Cornwall LivingIssue #Spring 2018
Happy dogs for days
We take a stroll with Jackie Warden – the friendly face and founder of Happy Dogs Day Care.
Cornwall is a doggie paradise, with endless heathland, woodland, coastal paths and beaches to enjoy with your furry friend in tow. However, whether you live down here and have a busy working schedule, or are holidaying with your hound and are unable to take them on particular day trips, it can be difficult knowing what to do. Even harder is leaving them at a kennel for the day, guilty in the knowledge that you’re having a blast while they’re left waiting for you to return. This is where Jackie Warden, founder of Happy Dogs Day Care comes in.
“…The regular guests soon become fast friends and now, when they arrive in the mornings and see their mates, they’re always really excited!”
Jackie first undertook the task of setting up her own day care business around six years ago, after becoming tired of the mundane nine-to-five that she never loved. Throwing caution to the wind, she took the plunge and since, she tells us, she has never looked back. “For years, I knew I wanted to work with dogs. The problem always seemed to be that making a living from it just didn’t seem possible – I guess it’s always difficult to imagine making a full-time living out of the things we love!”
But that’s exactly what Jackie does now and after only a short time she’s been able to build a sterling reputation in the local area, attracting business from both residents and holidaymakers alike. Happy Dogs is based between Helston and Penzance in the sleepy Cornish village of Breage. All year round Jackie’s guests enjoy multiple daily walks in the fields and meadows that surround the village and when the weather allows, she takes them out onto the coastal paths and occasionally to Long Rock beach – looking out over St Michael’s Mount – where everybody, including Jackie, can enjoy the fresh sea air.
Testament to Jackie’s patience and care for her dogs are her own two spaniels, Missy and Murphy. Missy is a black cocker spaniel with endless reserves of energy and Murphy, who is the more chilled of the two (while still beating Missy to the ball on most occasions), is a springer-cocker cross, or ‘sprocker’. Jackie likens Murphy to a shadow, as wherever she is, you can bet that Murphy won’t be far away. In contrast, Jackie jokes, “if only we could strap a generator to Missy’s tail – we’d make a fortune!”
We meet Jackie near Helston, on a mild afternoon as she walks the day’s dogs around Loe Bar. Missy, excited to be out and about, plunges headlong into to brackish hedges to our left, surfacing occasionally only to dive straight back in. Murphy, overwhelmed by the scents and smells around him, is following a trail of his own. Even though the rest of the dogs don’t belong to Jackie, it’s impressive to see how they all keep within calling distance, never straying too far, coming back when called and always with an eye on firmly on the throwing stick.
Jackie tells us: “The thing I love most about this is watching them interact and socialise; I love watching their relationships change and develop. I have a steady stream of regular dogs that come in for day care, as well as boarders whose owners go away, either on business or on holiday. The regular guests soon become fast friends and now, when they arrive in the mornings and see their mates, they’re always really excited!”
But it does take hard work and careful patience on Jackie’s part to earn their trust. “When a dog first comes to me it’s understandably unsure of what’s going on, or whether its owner is even coming back. But after a couple of hours, a nice walk, lots of reassurance and cuddles, they soon start to feel safe and relaxed, and it’s never long before my home becomes their home from home, too!”
For Jackie, building relationships with animals is second nature and it’s in this that dog owners place their trust. What’s absolutely clear as we stroll along the side of Loe Bar is that, no matter how weird, whacky, excitable or calm, the way she interacts with the many and varied characters in her care never fails to bring out the best in man’s best friend.
For more information call Jackie on 01326 569669 or visit www.happydogs-daycare.weebly.com and the Facebook page.
"...The regular guests soon become fast friends and now, when they arrive in the mornings and see their mates, they’re always really excited!"