When I decided that I wanted to set up this facility I thought about what I would want for my own dog; a hyper anxious mini schnauzer with lots to say for herself, very different to the large calmer breeds I owned in the past who have now crossed the rainbow bridge. I would want something perfect for her, but suitable for me, if I had to work long days outside of the home. As a small terrier breed she has bundles of energy and if she doesn't expend this during the day, we all know about it in the evening. There is nothing more she loves than spending all day running around the property. At the same time when the day ends she likes curling up on the settee as close to us as she can get and snuggling up on our bed at night. So if I were looking for a day care facility for her it would be one acceptable to her and me. In other words I would look for a place where she could have lots of fun with canine companions, whilst at the same time receive the comfort and reassurance that a human presence provides. However, at the end of a long tiring day as much as I would want to take a tired happy dog home, what I wouldn't want is a bundle of wet muddy fur wrapped in a dirty coat. This is the mantra on which this facility is based.
For me; because our climate is so interchangeable the barn is just as important as the outdoor space. Unfortunately, there are some days when the weather conditions are so bad that indoor respite is essential. I am with the dogs all of the time therefore the indoor space has to be not only very dog friendly, but comfortable also. In the colder months it will be heated whilst in the summer months it is a cool interior area, if the large shady trees are not enough. During the wet winter months the dogs will be given good rub downs when they come into the barn. If you provide your own brush your dog will be given a brush also. The barn, however, doesn't just provide escape from the weather it is also a nice space for those dogs that like things a tad calmer; the tiny, young, older perhaps nervous ones that don't want to charge around outside all day with the boisterous bunch. It is also very handy when the energetic crowd need some down time.. The large collection of beds are all machine washable or wipe down vinyl and the settee is covered with warm snuggly throws. The blankets, throws and towels are laundered daily. There is an array of toys and televised amusement for the pooches that prefer/need that extra little bit of pampering and indoor cuddle time. The barn is a fairly large space with room to play should the weather be exceptionally bad & all the beds are communal for snuggle time. If however you feel that your dog would prefer its own bedding and quiet space an area has been set aside for crates to facilitate this.
We have a lovely rural property, just off the Ongar road; gorgeous South Weald park is on our doorstep, whilst Brentwood train station and the A12 are easily accessible. Our own 2.25 acre property is fully enclosed and gated this allows for lots of fun, games and running around. However, just because we have access to lots of ground this doesn't mean large groups of dogs charging around in what quickly becomes a field of mud. We have a bottom field for the summer as it doesn't drain so well, a top field for the winter with good drainage and a further quarter acre area out back.
We do limit the number per session this is because it is important to us that each dog receives individual attention. Limiting the numbers also ensures enough indoor space for play activity as well as good land maintenance allowing us grass all year round even in the wettest of winters.