Dogs Inspire Budding Writers in Cambridgeshire

cambridgeshire project
Courtesy of Chris Kent

Dogs can change our lives. Nobody knows this better than the folks at the K9 Community Café in Ely, Cambridgeshire. This social project is dedicated to bringing together people and dogs over tea and treats (who doesn’t enjoy a good biscuit!), and then watching as special friendships form.

Founded six years ago by social worker, trainer and author Chris Kent, the K9 café is entirely managed and staffed by a team of volunteers. Many volunteers have themselves been helped by the project, overcoming challenges in their own lives to be able to participate and, in turn, help others to do the same.

And then there are the dogs! Some may say the real stars: they masterfully teach us about living in the moment, having the courage to trust, and about the joyful connections we can then receive – and they do all of this as naturally as they run, jump and play.

Courtesy of Graham Fisher

They share our happiest moments and our saddest too; reminding us that we’re never truly alone. They match our pace, perhaps urging us along just that little bit faster. They always look to us, even when we might otherwise feel invisible.

Nobody—not even the most charming cat—can give you a better wet-nosed welcome than an ever-ready-slightly-smelly-happy-hungry-paw-wagging-‘n’-tail-bouncing dog! We love ‘em!

To help support the project, and coinciding with this year’s World Book Day, the K9 Café is launching their very own book titled K9 Connections: Celebrating the connection between dogs and people at the K9 Community Café, Ely.

“Reading about the impact of dogs through the stories and poems was a privilege and I hope the authors and poets keep writing.”

It features some of the winning entries to a writing competition they held last October. In this collection of uplifting, fun, and at times, poignant short stories, poems and photographs, they invite us all into the everyday magic that happens at the K9 Café.

Marie Yates, author and social entrepreneur, the founder of Canine Perspective CIC, “I’m a big fan of the K9 Project and was honoured to be asked to judge their writing competition, combining my love of writing, reading and dogs. The power of the human- canine bond came through in each and every entry, they were a pleasure to read and almost impossible to judge.

“The magic of dogs is impossible to quantify, so sharing our stories is only way we can express the importance of them in our lives. Reading about the impact of dogs through the stories and poems was a privilege and I hope the authors and poets keep writing.”

Courtesy of the Mayor of Ely’s collection

Michael Rouse, Mayor of Ely, author and historian, said, “The lovely thing about reading the poems and stories from the K9 writing competition was to know how much pets mean to different people in so many ways and how essential they are to our wellbeing.

“The work of the K9 Cafe is all about this and it has been my pleasure to support its work.”

The book will be available for purchase at the K9 Community Café itself priced at £9.99, with all proceeds going back into the project. You can find us at the Cathedral Conference Centre in Ely, Cambs, CB7 4EW, every Thursday from 10am to 12pm. For those living more than just a dog walk away, the book will also become available via online retailers.

Further details about the K9 Café can be found on the K9 Project website  and on its Facebook page.

This is a guest essay by Stephen Thomas. Want to write for us? Visit or email


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