Northern Ireland’s top dog, 10 year-old mongrel Becky, recently returned from a dream doggy ‘pawliday’ to Scotland which she enjoyed after being crowned top dog in a competition to find and reward Northern Ireland’s most deserving dog, courtesy of Stena Line and VisitScotland.

Hard-working Pets as Therapy dog, Becky beat four other worthy finalists to be crowned the national winner in October due her heart-warming story of a dog that keeps on giving. Abandoned as a puppy along with her litter, Becky was plucked from the River Lagan in Belfast and found a new home with Margaret McKnight in Bangor, County Down.

For the past eight years Becky has been working as a Pets As Therapy dog, providing therapeutic visits to EMI units and residential homes throughout Northern Ireland and bringing joy to the elderly through weekly visits to nursing homes, whilst also helping to raise vital funds for the charity alongside owner Margaret.

Having had a ‘ruff’ year, undergoing three major operations and battling failing liver and pancreas, Becky was last week given the VIP treatment on-board Stena Line as she travelled to Scotland to enjoy her dream ‘pawliday’.

Whilst there, Becky had the chance to take in the Scot Spirit with three night’s accommodation at the luxury dog-friendly Trigony House Hotel in Dumfries and Galloway. Surrounded by rolling hills in Dumfriesshire, the hotel was the perfect setting to indulge the leading pooch in additional pampering with some tasty dog friendly treats.

Becky also took time to relax and relish in the many dog-friendly features of the area, including Galloway Forest Park, nearby historic castles including Cardoness Castle and Drumlanrig Castle, and paddled in the rock pools in the local beaches.

Becky’s owner Margaret was delighted with the prize and opportunity to reward her top dog, “It was a brilliant holiday, I can truly say that Scotland is an amazing place for dogs – the clearly marked country paths, the glorious scenery and of course all the woodland scents were much appreciated! Becky has been through such a rough time physically with her operations and health issues that I really think the ‘pawliday’ was a massive boost to her and perked her up.”

“Everywhere you went was dog-friendly, it was great to be able to enjoy afternoon tea as well as breakfast and evening meals with Becky lying contentedly at our feet. Even muddy post walk paws were thoughtfully provided for with warm water, scented shampoo and towels. Taking dogs on holiday is not always easy, but after our trip I think all dogs should go to Scotland!”

Marc Casey, Stena Line Marketing Manager (Irish Sea North), said: “At Stena Line, we know that dogs are an important member of the family and we’re always delighted to welcome pets on 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.”

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.”


For more information on doggy breaks, visit: