Is your dog or cat enjoying a 5-star holiday whilst you are away or at work? Pets staying at Brackenhill Kennels do, and you even get a postcard from them telling you that as well!
Lindsey Ebbs speaks with Chris and Zelda from Brackenhill Kennels about their business, aimed at both locals and tourists alike.
Located in the village of Sleights, 2 miles out of Whitby and nestled in the most amazing location with bordering woods, Brackenhill Kennels have the perfect spot for your pets' holidays. Chris and Zelda are totally committed to your dog and cat having the best time, whether it be an overnight stay or in their doggie daycare facility.
Are you booked to stay in Whitby for your holidays then bring your pet with you and board them here. Drop them off when you want to go out for the day or if it’s too hot and you cannot leave them in the holiday cottage? I will guarantee they will not miss you as much as you miss them!
Chris and Zelda have let me investigate the kennels to see how they look after your pets when you are away, also explaining the situation that led them to buy the kennels in 2019 and how they have managed to run a new business throughout the pandemic?
What made you think of moving to Sleights and taking over the kennels?
I am a local, born in Sleights and went to school in Whitby, I moved away in my early 20's and fulfilled a career in the fire service. Zelda is from further south, so she has had a bigger adjustment to make but loves the area, just the same as I do.
My Mum who still lives in the village became ill and we decided it was time to move back to the area. This move would allow her to remain independent with the security of us being a lot closer than Lincolnshire. We then bought the kennels in July 2019 and relocated to Sleights.
How did you manage through covid with a business you had just bought?
That was a really difficult time and still is, we had been running the business less than a year and didn’t qualify for any major grants, thankfully, we did receive a little help from the government. Having given up our jobs to buy the business, it was an extremely worrying time.
I took up a job as a forklift driver and Zelda looked after the kennels and started the maintenance work that needed doing. When lockdown lifted, I came back to work in the kennels and Zelda took up a job as a company buyer and works from home.
What did you do in the business to diversify when pet owners were not going on holiday and leaving their pets with you?
The first diversification was the creation of Doggie daycare. We developed doggie daycare when the lockdown restrictions were lifted, owners were going back to work and needed help with dog care. Also, visitors, coming here on holiday, not being able to leave their pets in the holiday accommodation, especially in the hot weather, meant the dogs could spend the day with us and go back to their owners at the end of the day. This was the perfect solution for us, the owners and the dogs love it as they get 3 walks a day and get to go in the playfield and dip in the paddling pool!
The second diversification was renting out our playfield. Renting our field to dog owners for half an hour-slots during the day allowing the dogs to be let off in a safe environment without worry of them running off or confrontations with other dogs. This works well for local dog owners that are restricted to where they can let their dogs off.
What qualifications do you hold for looking after the owners’ dogs and cats?
I hold the Diploma in Kennel and Cattery Management, Canine first aid, I have served many years in the dog section of the search and rescue for the fire service, enabling me to look after those dogs that are slightly more challenging.
Zelda is presently taking her diploma in Kennel and Cattery Management and has rescued lots of dogs and cats over the years and she mainly cares for the cats that stay with us.
Dave is the manager of Brackenhill kennels and has joined us this year, he has a long history of owning dogs and being around K9s in his previous job in the security forces. He is also taking his Diploma in Kennel and Cattery Management.
What do you provide at the kennels and what do the owners need to know before they leave their pets?
We provide the heated kennels with an attached open run, bedding, food, walks, and playtime. We require that all pets that visit us for both daycare and overnight stays have their vaccinations up to date including Kennel cough. Flea and tick treatment would be advisory, given our proximity to the woods and bracken.
What plans do you have for the business in the next 3 years?
We have stages for improvements planned and we would like to achieve a high standard in the buildings by supplying underfloor heating instead of the wall heaters, a conservatory ‘home from home' feel with wall mounted TV's to providing enrichment for the dogs and cats whilst they stay with us. With my specialist dog training skills, I am thinking of creating dog training classes and ‘one to one' bookings for those dogs and owners that need a bit more individual time spending with them.
So, if you feel you would like to try Brackenhill kennels to leave your dogs and cats whilst you go to work or on holiday, Chris and Zelda offer a complimentary day for doggie daycare or an overnight stay. This allows your dog to have a taster of what their holiday is going to be like and allows Chris and Zelda to get to know your dog before they stay longer. This is a great offer for those pet owners who are not sure about leaving their pet whilst going away.
Chris and Zelda can be contacted on 01947 810380 at Brackenhill Kennels or through their website.
Brackenhill boarding kennels and cattery are located in Sleights, near Whitby, Pickering, Guisborough and Scarborough. Click here to view the location on a map.
Thanks to Lindsey Ebbs of Lindsey Ebbs Podiatry for this fascinating interview.