The Doggy Lodge Day Care Centre & Hotel, Braintree
It’s impossible not to be charmed by The Doggy Lodge, they seem so passionate about the dogs in their care. The facilities are incredible, and unless you own a massive house set in acres of land, it’s hard not to be wowed by the actual ‘Lodge’ itself. It’s got such a nice feeling to it too – it’s like going to someone’s house, rather than a traditional kennel.
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Something we researched before getting Duggee was somewhere that could take him for the odd day or two, or for an extended period when we go on holiday. There is no shortage of Day Care, Kennels, and Boarding options around us. We live in a rural location, and there are plenty of Kennels nearby. A lot of them have good reviews, and look okay. The thing is – Duggeee has quickly become very much part of the family, and ‘okay’ just doesn’t really cut it.
Somewhere we came across was The Doggy Lodge Day Care Centre & Hotel, Braintree – it’s got a lovely website, probably the best I’ve seen. First impressions count, and stumbling across them from Google you can see that this looks like a professional operation.
Visiting The Doggy Lodge
Before any dog is allowed to spend any time at The Doggy Lodge, you have to visit with your pup first. This gives you the opportunity to check out the facilities first hand, and for them to assess your dog. The Doggy Lodge is located just off the A120 / Coggeshall Road on the outskirts of Braintree. It’s right by the Cherry Tree Garden Centre, and you follow a little lane to reach it.
As you approach, you can see the Doggy Lodge – it’s a stand-alone house, surrounded by masses of fields. We saw a handful of dogs in the fields with a member of staff watching over them. The land is surrounded by high steel fencing that marks the perimeter. There’s no chance of even the most strong willed dog escaping. When we pulled up to the front we were met and led inside by Paul. We had to be in, and the door locked behind us before we could enter the house properly. Inside were a selection of dogs, large and small that greeted us and Duggee.
We had James with us, and Paul explained to him some tips on how to behave if one of the dogs tried jumping up at him. Paul was very focused on Duggee and how he was behaving, as he explained to us how they operate, he was watching all the dogs around us like a hawk. When he felt Duggee was relaxed enough, he took us outside to see the rest of the property.
He moved some of the more boisterous dogs away so Duggee would relax. Generally if I went somewhere for a look around, and they weren’t 100% concentrated on me, I’d feel a bit disgruntled. In this instance, I really didn’t mind – Paul was most concerned with the behaviour of the dogs in his care. This is the kind of person I want caring for my dog, without question.
What do The Doggy Lodge offer?
The Doggy Lodge offer three main services – Daycare, Home Boarding, and Grooming.
Daycare is available in either Morning Session (7.30am-1pm) or Full Day (7.30am-6.30pm) – it’s £13 and £22 respectively. The dogs get the run of the 2 acres of land, with some activities led by the staff.
The Home Boarding is an extension of the Daycare, whereby the dogs get the Daycare facilities, and then, in the evening they sleep inside the house. This is charged at £25 per day/night. The dogs aren’t put in kennels outside, or looked after by strangers. The people who have cared for them in the day, look after them overnight too. They can sit with the staff in the evening watching the TV, and then go to sleep in their bed / crate. The team stay there with them too. It’s a a proper home from home experience. I think us leaving Duggee overnight will be a bit hard for him, however if he’s staying with people he’s used to, in a homely environment, it will make it easier.
I can’t really tell you much about the Grooming services, we met Chloe the Groomer during our visit, and she was very nice. We’re using a company just around the corner from us for Duggee for the time being though.
Duggee’s first day at The Doggy Lodge
We’re getting Duggee used to spending time at The Doggy Lodge, so building up his experience there. This week, we took him for his first half day session. We’re planning on taking him for a few days, building up to an overnight stay, in readiness for a longer stretch when we’re away at Bluestone. Booking into the Doggy Lodge is super easy, it’s all done online. After a fairly lengthy registration, you can see what slots are available and book it. You can’t book the Home Boarding online.
Duggee was a little confused that, instead of seeing Vicki off to work, and staying with me – he actually went out with her. She took him to The Doggy Lodge Day Care Centre & Hotel, Braintree and dropped him off with Paul. It was VERY strange not having him at home. I didn’t have to take him into the garden, I didn’t have to play with him, the house felt empty.
I winced every time my mobile rang, worried it would be The Doggy Lodge, calling to say Duggee really wasn’t settled and that I needed to collect him. I didn’t get the call, instead, I went and collected him. Paul handed him over and told me he’d had a very good first day. He’d been a little wary and stayed in the house for the first 20 minutes or so, and then decided to join some of the other dogs in the field. He’d joined in and befriended some of the dogs as well. I was over the moon.
As planned, he’s booked in for two sessions next week, with a view to having him stay there overnight the week after. I don’t imagine that plan will change. I think testament to how much fun he had was how tired he was on the way home. Plus, the following morning he was desperate to go out with Vicki – assuming if he did, he’d be off to The Doggy Lodge again!
It’s impossible not to be charmed by The Doggy Lodge, they seem so passionate about the dogs in their care. The facilities are incredible, and unless you own a massive house set in acres of land, it’s hard not to be wowed by the actual ‘Lodge’ itself. It’s got such a nice feeling to it too – it’s like going to someone’s house, rather than a traditional kennel. It’s excellent value for money too, the standard prices are reasonable – but you can purchase 5 ‘Full Day’ passes for £100 (making it £20 per day), or 10 ‘Full Day’ passes for £180 (making it £18 per day). I honestly couldn’t wish for somewhere better for our little Pup.
If you’re a dog owner in or near Braintree (or even a little further outside), I really think you should check out The Doggy Lodge Day Care Centre, it really is wonderful.
You can check them out on Facebook too.
Images of The Doggy Lodge Day Care Centre are from their website.