Meeting Betty: The Crowthorne shop dog

PUBLISHED: 12:33 08 November 2016 | UPDATED: 14:49 08 November 2016

Betty wearing the dinky little socks which ensure she doesn’t slip on the floor

Betty wearing the dinky little socks which ensure she doesn’t slip on the floor

Maureen McLean

We’re not sure about the claim to blue blood, but Maureen McLean remembered to curtsey with her camera on this visit

If you love shopping for unusual, beautiful household items from around Europe and the UK, then head to the Wonky Donkey at Dukes Ride in Crowthorne. And if you are a pet lover, your heart will be melted by resident shop veteran dog Betty. She’s reached the grand old age of 18.

The Wonky Donkey was opened by husband and wife team Pandy and Lee Dean in 2015. It’s a real gem of a shop. Why the Wonky Donkey? Well, Pandy loves animals and a friend of hers got a new rescue donkey in New Zealand and said it was a bit wonky – a lightbulb moment for Pandy and so the shop was named.

Pandy was the Head of Dance at nearby Wellington College and when she fancied a new challenge decided to open a shop despite not having a background in retail. Hubby Lee is a general builder and house builder so Pandy often helps with the interior design for the houses Dean builds. She also works with other interior designers, supplying them with beautiful lighting, rugs, tables and pieces from her shop.

So onto the star of the show! Betty was a Battersea rescue dog. She went to Lee’s brother’s farm when she was eight years old. Much as she loved the farm and enjoyed being a ratter, she wasn’t that comfortable being around the other farm dogs, so Lee’s mother took her on, but as she was often away travelling, Betty settled in with the Deans when she was aged 13.

Betty is a bit of a local celebrity and even has her own Facebook page. When Pandy was working at Wellington College, Betty starred in a school production of Oliver and even went on tour with the Wellington Academy!

So Betty, what’s the best thing about being a shop dog?

Well, I do like to lie right in the doorway to the shop so that I get lots of attention from the schoolchildren, and they bring their mums along too, which is good for our bank balance! I love getting lots of treats and have a good supply of tasty bacon Schmackos in the shop so that I am spoilt on a regular basis.

What about the humans you meet?

I get along with them, although I can be a little aloof as I do consider myself to be Dog Royalty. As Princess Betty, I’m actually a bit of a snob on the quiet, but as long as the humans keep me supplied with tasty treats, I’ll put up with them. If I feel like it, I’ll roll over onto my back so that they can tickle my tummy.

If you ran the shop what would you do differently?

I would definitely have cosy carpet to lay on all day rather than a wooden floor. I’m quite elderly now and have arthritis, so I wear special little non-slip socks so that I don’t slide about too much on the floor. As my eyesight isn’t the greatest these days, I would fill all the bowls for sale with treats rather than things like scented candles. I would also have my own chaise longue with soft cushions to rest on.

What’s your favourite local place that’s not the Wonky Donkey?

I like to sit in the front of the car when we go on road trips whilst Dad drives and Mum sits on the back seat! I love going for little walks to Heath Lake in Crowthorne, although these days a short stroll is about as much as I do. I’m particularly fond of the Chequers pub in Eversley as they keep doggie treats behind their bar. 

Meet local celebrity Betty at the Wonky Donkey, 208-210 Dukes Ride, Crowthorne, Berkshire, RG45 6DS;

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