They say every dog has his day, and in Scotland there are nine dogs in the running for the coveted title of Ambassadog or International Canine Ambassador, VisitScotland has revealed today (Tuesday, 3 May).
Following the launch of the search in March VisitScotland, working in partnership with recruitment agency Denholm Associates, received applications from over 200 dogs from all corners of Scotland – from as far as Shetland!
Originally only six dogs were to be shortlisted, but the competition has so been so fierce that nine dogs have made it to the final stages. From city dogs with big personalities, to Highland pooches with an appetite for adventure, all applicants conveyed the spirit of Scotland. VisitScotland will now work alongside Denholm Associates, TV personality Kaye Adams and the charity Dogs’ Trust to pick the Ambassadog from the finalists.
The dog ultimately chosen to fulfil the role will have a ‘nose’ for the best food and drink and a ‘tail’ for adventure. The four-legged friend will follow in his or her owner’s footsteps to take in everything Scotland has to offer – all to be documented on social media. It’s an unpaid role, but the dog will receive a special prize for its owner - an exclusive, inspirational and unique dog-friendly holiday in Scotland in 2016*.
And the chosen few are…….
George, Golden Retriever (age 1) from Glasgow
Owners: Emma and Victoria Rae
A loveable, energetic pup with a big heart, George was put forward for the role of Ambassadog by student Emma and her identical twin sister, Victoria. Although only a puppy, George has already had plenty of adventures across Scotland from the west end of Glasgow to one of his favourite places Loch Lomond where he likes to get his paws wet. He currently has 14.8k followers on his Instagram page golden_george_
Cassie, Patterdale terrier/collie cross (age 3 ½) from Haddington, East Lothian
Owners: Andrew and Carol Duff
Rescued from a stray-shelter in Romania, adventure-loving Cassie has found a new lease of life with her owners Andy & Carol in East Lothian. From the Tyningham beach to the Lammermuir Hills, Cassie has walked them all. Cassie also treads a paw behind Andy, an Outdoor Instructor, along more adventurous journeys over all of the 4000 foot Munros; as well as helping Carol, an artist, find inspiration among local sights. Cassie has her own dedicated Facebook page www.facebook.com/cassietherescuedog
Cluanie, Jack Russell (age 4), from North Kessock near Inverness
Owner: Micky Jones
Little Cluanie found fame as the Jack Russell who conquered Ben Nevis in a kilt. Alongside his human companion, Micky, a foreman for Morrison Construction from North Kessock in the Highlands, he has also conquered 59 of the Munro range in the last two years. Cluanie and Micky regularly raise money for the Highland Hospice and received a medal last year as the only dog who has completed the 26.02 Great Glencoe Challenge. Cluanie loves nothing more than posing for the camera! You can follow Cluanie’s adventures online including his Facebook page www.facebook.com/Cluanie
Blaze, Border Collie (age 4), from Portree, Isle of Skye
Owner: Steve Millar
A local celebrity on the Isle of Skye, Blaze has conquered many a Munro and raised over £1,000 for the Glencoe Mountain Rescue through sales of his 2014 calendar. Blaze loves to entertain the tourists and residents with his tricks. He is just as happy in the water… or on it canoeing, as he is up mountains, or getting towed around by bike in his ‘Blazemobile’ buggy. His adventures are recorded on twitter.com/Blazespage
Fenton, Shetland sheepdog (age 4), from Lerwick, Shetland
Owner: Kaylee Robertson
Fenton is a dog that loves to explore – from the wild seas and rolling hills and other places of interest or beauty in Shetland, including the burn of Lunklet, Bannamin beach and the Noness cliffs. She also loves to travel, via boat or air to Inverness and on into the rest of Scotland. Fenton lives with her owner Kaylee, an ambulance technician and amateur dog photographer, and three other dogs. Fenton’s adventures are recorded on Instagram under the Hobbitpaws name.
Manny, Border Collie (age 11 months), from Dalgety Bay, Fife
Owner: Vicky Gorn
The youngest of the bunch, Manny isn’t short of charm and loves an adventure – from the Fife Coastal Path to Torridon & Westray in Orkney. One of her favourite spots is the Bridge of Lochay Hotel in Killin where there wasn’t a shortage of cuddles for this well-travelled pooch. Manny also loves a weekend spent watching her human friends play sport, whilst also enjoying the odd agility class. Check out Manny’s adventure’s at facebook.com/manny.gorn
Sydney, Pug (age 4) from Edinburgh
Owner: Kristyn Lavery
A small dog with a big heart, Sydney loves to charm the folks around Edinburgh on her walks up Arthur’s Seat, Blackford Hill and the Pentland Hills. Calling themselves ‘Scotland’s adventure couple’, Sydney and her owner, Kristyn, a nurse, love nothing more jumping into the car and head off on another adventure – be it to sitting by the River Teith enjoying a delicious hake supper or driving to Loch Etive in Glencoe. Clearly a pug with endurance that is destined to go far!
Casper, West Highland Terrier (age 3) from Edinburgh
Owner: Samantha Grant
Since he was a puppy, Casper the Westie has travelled far and wide across Scotland, most recently to the Isle of Mull (one of his favourite places) with other trips to Onich, Portpatrick and a paw-trek across a section of the West Highland Way from Kinlochleven. He is called ‘Casper the Castle Explorer’ by his mum Sam as he loves a sniff around castle ruins, including ruins Machrie Moor on Arran. Casper has his own blog ‘Scotland with the Wee White Dug’ https://theweewhitedug.wordpress.com
Bertie, Fox Terrier (age 6) from Aberdeen
Owner: Dr Gail Riekie
Officially named Granddach Beinn Allign (after the Torridon Munro), but better known as Bertie, this fox terrier divides his time between Aberdeen and a cottage on the shores of Loch Torridon. He has travelled extensively all over Scotland with his owner Gail, a geophysicist, from dog-friendly cafés in Aberdeen to Glen Tanar and Morven on Deeside, quaint villages of East Neuk and an epic ascent of Maol Chean-dearg. His adventures are chronicled on the blog www.bouncingbertie.blogspot.com
Interviews for the role of Ambassadog will take place later this month and an Ambassadog will be selected soon after. For more information, please go to https://www.visitscotland.com/blog/scotland/ambassadog/
Helen Campbell, Head of Global Brand and Marketing Communications, VisitScotland said:
“We have been astounded by the quantity of applications for the search for Ambassadog, as well as overwhelmed by the quality – it has been a very tough job to shortlist! It’s also been amazing to see the passion that owners and their dogs have for the spirit of Scotland. They are all ambassadors in my book, we just have to take the next step in finding our ultimate Ambassadog."
Broadcaster Kaye Adams said:
“I’m delighted to have been asked to be a judge for the search for Ambassadog; as a dog lover myself I know that dogs take you on an adventure around the country that you wouldn’t get to see usually – smells, sights and sounds that no human can fully appreciate!”
Sandy Callander, Senior Consultant at Denholm Associates, said:
“Denholm Associates attracts top talent from CEOs to junior executives. Finding an Ambassadog has certainly been a unique brief, but one that we have relished: dogs can be loyal, steadfast and love a challenge, all great qualities for interviewees and I look forward to shaking a paw on interview day."
Sandra Lawton, Rehoming Centre Manager at Dogs Trust Glasgow, said:
“Dogs Trust’s rehoming centres in Glasgow and West Calder are home to all kinds of dogs - from Labradors and Lurchers to Westies and Whippets – all seeking someone special with whom to start a new life. Our country offers plenty of opportunity to explore fun outdoor experiences with your dog. We hope this competition inspires anyone looking for a dog to think of Dogs Trust as the start of a lifelong adventure.”
- ENDS -
Please note video content is available:
Individual videos and images of the shortlisted dogs are available on request
Notes to Editors
- The Ambassadog search was open to all dogs from all regions of Scotland who currently reside in Scotland
- Nine dogs and their owners shortlisted for the ambassadog ‘job’ will be invited to attend an interview in Edinburgh in May.
- The chosen Ambassadog and owner will have a holiday paid and arranged for them to a destination in Scotland (negotiated through the dog owner and VisitScotland) in 2016. No cash alternative may be given. This will be for a maximum of three nights and at a destination agreed between VisitScotland and the dog’s owner.
- The dog owner will be expected to share their travels and adventures in Scotland with their dog on social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) throughout 2016. This account will be managed and updated by the dog’s owner, with some input by VisitScotland.
- The dog owner must be happy to be involved in PR opportunities for VisitScotland campaign throughout 2016. This could include travel outwith Scotland. Examples of PR opportunities including being interviewed by a writer for a magazine, or appearing on live TV for an interview. Travel expenses will be covered for these kind of opportunities.
- Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
- VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
- The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
- This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
- Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland to visit different parts of the country
- Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
- Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
- Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
- Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
- Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
- Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
- VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
- The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
- Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP.
- The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit www.gov.scot or follow @scotgovESIF
- For VisitScotland’s press releases go to http://www.visitscotland.org/media_centre.aspx, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to http://www.visitscotland.org/
- Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
- For holiday information on Scotland go to www.visitscotland.com
- For information about business events in Scotland go to www.conventionscotland.com
Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016
- 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
- The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design begins on 1 January 2016 and ends on 31 December 2016 and will build on the momentum generated by the 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
- Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
- The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
- The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
- Join the conversation at #IAD2016
- Events can join the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design Partner Programme throughout the year by visiting http://www.eventscotland.org/YIAD_partner_programme
About Denholm Associates
Denholm Associates specialises in executive search, recruitment and talent attraction for commercial roles – the business generators in sales, marketing, creative, data and digital communications. To find out more, visit www.denholmassociates.com For more information, images or interviews, call Holly Garland at garlandpr on 07958 363538.
About Dogs Trust
Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity and cares for around 17,000 dogs a year through its network of 21 rehoming centres. Dogs Trust is working towards the day when all dogs can enjoy a happy life, free from the threat of destruction. For more information please visit www.dogstrust.org.uk
*About the Ambassadog campaign: