Huge support for new day centre – for dogs

Tails will be wagging all the way to Dunkeswell – if plans for a doggy day centre get the green light from planners.

Walking Woofs, which was established in the village in 2016 by Jenny Rowland, is now so popular it wants to expand to the Flightway Business Park.

“The demand for day care is huge just now,” said Jenny. “We, as a nation of dog lovers, are aware that leaving dogs all day at home isn’t great. People work such long hours these days.

“With East Devon District Council certified five-star home boarding, we are licensed for a certain amount of dogs per day – so it is very difficult to help everyone. I’ve a great team alongside me now, so the day care and activity centre seems the right way forward.”

Jenny is currently in the process of seeking planning permission for the venture.

“We’ve so many great ideas. We will have indoor and outdoor space, fully supervised. Climbing platforms, tunnels, dig pits, sensory garden area, shady spots, water / splash area and, then indoors, a ball pit, soft play area for older dogs or puppies and, of course, a cosy lounge area for the dogs to rest.”

dogs

Jenny Rowland with some of the dogs she takes for adventurous walks.

If everything goes to plan, Walking Woofs will open up to other canine-based businesses, such as groomers, trainers, therapists, offering them a space to work from.

“It’s all about helping each other, isn’t it?” said Jenny.

She started Walking Woofs to ‘bring in some extra pennies’ to support her young family and went on to gain a Diploma in Canine Psychology and Communication. Having always lived in the countryside and been surrounded by animals, she says, it seemed the natural thing to do. She has three dogs of her own – two beagles and a Labrador – as well as two cats and two ponies.

“Being with the dogs all day, every day, the learning never stops,” said Jenny. “I started out just doing the odd dog walk, but the demand was definitely out there. Soon, I was walking every day and then doing home boarding also – welcoming dogs into our home literally with open arms.”

EastDevonNews.co.uk approached Walking Woofs for an interview after seeing videos of some pretty amazing dog walks.

Jenny explained: “We go that extra mile. Every dog deserves a chance, so we aren’t put off by breed stigma. We assess dogs and put the work in if they need to be rehabilitated. Safety is obviously always most important, so we don’t rush into things lightly with any dog.

“The dogs love the variety of locations. We always mix it up and, if we know a dog loves the sea, we will make a special trip. The beagles we know love to work the undergrowth in the woods so, providing it’s not nesting season, we will go off the beaten track so the dogs can do what they love and use their noses..

“We often scatter treats from them too so they get a reward for doing what they love. They also make fantastic bonds, not only with each other but with us too. I love each and every one of our dogs
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“The owners love that we are friendly, flexible, and that we love their dogs. We put the dogs’ needs first.”

Walkies – dogs’ activities recorded for owners

Jenny often records walks with pictures and videos for owners. “They can see what their dogs are up too,” she said. “We try to capture how each dog is on the walk, and they just ooze happiness.”

Customers, like Julie, say they use Walking Woofs because ‘you treat the dogs as if they were all your own’.

Another customer, Vicky, says she likes looking at photos of the dog walks online. She said: “The dogs are taken to fantastic places for proper fun walks, not just around a plain park or field. The walks are for the dogs so they are allowed to get wet and muddy and enjoy themselves.”

The aims of the proposed doggy day care centre is to provide a fun, safe place for dogs while their owners are at work.

The likely opening hours will be Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm, although Jenny says she aims to be flexible. Collection and drop off services are being considered.

Further information is available at https://www.WalkingWoofs.net

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