n 2004, I sat down and made a list of all the things that made me uncomfortable about leaving my own dog in kennels, and decided to provide what I wanted, but couldn’t find anywhere - a place where you could leave your dog and go away safe in the knowledge that he would have every bit as good a time on his holiday as you would on yours.
The result is The Paw Seasons - a terrible pun, but a great place to be a dog.
Based in the south Cotswolds, and just under 2-hour’s drive from Central London, The Paw Seasons takes a small number of carefully selected dogs at a time. They live in the farmhouse with me, my partner Tim Stokes, and, when she's home from university, my daughter Sarah. The dogs have the full run of (most) of the house, sleep where they like, and best of all, always have company on hand, both 4-legged and 2-legged.
In place of kennels, there's a 300-year old farmhouse with a huge, fenced paddock at the bottom of the garden for the dogs to go in and out of as they please. Instead of miserable old concrete runs, the dogs are treated to as many tours of our 12-acre field, sniffs in the hedgerows, and runs along the ancient Cotswold Way footpaths as they could possibly wish for. And when they tire of that way of life, they hop in the car for an outing to Brean Sands - miles of safe, sandy beach on the North Somerset coast.
Because all dogs are different, we decided that rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach, we needed to provide additional care for very energetic and older dogs. So we offer a few alternatives that give the same level of personal care, comfort and tailor-made exercise. The bigger, bouncier breeds will love the wide open spaces of rural Wiltshire provided by my old friend and colleague Melissa Powell who accommodates up to 5 gundogs (or similar) in her stunning, period house in a sleepy village on the Badminton Estate. In neighbouring S. Gloucestershire, Myra Chappell takes 2 or 3 gentler, quieter dogs for hugs on the sofa and strolls around the beautiful Hawkesbury Common. Wherever they stay, the dogs are able to freely wander around the house, gardens and grounds of all properties, and enjoy wonderful twice-daily walks.
Not all dogs pass our entrance exam. Entire males for instance can upset the balance, and certain breeds aren’t accepted at all no matter how adorable their owners think they are. Most dogs do qualify though, and every dog that stays with us revels in the walks and the company.
The final item on my list was transport. Taking your dog to the kennels is just one more thing you don’t want to bother with on the day you’re going away, particularly when there are only certain times you can drop off. So The Paw Seasons has no fixed opening times and, best of all, operates a personalised shuttle service to your home or office on the day and at the time you need.
Home from home living with a door to door service? Doesn’t your next holiday suddenly seem a whole lot better for both you and your dog?
For further information or reservations, please call me on 07813 800353 or