Dolly the dog was once tied to a tree and near death. So we thought she deserved a little luxury to celebrate her 'gotcha day' – Hayley Matthews

Hayley's dog Dolly celebrated a year with her family after being rescued from death in GreeceHayley's dog Dolly celebrated a year with her family after being rescued from death in Greece
Hayley's dog Dolly celebrated a year with her family after being rescued from death in Greece
We've had little Dolly from Greece (she moved to Cyprus after being rescued) for a year now and wanted to celebrate her "gotcha day". Yes, it's a thing, look it up.

I've mentioned before we haven't been on holiday for about seven years. We'd planned to go in 2020 but then Covid. My eldest was unwell in late 2021. Travelling in a car was a huge stress, never mind a plane! Then 2022 arrived and we've not had the chance to organise anything. Our eldest also insists Dolly comes most places with us, so we decided it would be nice to take her (and us) away for a night of pampering.

As I looked at dog-friendly hotels close by, Prestonfield House glistened at me. Wondering if our children could be well behaved enough (Dolly is better behaved, seriously) we decided to go for it.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The excitement was high as we pulled up four miles from home. It felt like the middle of the countryside, so peaceful. A big, beautiful peacock called Colin strutted past welcoming Dolly, while letting her know he wasn't on the menu. With red lights, fairy lights, holly and pine around the archway, you could see a mile off that Christmas is a special time at Prestonfield. I could smell the log fires from the entrance and Dolly could smell the food as she pulled me through the door, desperate to investigate.

Our room was breathtaking. It looked magical, just like a 16th-century castle. Oh wait, it is. Dolly went straight for the dog bed laid out in the red velvet room.

She insisted she join us for dinner so we ate in one of the rooms upstairs beside a fireplace and Christmas tree. It was sheer bliss and someone got a little bit of steak under the table to celebrate her year anniversary. OK, she also tasted the venison and the four-cheese macaroni. Don't worry, she's beefing up for the winter.

When I took her for an evening toilet break (she's a lady, only goes on grass), I saw a stunning black cat at the main entrance. The lovely Dereck said how "Raven", the house cat, could be a bit reluctant to get to know dogs, so beware.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Dolly didn't listen, went for a face lick, so Dereck jumped to her rescue, put his hand in front of Raven. Dolly gave him the doey "thank you for saying me" eyes. Dereck didn't come out too well in the situation. Sorry Dereck but thank you because she was treated like a princess. With Derek as her personal security guard and a showering of cuddles and kisses, it's a world away from being found tied to a tree, close to death.

She looked at home, very cosy and did not want to leave Prestonfield. I'm so grateful for dog-friendly places. It means dogs who've had a hard time can experience luxuries many of us humans take for granted.

A little birdie (Colin the peacock) also told me she'd love Christmas Eve as it's a magical afternoon when lots of dogs check in every year, getting to see each other again. Dolly is pawing, sorry, penning her letter to Santa right now but I think she's chancing her luck wanting to go back again before at least Valentine’s!

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.