Category: On Holiday
Leaving your beloved pet in the care of strangers can be a dog-owner’s worst nightmare.
Thankfully, all the worry and fear that I’ve experienced when leaving my dogs at home was allayed on my recent trip to Scotland.
The lodge my husband and I had booked was, unfortunately, not pet-friendly – but thankfully there was a wonderful kennel that was more than happy to take my Labrador at the last minute. I’d always wanted to spend a weekend in Scotland, the promise of gorgeous mountain vistas, rich whiskeys and wonderfully fresh beef appealed to me greatly.
The age-old problem that presents dutiful dog-owners is what to do with our loyal canine companions, when we chose to visit places or stay in hotels that are simply not ‘dog-friendly’. In an ideal world, I’d have a group of dog-loving friends and relatives, all willing and capable of taking care of Charlie – however, we spend all our spare time with him – having little time for other socialising. So when it comes to leaving him in the care of others, the only real option is a kennel.
Many dog kennels in Britain have polarising reputations.
Just take a glance at the Google reviews of a handful of kennels: what you’ll find is glowing reviews touting the wonderful service and luxurious comfort sitting right next to angry tirades, blasting the rude staff and pitiful living environments. Of course, the old adage rings true that ‘you can’t trust everything you read on the internet’.
That’s why it’s always best, in these situations, to seek out some first hand opinions from trusted sources.
Mark and I went to our vets, to take Charlie for his routine vaccinations (a must before kennelling an animal for any period of time) and asked around with surgeons and nurses there. They gave us some ideas and we cross-referenced these with some notable dog behaviourists, just to confirm that we weren’t dropping Charlie off somewhere truly sub-standard.
We found Adie Kennels & Cattery (http://www.adiekennels.co.uk/), a small family run business that had been run for over 30 years, to be the worst kept secret that Scotland had to offer.
They welcome visits for curious owners and keep a sanitary, yet comfortable situation for pets. We felt no qualms whatsoever (apart from the usual guilt) in leaving Charlie there for two nights.
Then it was on to our lodge in the Highlands (http://www.highlandheatherlodges.co.uk/); knowing that our pooch was safe and sound in a decent environment put us at ease and allowed us to have a wonderful weekend away.
If you’ve got any worries about kennels, then do what we did. Spend a good amount of time doing your research. Look at review sites (http://www.edogadvisor.co.uk/) and take the time to go deep into Pet blogs (like our one here!).
You may find that you spend more time looking for a place for your dog to stay, than your own accommodation!
But, the peace of mind that this will grant you, whilst you’re away from your dog, will make it all worthwhile.
Don’t leave your furry friend behind on your next holiday!
Sometimes you might be able to find a close friend or relative to look after your dog for the duration of your holiday – but sometimes it’s simply not worth the worry.
If the idea of leaving them in a kennel doesn’t quite sit right with you, then why not consider these pet-friendly options:
Bowland Fell Park, North Yorkshire
Situated right on the edge of Forest of Bowland, this is a wonderful caravan site that hosts static homes which boast comfortable beds and, most importantly, pet-friendly accommodation.
With the entirety of the forest to explore at your leisure, not to mention the Yorkshire Dales just a 10 minute drive away, this is a wonderful way of seeing lots of the great outdoors with your canine companion.
Tyddyn Goronwy Camping Park, North Wales
If you’re looking for a rugged jaunt into the countryside, without the hard night’s sleep of actual camping, then Tyddyn Goronwy’s quirky pods could be just for you.
They might be little more than glorified sheds, but with the added bonus of insulation, security, a TV for cosy nights in and heating – you’ll be hard pressed to find a more affordable, comfortable option for you and your dogs.
Caffyns Farm, Devon
Of course, when the summer sun is beating down in glorious England, there’s nothing better than really getting out into the great outdoors.
Caffyns Farm offers exactly that, with a refreshing take on the camping experience. They’re completely dog-friendly and also own a wide selection of ponies that you can ride for £25/hour. There’s a stream for little ones to play in and you’re right in the centre of Exmoor, one of Britain’s loveliest areas.
The Grosvenor Arms, Dorset
A night in this classy Pub/Hotel may well set you back a big whack (room prices start at around £125/night) but it’s far and away one of the swankiest place to take your dog.
Dorset’s a gorgeous area for walking your pooch and when you’re both exhausted from hiking round the countryside, Chef Neil Duffet is on hand to cook some delicious a la mode food that’s bound to sate your hunger.
Russell’s of Clapton Hotel, London
A city break may seem like a rather odd choice to take your dog, but it’s thanks to places like Russel’s of Clapton that it’s becoming a more and more popular choice.
Annette Russell used to work in the the music-industry, now she runs a B&B out of her stylish London property, with the help of her whippet Reggie. It’s set within a more ‘traditional’ East London street – so expect takeaway shops and council estates to bookend this unique experience.