Tuesday 14 February 2017

Who’s Calling it a Dog’s Life?

As the van pulls up, Elton trots down the steps of his terraced house and onto the pavement, shaking with excitement and hesitantly glancing back at his mum. From the doorway, I’m watching as my little one heads off for a full day away from me. Will he make friends? Will he have fun? The dogmobile pulls away and with an anxiety shared by hundreds of parents on their child’s first day, I head to work. I needn’t be concerned, however. An hour later Elton is tearing around a muddy field, making friends and is as happy as can be. Making friends of a four-legged nature, that is: Bumble, a regal beagle, and Harvey, the fun loving Labrador.
Welcome to doggy day care, the latest must-have for dog owners which is growing in popularity throughout the country. But specifically, welcome to The Paw Pack, the mothership of canine day care in some of the smartest postcodes in Gosforth and its surrounding areas. For the uninitiated, ‘doggy day care’ is the equivalent of nursery school for dogs to avoid them being cooped up in the house all day while owners are at work. This amenity eliminates the need for multiple dog-walkers, but the Paw Pack really has the marketing edge in a big pool of competition.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the phenomenon started in canine-crazy America, where there are thousands of centres offering the service. Inevitably, they’ve started to spring up on this side of the pond, and hundreds are operating out of sheds, gardens and plots of land all over Britain. I can only describe my first visit to The Paw Pack facility as a ‘kind of Zen atmosphere’. The dogs are just hanging out, and everyone was just kind of grooving. There’s no roughing it in the back garden or ripping apart the sofa in boredom for these cherished pooches.
Founded in 2015 by Rachel Redpath, this creche for canines is the cream of the crop in dog care service that’s truly giving the North East’s dog lovers a run for their money. While most of these services require you to drop off your dog as you would your child, The Paw Pack is different, and operates a dedicated shuttle service to transport residents’ dogs to and from day care. Every day between 8am and 6pm, The Paw Pack Van drives around well-heeled areas of Gosforth and beyond picking up and dropping off labradors, spaniels and pugs from lawyers, teachers and doctors to name a few. After a busy day haring around a field, the dogs are delivered home making sure us parents can meet the demands of our work (or social) commitments.
Knowing your dog is healthy, safe and happy is not enough for the guys at The Paw Pack; they want you to share in the fun that your pooches are having throughout the day so provide photos and updates courtesy of your dogs own personal WhatsApp group. ‘Millie had a really good day at the beach enjoying her time with friends. In the afternoon we went for a lovely walk in the woods. She also had a little nap.’ You get the gist. They also provide GPS navigation so you can keep track of their walks (even how many calories they have burnt!) and accessibility to their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram sites, where you can watch your pooches adventures on screen with weekly videos made by the team. And subject to availability this flexible and reliable dog walking service can also offer weekend walks when you need to squeeze in that extra yoga class or much deserved Saturday cosmo. Aside from these innovative touches, The Paw Pack also offers dog owners individual dog and puppy training programmes through their ‘Packademy’, access to ‘Bumbles Boutique’ for dog accessories and wedding services for those ‘I do want my dog present' moments. And for first time dog owners...browse at your perusal their knowledgeable blog which provides information on all things dog!
Rachel has been an animal lover her whole life, owning her first two rescue dogs, Texas and Digby, at the age of 12. It was after a degree in law, a wedding and bringing their beagle ‘Bumble’ of joy home, Rachel soon realised that balancing a busy and demanding work life sometimes made it difficult to achieve the right balance between work, life and caring for her beloved pooch. “I struggled to find a company to provide the right care for Bumble, and would often run home from work to feed and walk him. I couldn’t get my head around why there wasn’t just somebody that came in and really did it right, because there’s obviously such a need”, says Rachel. Ultimately her wish list for the right balance was the inspiration behind The Paw Pack. “There are so many devoted dog owners out there, and all they want is to achieve a dog-life balance, and also the peace of mind that their dogs are healthy, safe and above all happy."
I can speak from personal experience, as Elton, my 3 month-old (and very much loved) miniature goldendoodle, is their number one fan. While I am off working in the world of PR and social media to keep him in dog biscuits, Elton spends the day frolicking in acres of grass and explorative woods in various spots around the North East, with his pals in tow. He can spend the day playing with his best buds, snacking on treats and be home in time to curl up (exhausted!) in his dog basket at the end of the day when I come home. Barking mad? Possibly. But there’s plenty of demand and this little slice of doggy heaven comes at a reasonable price: £10 for an hours walk and £20 for daily dog care. And I can say at first hand that this bespoke, professional and reliable service genuinely helps you achieve a better dog-life balance, allowing your favourite four-legged friend the opportunity to quite simply have the time of their life! These aren’t just privileged pets, but some of the North East’s most cared-for canines. I can safely say it might be a dog’s life, but for these lucky pooches it’s certainly not a bad one. And surely the question on thousands of parents’ lips is: when will they start taking children?

The Paw Pack
Telephone: 07590758076
Email: paws@thepawpack.co.uk
Instagram: @wearethepawpack



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