The Lamppost dog cafe

Flood water doesn’t just affect people – ever since the River Calder burst its banks, pets have been falling ill.

The Lamppost Cafe, Hebden Bridge The Lamppost Cafe, Hebden Bridge

Claire Gray, owner of the flooded Lamppost Café, explains the challenges facing pet owners in Hebden Bridge and the incredible response they’ve received from local dog walkers.

On a normal weekend, Hebden’s riverside doggy café The Lamppost would be packed with hounds and their owners wanting to buy ‘pupcakes’ and doggy ice-cream.

Today though, co-owner Claire is standing in a wet, damp corridor surrounded by upturned tables and mops. There’s a row of yellow and blue cleaning products lined up on the wall that separates the café from the Calder, which is still raging after the unprecedented floods on Christmas night.

The bottom part of The Lamppost will always flood – hence the flagstones and resigned, repeated clear-ups – but this year saw the whole building taken over by fast-moving water that had swept out the contents of the sewage plant upstream.

One wall was washed out, others damaged so badly they need to be rebuilt, and stock moved out of harms way was ruined as the water rose meters higher than ever before. “The list is endless,” says Claire. “We were hoping it’d be sooner but we don’t think we’ll be open again until February.”

What has the community response been like?
We’ve been really appreciative of the help and support, particularly from the dog community. People have helped mopping and cleaning. One of our friends set up a Justgiving site for our followers on Facebook and people have donated on that every hour of the day. It’s really overwhelming.

How did your dogs cope with the floods?
They were stressed, with us not being there. A lot of people were bringing their dogs out after the flooding. You’ve got all this mucky mud with sewage in it and dogs were walking through, licking their paws then getting sick. I was advising people to take them home, wash their paws and not take them out until the ground was clean. There was advice on the flood relief page but I don’t know if people took any notice. It was the same advice for children, but people took them out too.

Was it a problem for dogs not being able to exercise?
We had friends taking our dogs out while we were cleaning up here, but this is the first day, ten days afterwards, that our dogs have been out to the areas that were flooded. The animals do get stressed, which people don’t take into account.

It must be hard for your regulars, not being able to come here.
We have seen some of our doggy customers walking past the Lamppost and pulling their owners to come in, but obviously they can’t come in.

Last date edited: 4 March 2016