An animal loving entrepreneur is set to launch a day care service for dogs which has been two years in the planning.
Leonie Jamieson will open the doors to Galashiels Doggy Day Care at Farknowes in Langshaw Road on Monday, August 5, after Scottish Borders Council granted planning permission for the centre on appeal in March.
The 27-year-old believes there is a gap in the market for such a service in the central Borders, with the purpose-built facility able to cater for up to 20 dogs.
“We had some issues getting the council to agree, but it’s finished now and I’m so pleased with it.” Leonie said.
“It has been specially designed and built as a doggy day care. The dogs will have room to play, run, sleep and socialise at the centre.”
Paddling pools, a ball pit and a dog-friendly bacon-bubble machine are among the entertainment on offer at the centre, which also has its own enclosed paddock for outdoor play.
“There’s three different sections, one for older dogs, one for younger dogs, and a place with dog beds, sofas and chairs for them to quietly relax and snooze indoors, making them feel more at home,” Leonie explained.
“It’s like a home from home, which is the environment I wanted to create.”
The business is offering full and half-day care, as well as puppy socialisation.
“We will have a dedicated puppy nursery, a ‘tiny town’ for smaller dogs, and weekly engagement activities for socialisation and stimulation,” Leonie said.
The centre, which will initially employ three members of staff, all of whom will be trained in canine first aid, also has CCTV cameras in each area so dog and puppy parents can log-in online via mobile devices or computers and view their dog in real-time throughout the day.
A lifetime dog owner and lover, Leonie has run Galashiels Dog Walking Service for the last three years, and says the day care facility is a natural extension.
“When I left school I went and got a degree and I had ‘normal’ job, then I went out and did some animal conservation work in South Africa and I knew then that I had to work with animals,” she told us.
“When I came home I sold my car, bought a van and set up my own dog walking company.
“I have been running Galashiels Dog Walking Service for the last three years and I have seen that there’s a gap in the market for something like this.
“It’s really aimed at people who live in the Borders and maybe work in Edinburgh.
“There isn’t a day care facility in Galashiels at the moment and sometimes a lunchtime walk is the only time the dogs see someone in 12 hours.”
Planning officers at Scottish Borders Council initially refused Leonie’s application to build the facility in Langshaw Road, citing an “adverse impact on the rural character of the surrounding area”.
But the local review body overturned that decision at appeal in March after visiting the site and noting its proximity to a new housing development and the council’s recycling centre.
“It’s taken two years to get permission from the council, but it’s finally finished now and I can’t wait to open,” Leonie added.
There will be an open day at the centre this Saturday, August 3, with a few remaining time slots available for prospective users to meet staff and have a look round the facility.
To book a slot, or for more information, go to Galashiels Doggy Day Care on Facebook.