Pub dog: Fred and Big Ron

Fred and Big Ron at Crown & Sceptre, Stroud

Fred and Big Ron at Crown & Sceptre, Stroud - Credit: Archant

Life’s pretty good for father-and-son team, Fred and Big Ron, at the Crown & Sceptre in Stroud.

’ello. My name’s Fred and I live with my son Big Ron at the Crown & Sceptre in Stroud. On the day the woman from Cotswold Life visited Ron disgraced himself by eating a huge block of Wensleydale, and was still sulking from his telling off when she arrived. The thing is, he’s not normally badly behaved, so it’s Sod’s law that he felt the need to demolish a month’s supply of cheese minutes before the press arrive. Unsurprisingly, the daft thing had belly ache for ages after, too. Tsk.

Being the young one, Ron’s pretty energetic and loves it when we have company. In fact, he’s not very good at being on his own at all and will often jump on Dad Rodda’s lap which, given his size, is something to behold. He’s rather proud of the award he’s won a couple of years running at the pub’s annual Country Fair, for ‘Cleverest Dog’. I suppose it is pretty impressive, particularly as he took his orders from Anne in French. What a show-off.

Five days a week from 6-11am you can find me at my other job, which is entertaining customers at The Goods Shed at Stroud Railway Station. I go there with Katy as she works there as well as at the pub, so I have the best of both worlds, with my morning friends at the café and my afternoon/evening ones here at the pub.

I’m originally from Abergele in North Wales. I’m a little embarrassed to say, but Rodda first called me ‘Stinky’ as I had a touch of wind in the car on the way to my new home. Thankfully, the name didn’t stick and I was given the name Fred, after Freddie Flintoff, as it was 2005, the year England won the Ashes. Ron’s full name is Ronald Duncan Thomas – after Duncan Ferguson, the Everton footballer. He’s known as ‘Duncan’ when he’s naughty.

A couple of nights a week bands come and perform at the Crown & Sceptre, so Ron and I usually pop up to Katy’s house to get away from the noise and crowds… well, partly that, but mainly because Ron has a habit of joining in by howling. He’s no singer. Dad’s hoping to breed him with another Chocolate Lab and is on the lookout for a suitable female, so I do hope his girlfriend Bracken isn’t reading this… wouldn’t want him to get into trouble.

Favourite food:

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Of course Ron does enjoy his Wensleydale (natch), and we both like a hearty bowl of meat and gravy. I enjoy the occasional raw carrot for crunching on too.

Favourite pub snack:

Rodda doesn’t like us to eat salty bar snacks as they’re not good for our health, so he instructs the customers not to sneak them to us.

Favourite customer:

There’s a lovely lady down the road called Donna who takes me out for walks three or four nights a week. Rodda’s mum, Joyce, also has little treats for me when I go to visit. I’m rather fond of her.

Walk of choice:

The pub is just across the road from Daisy Bank which is a great place to go to meet other dogs and stretch our legs. We also have The Heavens just up the road, and enjoy going to the Daneway, and the lakes around Miserden. We both adore swimming, and crazy Ron is fearless when we go down to Dawlish, where he enjoys a spot of surfing in the sea.

Favourite spot at bar:

Ron likes to snuggle underneath the window seat, and you’ll generally find me by the bar. We both like to sit at Table 6 – the big round table by the far wall – as it’s out of the way of the general traffic so we don’t get stood on in the dark, and there’s the opportunity of plenty of fuss from the people sitting there.

Favourite toy/collar, etc:

Ron likes sticks, whereas I like playing with balls, and simply adore handbags. They’re my favourite thing ever, and have been known to pick them up and carry them away to my basket.

Dislikes/pet hates:

We’re both pretty relaxed, but Ron gets upset at the sight of balloons and barks at them. I don’t know why either.

Dog’s danglies (top ale/cider):

Pig’s Ear and Uley Bitter, both Uley Brewery; Budding, Stroud Brewery; Wilce’s cider.

Hair of the dog (hangover cure):

“Probably the best Bloody Mary in the SW”, including sherry, red wine, vodka, Cholula, celery salt and tomato juice.


This article by Candia McKormack is from the January 2015 issue of Cotswold Life.

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