It has been almost two years since we opened our kennels and cattery to the public and pets of West Yorkshire and surrounding areas. Read on to find out more about the progress of the service so far…
Situated in Tingley, Campus Vets and Pets sits conveniently just off of junction 28 of the M62, making it is easily commutable from nearby towns and just a 20 minute drive from Leeds.
Owned by The College of Animal Welfare group, we are in a unique position as a training provider to pass cost savings onto our customers, whilst still maintaining an excellent level of care and service at all times and keeping pet wellbeing at the heart of everything we do. The College were delighted to purchase the bespoke facilities in 2015 and has since strived to create a unique animal welfare and training hub that combines modern, high quality pet care facilities along with training and job opportunities to the local community.
The kennels and cattery first underwent an inspection by Leeds local authority and gained approval to run in February 2018, going on to officially open its doors to clients in June that year. Initially, in order to raise awareness of the facility locally and build the reputation and client base required to run a successful service, we offered a 20% discount on all boarding fees for those booking their pets in for their first visit, with further opportunities for a free dog groom if they recommended the service to a friend. With local advertising, social media campaigns and the excellent work of the boarding team, the word quickly spread, bringing us to today where the service has regularly seen full capacity over the summer months, with demand showing little sign of slowing.
The launch of the boarding facilities means we welcomed a team of four caring and dedicated kennel and cattery members, who boast extensive professional qualifications and experience. Together they ensure the service runs to industry standards and that pets are cared for with skill and empathy. Team leader, Danielle Barker, joined the company in October 2018 and here explains more about how the service operates on day-to-day:
“We strive to provide high level personalised care for every pet that stays with us; knowing their routines, habits, quirks, likes and dislikes to make sure their stay with us is as relaxed as possible, allowing us to provide the very best of care for each individual. On arrival, each pet receives a health check and we complete all the necessary paperwork to ensure we have all the important information during their stay. We want our service to be as accessible as possible to our clients, so we have drop off and collection appointments as early as 8.30am each morning and up to 5.30pm each evening.”
Pricing varies depending on breed and currently ranges between £19-30 per night for dogs and £12 per night for cats, with discounts available on multiple occupancy of kennels for pets from the same family. We face competition from other boarding facilities across the region; however, the college’s reputation as an established animal care training provider helps the service to stand out, and our team emphasises the quality, personalised care each pet receives. Generally dogs receive two exercise activities each day however exercise plans and interaction are personalised to meet the individual needs of each dog. Cats receive individual care and attention with lots of cuddles and fuss if they enjoy it. In addition, all pets have plenty of opportunity to interact with the team, which is made possible due to the low ratio of pets each team member is allocated to care for each day.
The modern, UPVC purpose-built kennels are fully insured with each kennel boasting a centrally heated sleeping area. The units have full height double glazed fronts both allowing light in and mental stimulation, with an internal door leading to a fully ventilated day area. There is an onsite fully enclosed exercise area where dogs can enjoy off-lead time always under the supervision of a member of the team, playing and interacting with them. In addition, dogs have the opportunity to explore the site on-lead around a secure nature trail. Located away from the dogs, the cat pens are fully heated and insulated with each cat having their own cosy sleeping compartment, with raised areas, bed, litter tray and a secure day area. Danielle says: “It was important to us that the facilities were designed with comfort in mind. The cat pens and kennels are spacious, easily cleaned and offer plenty of space to roam and stretch out.”
Safety is a priority for us, with additional measures taken to ensure security including lock down procedures, alarms and CCTV security in place 24/7. The health of the pets is of prime importance with evidence of current vaccination status or titre testing being required for every pet boarding, including evidence of kennel cough vaccination at least two weeks before boarding. We also recommend that all animals are up-to-date with their flea treatment and are wormed prior to boarding, as no pets suffering from any contagious or infectious disease will be accepted.
Clients are welcome to visit us without appointment prior to making a booking in order to view the facilities, meet the team and ask any questions they may have. Word-of-mouth and social media has played a key role in raising awareness of the service and the team is always grateful to receive reviews on its social media pages. One new customer, Rachael, said: “I booked my cat into the cattery for 12 days and he came out so happy! He was clearly looked after very well and I wouldn’t hesitate to leave him again and recommend to others!”
In addition to the kennel and cattery boarding facility, the centre plays host to a dog grooming salon, veterinary practice, dog-training classes, a physiotherapy and hydrotherapy business and a training and education centre. This allows us to offer additional benefits to our boarding customers. Where availability allows, dogs can enjoy a pamper in the state-of-the-art dog grooming facilities as part of their stay.
Not only this, but demand has allowed us to host our very first traineeship programme, a scheme that supports our ethos for raising standards of animal welfare and providing opportunities for learning. The programme has been running since July and has offered local young people an opportunity to gain the skills and experience needed to begin a career in animal care. Throughout the 12 week programme students gained valuable experience by supporting the boarding team in the kennels and cattery, as well as receiving classroom tuition to assist them towards a recognised animal care qualification and boost employability skills including CV writing and interview techniques. One of the trainees has subsequently been employed as a full time member of staff.
Danielle explains: “Job opportunities in animal care are hugely competitive, so it can be very difficult to break into the industry without recognised training and employment experience. We want the traineeship programme to offer people the skills and experience required to stand out when applying for jobs and apprenticeships, so we’re delighted we’ve been in the position to hire someone from the scheme.”
“Training has never been so important and accessible; through recognised training and experience, we can increase the recognition of the vital work that kennel and cattery workers do on a daily basis to members of the public and drive the profession forward.”
Speaking about the future, Danielle is excited about what it may hold for the service. “We’re very proud of what we’ve achieved over the past 18 months and I am confident that we will continue to grow as awareness of what we have to offer increases. We know that choosing boarding accommodation for pets is an important decision for clients. We hope to make that decision easier by providing high quality bespoke care at affordable prices.”
If this year acts as a benchmark for future success, then we can only expect good things to come from our boarding facility. We would like to thank all our clients who have supported us so far in making our boarding service such a success. In light of government guidance with regards to COVID-19 we are temporarily suspending business, however we look forward to welcoming resuming our service and welcoming your pets back to stay as soon as it is safe to do so. We value the health of you and your pets; stay safe and we hope to see you soon.
Campus Vets and Pets is a new pet care centre in Tingley, owned by The College of Animal Welfare. Campus Vets and Pets hosts a range of pet care services including a state-of the art dog grooming centre, veterinary practice, boarding kennels and cattery, animal physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and dog training classes. For more information about Campus Vets and Pets please visit www.campusvetsandpets.co.uk