ipswich, I had previously believed that beaches invariably came with some kind of nuclear facility – a childish memory, I know – but the Yorkshire coastline where we walk seems to be pretty much nuclear-free which, for me, is a bonus.

Lottie loves an expanse of sand, and winter walks in Scarborough take on a variety of landscapes that seem to appeal to her. From damp sand to cliff tops and salty tarmac – her all-time favourite – if she gets so just a whiff of sea air, she’s sent into a spiral of doggy joy.

Lottie is a very loyal dog and is very gentle with my little boy Arthur. In return, there’s nothing quite like giving a dog their best time ever – and that means the best time every time. A soggy winter walk seems to be far less onerous than it would be without her and if it comes without a hint of nuclear, then all the better.

To find out more about English Heritage sites (and those all-important cafes!), visit

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