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Stockhouse Farm, Stockhouse Rd, Layer Marney, Colchester CO5 9UQ, UK – 01621 813189
Toby in the picture goes to daycare here weekly ( 1-3 visits a week) and stays for boarding while I'm away. We've been using them for over 2 years now and the service and care is great. For daycare they pick Toby up in the morning along with his food and they drop him back in the afternoon. As he's been going since he was a puppy they were great as Toby developed. For boarding, I book ahead with deposit and details for collection (I usually pick Toby up). Toby stays for weekends or a period of up to 7 days. The team is great and they always communicate any challenges or clarify details if its not clear ahead of time. I usually struggle to pull Toby away and having visited the site several times (really important) couldn't be happier with the room Toby stays in for boarding and where he plays with other dogs whilst at daycare.
Please be aware that this review is very detailed and quite long! We were leaving our chug, Zeus, for 9 days and booked about 2 months in advance. As we do not drive, we booked drop-off and pick-up with them (great price at only a tenner). We did not see the kennels in person, but there were plenty of pictures on Facebook. The kennels looked very nice - well worth paying more for in my opinion. When we booked we were told to pay a deposit, which was fine, but were also told that the rest would not need to be paid until drop-off. 2 days before pick-up I was called and asked to pay the remaining amount - which I was not expecting. Although I did have the funds, I just felt that there was some crucial miscommunication there. On the day of pick-up the van arrived half hour early, we gave over the dog with his paperwork and toys etc. Although he was sad to go, we were very pleased to hear that he was much loved on his arrival. We got to see some great pictures on Facebook the next day of him running around with other dogs and seemed very happy. Over the course of the next few days we saw many picture of Zeus having a great time. He was even taken on an extra little walk one day (which would ordinarily cost more, but they did it for free). On the day of drop-off I confused myself and thought he might be dropped off at 10:30am. When it got to 10:45am I decided to double check and realised it was due to be at 10am. I then wondered why I had not been contacted and where exactly Zeus was. I tried to call the kennels over 50 times, but the phone line kept saying busy. I had no idea where Zeus was, if he was okay or if he was even on his way - as we don’t drive we were unable to drive down there and see what was going on. After over half hour later, I finally got through to the kennels. The girl who answered the phone seemed confused and had no idea he was meant to be going home. I was understandably angry and may have been a little hot headed. I was passed to the Manager, who apologised and said he would get him to us immediately and were happy to refund the pick-up/drop-off fee in response. Zeus came back with 95% of his belongings - 1 toy football was missing. The cushion he left with also came back smelling strongly of urine - Zeus never pees on anything at home, especially bedding - not Mutley’s fault but perhaps should have been something monitored. When Zeus came home the Manager did apologise again, gave me back the tenner and explained that the pick-up had been written down, but the drop-off had not. It was an oversight on behalf of one of the girls who works there. Although I was angry at the time, the care they gave Zeus was exceptional - it even seemed as if he had been given a wash before returning! Since being home he has been knackered from all the fun he’s had - he’s also far less timid when it comes to other dogs, which is something we’re very grateful for. He has, however also picked up one behaviour from kennels… barking. He never really barked before, but since coming home he now howls whenever we leave. I’m hoping over time this will settle - must have picked this up from other dogs. He has also come back with patches of fur missing under his armpits and around his groin - I am concerned that this wasn’t picked up and I haven’t been consulted by anyone. I do imagine this might be due to stress, his harness rubbing on him too much or simple hayfever. Although Mutley’s are not necessarily to blame over this, I am surprised it was not picked up or seen to. In conclusion I believe that the kennels and staff were great - they just need better communication between themselves and owners. There should be a separate emergency number to call when the main phone is busy - for owners like me who have dogs boarded. The paperwork should outline how much you’re paying, how much you have paid and when payments are due - to avoid confusion. Kennel behaviours - like peeing and barking - should be more closely monitored.
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