Gordon Hannah, 36, and his partner Euan Davidson, 25, were in discussions to book The Balmoral for their big day when staff requested a photo of their American bulldog Bear. The dog, who is “just like a seven-stone baby”, was set to play a central part in the couple’s wedding when planner Katie Balmer told them that they couldn’t accommodate the dog after seeing his picture.
Gordon was reminded of the incident after reading the Evening News article that features the hotel’s resident dog Stan who enjoys VIP treatment including Michel Roux dog treats on tap. He said: “I was outraged after reading it. That they have a golden retriever that’s really spoiled and we have an American bulldog that’s rejected on his looks.”
Ms Balmer, who no longer works for the hotel, told the couple in e-mails sent last August that the general manager had advised her that Bear could attend the ceremony but “he would feel uncomfortable having him where food is served.” She went on to say that the hotel “would not want him in public areas as he may scare some children or guests.”
Gordon said: “I told them that I found it really upsetting that they had said no after seeing a picture of Bear. One of the reasons given is that he could cause issues if not well behaved. My dog is a thousand times better behaved than some children I know.”
Bear, who is so well trained he walks without a lead, was adopted by the pair, who hail from Montrose, when he was just eight months old. Now at two and a half years old, Gordon says the pet is a gentle soul who loves children. He said: “He loves to play and always wants to cuddle. We have neighbours with a four-year-old and Bear is so gentle with him.”
Euan and Gordon didn’t want a wedding without Bear in attendance and decided not to spend up to £15,000 at The Balmoral, instead taking the business of their big day to The Hub on Castlehill. The dog will have two chaperones throughout the day and will have a crate he can retreat to when tired.
Seeing Stan have the run of the place “brought back all the upset” for Gordon, who runs a bed and breakfast. He said: “I just don’t like hypocrites. If they were to treat people like that I would have them up in court.”
Now the couple are looking forward to getting wed with Bear by their sides. Gordon said: “He is the closest thing we are ever going to get to a child.”
A spokeswoman for The Balmoral said: “Pets are an important part of many celebrations and we were delighted for Bear to attend the wedding ceremony. Unfortunately we do not allow pets in any areas where food or beverage is served for health and safety reasons and as a result we have a restriction in place for pets attending a wedding breakfast.”
Gordon said: “Bear is beautiful. It feels like dog snobbery. It’s not fair to judge my dog on his looks.”