Calling all hard-working farm dogs

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Know a dog that’s had a ruff year? Or a real pawsome pooch?

As a nation of dog lovers, more than 80% of dog owners in the UK consider their pet pooch part of the family, but when it comes to family holidays, our furry friends are often forgotten.

VisitScotland and Stena Line have joined forces to find and treat NI’s most deserving dog to a dream holiday in Scotland.

Farmers across Northern Ireland are being urged to nominate a hard-working farm dog in need of a break to be in with the chance of winning a truly memorable vacation with their family this year.

Marc Casey, Stena Line marketing manager (Irish Sea North), said: “We believe dogs deserve a holiday too and that’s why we have launched a competition, in partnership with VisitScotland, to find Northern Ireland’s most deserving canine to win a very special doggy holiday. Whether it’s a working dog, assistance dog, rescue dog, or simply a pet dog that has a ruff year and is in need of pampering, we want to hear their story.

“A well-deserving, hardworking dog will be rewarded if their human friend enters the competition through our website http://www.stenaline.co.uk/doggybreaks and the deadline for entries is 9th September 2015. A holiday to Scotland is not just for humans, but now it’s for dogs, too.

“Holidaying with our beloved pets is a growing trend and, with more and more people searching for pet-friendly places to go, we are able to offer families now have the opportunity to enjoy their first holiday together with all the family in Scotland.”

Helen Campbell, VisitScotland, said: “When it comes to booking a holiday, it seems our pets are often more important than our partners. VisitScotland received a staggering 95% more enquiries into ‘pet-friendly accommodation’ than ‘romantic accommodation’ in the last year, showing just how important our pets are to us when choosing the perfect holiday destination.

“With over 1,800 dog friendly properties and many Scottish locations now welcoming pooches in gift shops, hair salons, clothing shops, food markets and even fitness studios, Scotland is a premier pet-friendly destination where families can enjoy Brilliant Moments to the full with their four-legged friends.”

Marc Casey at Stena Line added: “Scotland is a dream destination for dogs and we are proud to welcome pets on board our sailings from Northern Ireland. With our on-board pet facilities, including dog lodges and an exercise area, owners and families can enjoy a stress-free start to a dream dog-friendly holiday in Scotland.”

The dream doggy prize includes return travel for a car and family, including their pet, on Stena Line and the chance to enjoy Brilliant Moments in Scotland with three nights’ accommodation in Dumfries and Galloway, courtesy of VisitScotland.

Entries to the competition must be submitted by 5pm on 9th September 2015. Five finalists will be selected to go through to the final round with the winner selected by a public vote on Thursday 8th October 2015.

Northern Ireland dog lovers are encouraged to join the campaign on social media via @StenaLineIE using the hashtag #DoggyBreaks