The rise and rise of doggy day care
- Credit: RACHEL EDGE
While the uncertainty over Brexit is hampering business growth in some sectors, there is one industry which is booming in Suffolk - and now pampered pooches are even being offered pilates sessions at the Suffolk Canine Creche.
Suffolk Canine Creche has helped transform day care for dogs, and despite their services being seen as a luxury by some, the business is going from strength to strength.
Dogs visiting the Martlesham HQ are treated to beauty treatments, shampoo washes, and a tickle behind the ear.
There is a swimming pool for exercise and outside sprinklers to keep them cool.
Owner Candace Rose started her first Canine Creche on the Martlesham Business Park back in 2012. Now there is a network across Suffolk and beyond.
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She said: "That first week I couldn't have imagined it would come to this. I thought, if I don't try it I will never do it."
She is glad she did because the business continues to thrive despite the uncertain times ahead.
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The Canine Creche Group now cares for more dogs than any other organisation across the UK in company owned and franchised sites at Martlesham, Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich, Lowestoft, Needham Market and Harpenden. Some of those sites, at Ipswich, Needham Market, Bury St Edmunds and Harpenden are now independent operations.
"It has been amazing," she said.
The business has grown and developed and won a number of awards, including the Customer Care gong at the EADT Business Awards in 2016.
The business outgrew their original premises on the Martlesham Business Park and moved to Sandy Lane in Martlesham three years ago.
Up to 80 dogs a day attend the centre, from Dalmatians and Labradors, to Jack Russells and Cockapoos.
Candace said: "People don't want old style kennels any more. Dogs want company, with other dogs and with people.
"They always seem to know if you are dog person."
She added: "When it is hot we have paddling pools outside, and sprinkling games."
At Martlesham there is also 24-hour care for family pets, including hotel style rooms with beds and colour televisions for those who stay overnight.
If they prefer, they can sit in a TV room with one of the staff, as if they were at home.
Nearby is space for puppy training classes and for canine conditioning.
"It is the latest thing from the USA," said Candace. "Like pilates for dogs."
Trainer Laura Newman said: "It is about strengthening the body core, with balancing."
There is a grooming spa and a shop which includes lots of pet essentials including raw dog food in a cooler cabinet.