Friday, 24 October 2014


Those of you who visit the kennels regularly, will have noticed that Pete has left us. We bid him farewell at the end of August after he was offered his dream job - caring for the hounds at a hunt kennels - Cosy cottage included! Of course there were no hard feelings, after all, his new job was perfect for him. However it did leave us with rather a dilemma...

How on earth do we find a replacement?

Of course, there is NO shortage of people wanting to work with animals. We have piles of filed CV's and letters asking for work, and receive e-mails almost every day, but finding a person with the qualities that we need is actually quite difficult.

Punctual and Conscientious 

Cleaning kennels may be a boring and monotonous task, but it's important to take pride in it all the same. The cleanliness of the kennels is often the first thing the customers notice. As we open the doors you can see them prepare themselves for the stench of urine masked with pine disinfectant, so commonly associated with kennels. When we welcome them into a fresh, clean smelling kennels (complete with white tiles meaning no place for dirt to hide)and see the surprise on their faces, it's something to feel proud of. And there are many other such tasks that are easy to get bored of, but must be done properly all the same.
Also, there is absolutely NO leeway for being late in the mornings - customers turn up early and you can't be in the daycare and out in reception at the same time, so if you're on your own people can end up waiting around. 
We ask staff to be here by 7.30am. Yes, an early start, but you won't get any sympathy from Lee - he's been working since 6am! (

Computer skills. Good English and maths skills. Pleasant telephone manner

Not only do we care for, clean, feed, and supervise the dogs as they play, but we all must perform receptionist-type tasks each day. Phoning and e-mailing customers, filing paperwork, making bookings etc. So it helps for our staff to have the ability to undertake these tasks. English and maths skills are a must (as some of you know, Lee is an ex-teacher, and can't abide spelling mistakes in e-mails to customers!). Our computer system is not the simplest either, so being canny on the computer is very useful. There are also strict routines that must be followed when taking dogs in or sending them home. Failure to remember these routines could mean allowing an un-vaccinated dog to board with us, which of course, must never be done. 

Initiative and Common Sense

This is important. What we need is a person who will walk past a kennel where a dog has scratched up all of it's bedding, and immediately go in and tidy it up. Or if a water bowl is empty, to go and fill it. Someone, who ALWAYS remembers to shut all escape routes before even thinking about opening a kennel door, and, when faced with a 'dirty protester' (this is what we call extremely messy dogs, who somehow manage to poo and spread it ALL OVER the kennel and themselves) does not go to pieces, but calmly figures out a way to clean up the kennel, and the dog, without getting covered themselves. This sounds simple, common sense you might call it, but you'd be surprised how many lack the ability to do these things (or even think about doing them) without instruction.
Sometimes, this ability, might mean even going against instructions. One particular story comes to mind. A diabetic dog we were caring for - on her Insulin instructions, it asked us to give her a 7ml dose twice a day. Luckily, being diabetic myself, this rang alarm bells for me straight away. 7 ml is an awful lot of insulin, and besides, insulin is measured in 'international units'. There are about 100 units to 1 ml, so 7ml is a really massive dose! It's obvious what's happened here, the owner has written 'ml' rather than 'units'. An easy mistake to make, and actually, the administration of 7ml would have been impossible anyway (the syringes are marked in units, and the insulin bottle didn't even contain that amount of insulin) but you can see my point. One must always be on the ball, especially with medication, but in all other aspects too. 


Natural confidence is rarely something that can be learned, it's either part of our personality or it isn't. A confident person will come across as competent and friendly to customers, putting them at ease and enabling them to develop trust in us. Not to mention that the dogs can spot a nervous person a mile off, and will immediately walk all over them (jump up, drag them on the lead, ignore commands etc), So when in the daycare and supervising a group of up to 15 dogs, confidence is essential. 
Lastly, rare though it is, accidents and emergencies do happen. Whether it's a dog becoming ill and needing the vets on a manically busy day, a customer forgetting their vaccine card and needing to rush off, or the power going down, our staff need to be able to cope by thinking clearly and logically about the problem and how to solve it. 

Friendly and genuine

A friendly attitude is a must. When a customer drops their dog/s off to stay they are placing immense trust in us, not only to feed and clean up after them, but to give attention and affection to them too. Our customers want to see us displaying a genuine interest in their dogs, and have a naturally caring attitude towards them. 
Dogs have an uncanny ability of knowing when a person likes them too. Many a time a customer has warned us that their dog 'doesn't like men', only to stand, open mouthed, as the dog quite happily receives fusses and even roll over for a tummy rub on their first meeting with Lee - they know that he likes them, and sometimes that's all it takes for them to like someone back.
In the summer, we also have quite a few work experience students. Often they can be quite shy and daunted, and having friendly staff around brings out the best in them and ensures that they get what they need out of the experience. 

Ability to read dog body language

This is probably the most important skill. Running a Doggie Daycare sounds like fun (and it is!) but it is also a massive responsibility. Anyone who has ever experienced a dog fight knows how horrific and frightening it is, and so we must do our very best to ensure that this NEVER occurs. This means we need to be able to read dog body language to a fine degree, suss out new characters quickly, and have a commanding (yet caring) attitude. If you say 'No' you must mean it. There is no point waiting until a fight occurs, by then it's too late. Our staff must be able to recognise doggy disagreements and put a stop to them way before it turns into a fight. The signs a dog shows when they're unhappy in the company of another can be subtle, a sideways glance, the way they hold their tail or their ears - these can be easily missed by the inexperienced. 
The daycare is a fun place for dogs, but it by no means a free for all. We make sure the oldies or the timid dogs don't get harassed by the boisterous playful ones, we stop the play if it gets too rough, and if there is a disagreement about a ball or a toy, we take it away. It takes a special sort of person to be able to supervise the daycare in this manner. Of course, this skill can be learned, but a natural ability is much more reliable. 

Willingness to get dirty!

Often we are approached by young people desperate to work with animals, who, as you chat to them, will physically recoil when you mention to them to the fact that 90% of the job involves cleaning up excrement. It's a never ending, repetitive task - keeping the kennels clean - and a very important one too. Of course Lee doesn't even flinch at such a task, in fact, we have a little joke that Lee could go on 'You Bet' and correctly guess, from a dog's poo, what brand of food they eat! He's probably picked up literally tonnes of dog poo over the years, it's never ending - but that's the job.
Not to mention that dogs slobber, they're hairy, they get muddy paws, they sometimes even wee in excitement (on your shoes usually, although Lee once picked up a dog and it sprinkled right up into his face!).
You can't work with animals and expect to stay looking clean and tidy - and that's fine. I don't expect my staff to look smart or clean. I myself would prefer to see a kennel worker covered in dog hair with a slobber patch down their leg, because it shows they've actually been interacting with the dogs. 

So, with all these requirements, did we actually manage to find anyone suitable to join our team?


And here she is. Newest recruit, Clare. She's ticked all the boxes and more, and as you can see, the dogs' approve of her too!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Obesity in dogs

As in humans, some dogs can be prone to gaining too much weight. And, just like humans, this extra fat can cause a whole ruck of health problems. High blood pressure, heart disease, respiratory disorders, cancers, diabetes - Just a few of the ailments that being overweight can cause. Not to mention that being overweight restricts movement and makes exercise and play uncomfortable. So, obesity not only shortens a dog's life, but it also drastically reduces the quality of life.

So, what can we do to make sure that our dogs are at a healthy weight?

Weigh and objectively lay your hands on them regularly

Most vets have a set of scales in reception, and none will object to you popping in once in a while to pop your dog on the scales. Ask your vet what they think your dog should weigh, according to their breed and taking into account whether they are larger or smaller than the breed standard.

Also, make sure to lay your hands on your dog often. Do they feel firm and muscular? Can you feel their ribs? Or are they just a little bit squishy?

Stand back and take a good look at your dog. From the side their stomach should have a tucked up, firm appearance, from above, the dog should have a visible 'waist', with no pads of fat above the tail or overly bulky shoulders.

Feeding the correct amount

Now, this is easier said than done. The first step would be to feed the recommended amount according to the food packaging. Be aware, if feeding complete meat and biscuits, there is a real risk of over feeding. The guidelines on the tin or the bag will assume that you are only feeding that food, not mixing it with another. Therefore you may need to take some time to work out exactly how much of each your dog needs.

Now, lets say you're definitely feeding according to the packaging, nothing extra, and your dog is still fat. First of all, it could be possible that your dog simply isn't doing enough exercise. The packaging guidelines are based upon a dog doing average exercise - whatever that is! So the first thing to try would be to increase their walks and get them to be more active.

But what if your dog already has plenty of exercise? Well, it's a possibility that you have what's known as a 'good doer'. Some dogs (like some humans) just have a slower metabolism. We find here at the kennels, that Labradors especially, are notorious 'good doers', with many being just that little bit chunky, despite a healthy diet and exercise. Like some humans, certain dogs seem to need less calories. It might make sense to try and swap their feed to a low calorie brand, or feeding a little less. Slow feeding bowls are excellent for good doers, making their small portions of food last longer.

Keep an eye on treats

Treats can easily form a large part of a dog's calorie intake. Like the program 'Secret Eaters', we may not even realise that we are treating them too often. A half a digestive here, a scraping of leftovers there - after all, they do look at us with those eyes. If you enjoy feeding tidbits and treats, be sure to take them into account when making up your dogs proper meals. This also goes for dog treats. I was shocked to read on a 'Jumbone' package, that the treat contained 40% (!) of a dog's daily calories.

Do you have children? Keep an eye on your dog when it's meal time, they will probably be cleaning lots of bits off the floor, or perhaps even getting sneaky hand outs. I know when I first started weaning our little boy, I had to reduce our dog's food portions as she was cleaning so much food up off the floor.

Also, be aware whilst training and using treats to establish commands and reward good behaviour - it all adds up!


Of course, this is something we all know. Dogs need plenty of exercise, even smaller breeds. Be honest with yourself -  Do you walk your dog enough? and is it an exertion for the dog? For example, a walk around the block and a stroll across the football pitches may take the same amount of time, however, take a ball with you to the fields and your dog will work off much more energy than a lead walk around the block. Perhaps arrange a 'play date' with another dog - They will run around and chase each other and burn off more energy than walking alone. We often find overweight dogs lose weight at the kennels, as we exercise the dogs together, the play can be quite energetic and also they are very motivated to play together. Also, arranging a regular 'play date' will make it harder to make excuses.

We're all so busy these days, the nights are drawing in, the weather's bad, always late home from work - There's plenty of reasons why we don't exercise them enough, or at all even! If it really is impossible to increase exercise, consider getting a dog walker to take them out, or perhaps letting them come to doggie daycare for a full days play with some other dogs. Perhaps get the kids to take them out into the garden and throw a ball for them before tea's ready. You could even invest in some innovative boredom breaker toys, to ensure that whilst they're home alone, they're at least being more active.

If your dog struggles to exercise, perhaps being elderly or disabled, try to do regular, gentle walks, or if your lucky enough to live close enough to one, visit a canine hydrotherapy center. Your vet can probably tell you where your nearest one is. 

Underlying Issues

A full check up at the vets before undergoing any weight loss regime is recommended. Not only to find out what your dogs weight loss goals are and how much exercise is safe, but to make certain they aren't any underlying issues to the excess weight (such as Cushing's disease for example). Many vets do weight loss clinics, be sure to ask about them next time you go.


Don't be ashamed if your dog is fat! I've been there myself. When our dog Amber, (a dog who was always slim no matter how much we fed her) began her chemotherapy and started taking steroid tablets, the weight piled on rapidly. It was so very hard to find the will power to limit her food, after all, her time was short. So I 
totally understand how hard it is.

Dogs are innocent, they love food, they'd eat all day if they could, but
will power is not something that dogs have. Unfortunately it's up to us to be the 'baddies'. Just like taking your dog to the vets for their injections, you have to limit their food for their own good. They don't know it yet, but they will feel much happier when they are lighter,with more energy and a greater lust for life. The changes you make may be subtle, but slowly, over time, it is possible for the weight to come off. 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Should I get my dog castrated?

There can be many reasons to consider castrating your male dog, as it can benefit both health and behaviour. The operation is a simple one, which dogs tend to recover very quickly from. Even so, many owners are unsure and often feel cruel for considering it, but honestly, removing 'his manhood' could be better for him in the long run, and here's why:


  • It can make behaviour calmer and more predictable.

  • It will reduce or eliminate 'sexual behaviour' such as mounting other dogs, household objects, or your Mother in law's leg! Often this sort of behaviour around other dogs can elicit an aggressive response, so even if your dog is not aggressive in nature, his sexual pestering may still lead to fights.

  • It reduces the likeliness that your dog will go missing (on the hunt for fertile girlfriends)
  • It reduces scent marking behaviour. We often have uncastrated males in the kennel, and notice that they tend to scent mark very often when in a kennel environment. I believe it's because they're surrounded by other dogs and so feel the urge more strongly. We often have to clean their kennels more often, and sometimes even have to wash their paws daily.

  • We have noticed at the kennels, that some male dogs tend to not join in with the fun at playtimes. Rather than making friends or playing with toys, they prefer to spend their time sniffing around at the scent of the other dog's urine (even lapping at it!) and get caught up in a endless cycle of over-marking another dog's scent . It seems some dogs have a 'one track mind', to the point in which not even a room full of potential playmates can distract them.

  • It can reduce frustration, and so help to eliminate destructive and restless behaviour.

Health Benefits:

  • The behavioural benefits can have a knock on effect on the dog's health. Castrated males are less likely to be attacked or become involved in fights. They are also less likely to escape and become lost, or injured in a road traffic accident.

  • Castration eliminates the possibility of testicular cancer (obviously!) and also can lessen the probability of other cancers such as prostate cancer.

  • It may affect insurance costs (ie lowering them).

I have to add, lastly, that of course not ALL male dogs MUST be castrated. We do indeed get some uncastrated males that come to the kennels that show hardly any 'typical' behaviour at all, being generally placid and playful.

Sometimes, male dogs who are very nervous may not benefit from being castrated, as it may make them even more nervous. If you have a very nervous male dog, talk to your vet about castration and whether it is suitable.

The decision whether to castrate is personal to the owner and if your dog is perfectly balanced and happy how he is, then why do it at all? However, don't let guilt or sentimental feelings get in the way of making a decision that could be better for your dog's health and state of mind in the long run. 

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Running a boarding kennels... It's more than just a job

Three years ago, Myself and Lee were given the opportunity to be part of something amazing.

We were asked to consider building up and running a boarding kennels in sunny Cheshire. We were always aware that it would not be an average sort of career, that it would take a phenomenal amount of commitment and sacrifice. We also knew that we could be a big part of something that we could really be proud of, achieve immense job satisfaction, and, most importantly, spend much more time together.

...So we went for it. We resigned from our jobs, Lee as a Chemistry teacher and myself as a self-employed Dog Walker/Pet sitter, and we packed up and moved house. We live on site at the kennels, just yards away from where the dogs stay.
It has been a learning experience for us both over the years, and recently has become more challenging, with the opening of the Doggie Daycare and also the arrival of our little boy George.

A typical day is as follows...

Lee wakes up at 5.45am and immediately goes outside to the kennels to check on the dogs and pull up the kennel hatches so that the dogs have access to their exercise runs and can go to the toilet. He also refreshes the water bowls and (of course) turns on Classic FM. Sometimes there will be a couple of dogs who haven't made it through the night without having an accident, perhaps elderly dogs or puppies, and so their kennels are then cleaned and soiled bedding removed. Lee says that he always opens the door and takes a cautious sniff, if it smells clean, you're off to a good start!


The aim is to get the kennels looking like this and smelling fresh. No easy task! 

Once the dogs have all been checked and let out to toilet, Lee will take himself back to the house and prepare the dog's breakfasts. We like to feed them early so as to reduce the risk of bloat (Bloat is a life threatening condition involving the torsion of the stomach/intestines and is often caused by exercising a dog too close to a meal).
After the dogs have eaten their breakfasts and had enough time to rest (usually at least an hour or so) any dogs who don't like other dogs are brought out to play alone before the daycare opens. Lee tries to give them a good hour of attention before putting them back. Then the dog-friendly sorts are then brought out for exercise in the Doggie Daycare building with the other Daycare dogs. Pete supervises the play and also has the joy of picking up after them all, as now is the time that we like to call 'Poo O'Clock'. The daycare gets messy rather quickly, as you can imagine containing around ten dogs at any one time, so it is cleaned down numerous times throughout the day, swilled down with the hose and squeegeed dry.

             The dogs come out to socialise and play.

As the dogs are out playing, the kennels are then given a thorough cleaning and disinfecting (walls, doors and floors), bedding is shook down and arranged neatly (or washed if needed) food bowls are removed and water bowls cleaned and replaced. The corridor is mopped and the drains swilled clean, and then we squeegee all the water away so that the floors dry quickly. This is done on both the inside and also over in the run side. 

Inside the house, as I am chasing round after and entertaining George, I will attempt to answer phone calls, and then wash and dry the bedding and the bowls. I also keep an eye on the Facebook page in case any worried owners need an update, and load the mornings playtime pictures up as soon as they come through. I'm also responsible for ordering in supplies such as food, bedding and disinfectant, writing the blog and occasionally writing for Kennel and Cattery Magazine. In addition, I keep on top of the filing and accounts, and am in charge of all of the bills and payments we need to make, not to mention making some sort of attempt to plant some flowers in the summer (I am getting better at keeping them alive!).

Once the kennel dogs are brought back in from their exercise (usually after around 2 hours) they are suitably tired and most settle down on their beds and chill out. The morning is also the time when we will be dealing with any new residents or returning dogs to their owners when they come to collect.

Most dogs are more than happy to chill out after their playtime

Our viewing hours are between 10am and 12pm in the week, 11am and 2pm at the weekends. At this time Lee or I make ourselves available for viewings, giving us plenty of time to show owners around and have a good chat about their needs. We'd like to have an open door policy, and really we do because we don't ever turn viewings away even if they are out of the allocated hours, however keeping most of the viewings to these hours works well as the dog's needs must come first. They must be fed, cleaned and exercised before anything else.

Of course the phone will be ringing most of the day.  It will ring approximately every 20 minutes (or less!)through out the day, and it's guaranteed to go off as soon as you try to sit down and enjoy a coffee. We've even had phone calls at dinner time on Christmas day! We can have calls any time from 6am in the morning, right up to 11pm at night. We both try to answer these calls as much as possible, although the answering machine picks up many of them (sometimes you just don't have a free hand) and then we ring back as soon as we get a spare moment.

          Lee doing some office work accompanied by Milo

Once viewing hours are over Lee will check the dogs once again, perhaps giving them a treat or a chew or a filled kong to break up the day, and then he will cover Pete's dinner hour. After this, We try to have an hour or two together as a family if possible.

Soon enough the afternoon is here. The dogs are checked again and any especially lively sorts may be brought out into the daycare again for playtime. There are often incoming dogs and departures to deal with, along with more telephone calls. The dogs are fed again at around 4pm. This gives them plenty of time to eat and toilet before we close up for the night.

Once the last daycare dog leaves us for the night at around 6.30pm, the daycare building is rinsed down and disinfected thoroughly. The kennel dogs are checked once again, kennels cleaned if needed, food bowls removed, water bowls topped up, bedding checked etc. We lock the kennels and the office but at this point the dogs still have the lights on and access to their runs. We don't like to lock them up too early (unless it's really cold) as we feel it's unfair to expect even the best trained dog to cross their legs for that long!

So now we have an hour or so to ourselves again. We bath George and get him ready for bed, have our showers and eat our dinner. Lee goes out again to check the dogs are well and settled at around 8pm. He gives out cuddles and treats and makes sure they are all happy for the night before closing the hatches down, turning off the lights and locking them up securely.

But of course this is a 24 hour a day job - just because the dogs have been shut in for the night does not mean that work is over for the day. Sometimes a dog may bark or howl at night, and so Lee will have to get up to go and see to them and settle them back down. When we had George we made a deal that I would wake up for the baby, and he would wake up for the dogs. As it turns out we both get up at night quite regularly!

Often a spanner may be thrown into the works. Perhaps a dog is taken ill, meaning an unforeseen vets visit. Or a flight is delayed and so a kennel becomes double booked. Perhaps a staff member will be ill and we'll need to cover. These things can make life a little difficult, although the dogs never notice. Their care remains the same and they always come first even if that means me having to show visitors round with George tucked under my arm, or coming back in at night to an answering machine with twenty messages on it waiting to be called back.

           Lee answering calls holding a newborn George

There are no days off, and no sick days for me or Lee. Even when I went into hospital to give birth, George was born at 3.59am, and Lee was back at the kennels for 6am! Lee has literally dragged himself out there, his face green with sickness, to care for the dogs (I am certain that the dogs knew he was really ill this particular time, they didn't play at all that morning, preferring to cuddle up on top of Lee as he lay groaning on the sofa!).

The kennels must always be manned by at least one person. This ultimately means that we very rarely go out together as a family. Hospital and dental appointments can be difficult to arrange 

It is often difficult to see family and friends when you work every day of the year. To be fair, we are both fairly antisocial anyway! We enjoy our own company and don't pine for social gatherings. Even so, it is easy to go long periods without seeing family and friends, and so recently we have spent some time and money decorating one of our rooms so that it is beautiful and new, to entice family members to come and stay with us as much as possible.

The kennels life is normality for George, and one day he'll be able to help us out and earn his pocket money!

And so there you have it. Kennel life, and I say life rather than job, because a job has an ending point at some time of the day, and the kennels does not. 
But although we miss out on many things, we never miss out on each other. Most families spend hours and hours apart each day, but not us, and I feel that's worth more than any holiday. It is also rewarding and heartwarming to care for dogs as a living, they are such amazing animals. Clever and sweet and oh so funny. It warms your heart to gain their confidence, help them settle and feel comfortable away from home, and watch them play together happily and enjoy themselves. It's wonderful to provide such a service to their caring owners, who put such enormous trust and faith in us, and it's amazing to be one of the first kennels to start changing what it actually means to be a kennel. Gone are the days when bars and concrete, endless barking and zero exercise is acceptable. Customers want more than that for their dogs these days. Perhaps, when more kennel owners start viewing this career as a life, rather than a job, we will see more and more kennels improve their standards. We have shown that a kennels can be different, it can be a home away from home, where a dog can be appreciated and loved by genuine 'dog people'. That's how it should be.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Dogs - They'll never know how important they are to us

My little boy had his second birthday this month. I'd like to say I have happy memories of his birthday, but I don't.

After a complicated and stressful pregnancy, we suffered a traumatic birth, which left George with a seriously damaged arm. He then went on to develop meningitis, and once discharged from hospital was found to have a condition called silent reflux (this is essentially acid reflux, which is very painful for the baby and means that they cry almost constantly). All in all, pregnancy, birth, and early motherhood was a very tough time for me, as it is for many mothers. I often think about how I got through this time without breaking down or having to turn to antidepressants, and I think that my animals played a huge part.

I had a horse called Belle, who needed caring for each day. Grooming, feeding, mucking out. These daily duties were not a choice, they needed doing each and every day, screaming baby or not.  I also had Amber, our dog. At the time, Amber, our wonderful and clever Collie cross, had recently been diagnosed with lymphoma. She was undergoing chemotherapy but still only had a prognosis of 6 - 12 months to live. I promised myself that she would get a good walk every single day, no excuses, and I lived up to that promise.

I know a lot of mother's with reflux babies avoid going out in public, because of the stress and the embarrassment of having a baby that cries all the time. However, I had to go out and care for my animals. I would strap George to my back, whether he was crying or not, and like this I would carry him around the stables, mucking out and caring for Belle as I always did. Belle always had a calming influence on me, and it seemed that she did on George too. He would be quite fascinated with her, reaching out to touch her and enjoying all the sights and sounds (and smells!) of the farm. 

Then, still using the trusty baby carrier, Me, George and Amber would all go walking. Sometimes I would get strange looks from other walkers, perhaps thinking me a neglectful parent for walking along ignoring my crying baby. Other times, I would walk past people and they would give me a look and a smile that said 'I know what you're going through', or sometimes they would come and chat and tell me about their own children who used to cry a lot. That was rare, but lovely and reassuring when it did happen. 

The fresh air, the exercise, the fact that, mostly, George would be distracted enough to stop screaming for a little while, it all made me feel better. It also made me feel like I was making some sort of an effort to be a good mother. I'm sure I ruined many a peaceful walk for other walkers, but tough luck! -They got to walk away and I didn't! Just because George was grumpy, it didn't mean that he deserved to be shut up in the house all day. He deserved to see the great outdoors just as much as the next baby. 

Above all, Belle and Amber gave me a reason to get out of the house. I couldn't lose my sanity (although some days it felt like it was hanging from a very fine thread!), because there was no one else to care for them. It had to be me. Having this duty helped to get me through, no doubt about it.

This is something that dogs (and other animals) give to people every day. They do these things for us and they don't even know how important they are. I wonder how many dogs have 'saved' their owners - just by being there?

Life can throw at us many challenges, which can push us close to the edge and make us want to give up. But having a dog to care for, that needs feeding and walking and loving, is sometimes all it takes to get us to keep going and get through it.

...And this is just what you're average dog can give, no special training, it just comes naturally to them.

Imagine what a disabled person's life would be like without the help of their assistance dog...

Or an elderly person, living alone. What would their life be like without their little Westie sitting at their feet and cocking their head listening to chatter?..

Dogs can work wonders with disabled and autistic children too, giving them confidence, relaxing them when they are scared, giving them something to focus on, being their friend without any expectation or pressure.

And what do they ask in return? 

Not much, a walk every day, a warm bed and food, care when they're sick, and a pat on the head every so often.

How very humbling.

Rest in peace Amber and Bella. They'll never know how much they did for me. 

Friday, 17 January 2014

Some Important Kennel News and Announcements

Hi there! 

Hope you have all had a lovely Christmas and New Year. 

Apologies for a rather boring blog post this time! Just needed to get some important news and advice posted this time. (Incidentally if anyone can suggest blog topics or have any questions for us then please feel free to send me a message via Facebook - Sometimes I struggle to come up with interesting topics!) 

Summer holidays? Book them now! 

I'm sure many of you are now thinking about booking holidays for the spring and summer. 

If you have never used kennels before, be sure to go and view any prospective ones before booking. Make sure the kennels are clean and that the dogs look happy and well cared for, have a chat with the staff too about your dog's needs. It can be difficult to find a kennels that you like, so it's best to start the search early. 

We are already becoming booked up for February and the summer holiday months, so if you want to check us out or book a stay be sure to do it soon to avoid disappointment. 

Our usual viewing times are weekdays between 10am and 12pm, and weekends between 11am and 2pm. However these times aren't set in stone - if they aren't convenient for you then just give us a ring and we can arrange another time. 

Doggie Daycare Customers

Our little Doggie Daycare is now becoming quite busy! This means that it's important to book or at least check spaces before coming, particularly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. We only have a licence for 15 dogs in the daycare and we'd hate to turn anyone away. 

IMPORTANT - Kennels closed 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th Jan. 

Apologies for any inconvenience! 

We are closing the kennels to do some maintenance work on the kennel run floors as they are looking a bit tatty. This is not something that we can do with any dogs on the premises due to the fumes. It will be finished, dry and safe by the Monday, and looking a lot neater too! 

This means that there will be no one available on these dates to take people for kennel viewings. Again so sorry for the inconvenience. We will try our best to accommodate urgent viewings once we are home. 

The doggie daycare will be open as usual on the Friday and the Monday, it's just the kennels that is closed. 

Closing the gates

I hate to pester, but just wanted to remind customers to leave the gates as they find them. (ie it's OK to leave them open if they are already open, but if they are closed please close them again behind you after you drive in). This is to ensure the safety of the dogs especially as we are situated on the A54 which is a very busy road.