I hate shopping. I hate the crowds, the noise, the heat. But I recently discovered something that sparked my curiosity: John Lewis welcomes well-behaved dogs in their stores.


Raffi is recuperating from his illness and getting bored with his onlead walks, and I have some Christmas gift vouchers to spend. So we set off for a different kind of adventure.


It feels strange, walking through sliding glass doors into this gleaming perfume-scented space. I expect a security guard to place a hand on my shoulder and order me out, but instead a woman darts out from behind a beauty counter and asks whether she can stroke him. And everyone is turning to smile at us. I feel as though I’m walking through the store with a film star.


The shininess of the lift perturbs Raffi a bit but he is persuaded with biscuits, and once out of the lift he relaxes again, enjoying himself, intrigued by all the new smells and getting lots of fuss from the staff, who are lovely. I’m enjoying it too - the novelty of it. For once, shopping is fun.


One woman tells us we can even visit the cafe. But Raffi’s swinging tail has dispatched many a mug of tea and glass of wine in the past, so we pass on that and leave. But he’s enjoyed himself so much that when we pass the entrance again later he tries to go back in. Thank you for the welcome, John Lewis: we’ll be back!


As for my shopping, I bought a waist pack and a pair of trail running shoes. As soon as he’s better I think it’s time we headed out into the hills again.


Many thanks to John Lewis Partnership for given us permision to take photographs at their Cardiff Branch.