Gallery: Barking mad dog creche in Martlesham celebrates first anniversary

Suki lounges on the doggy couch at Suffolk Canine Creche in Martlesham.

Suki lounges on the doggy couch at Suffolk Canine Creche in Martlesham. - Credit: Archant

PLAY rooms, wendy houses and paddling pools.

It may sound like an ordinary creche but there is nothing conventional about this unique doggy day care service.

Suffolk Canine Creche is celebrating a year of successful business after opening its doors on January 9, 2012, providing a home-away-from-home for people’s beloved pooches while they’re at work.

The creche, based in Gloster Road, Martlesham, was started by Candy Rose, 43 and her husband Nathan, 35.

The couple have six dalmatians of their own – Flora, Frankie, Vegas, Elsa, Forest and Flag – and Mrs Rose, a former HR director, was “never satisfied” with the level of care her dogs received when she was at work.

“It was fine, but I always felt there had to be more,” she said. “A friend in Florida used a day care for her dalmatians and I couldn’t believe what they had.”

After a paws for thought, Mrs Rose decided a career change was in order.

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“I had this business plan bubbling away,” she said. “It took me four months to get up and running.”

The creche caters for 40 dogs every day, caring for around 150 different dogs each week.

With two main playrooms, a puppy playroom and an oldies lounge, as well as a secure outside area with paddling pools for pups getting hot under the collar on summer days, the creche totals 5,000sq ft of space.

The playrooms have toys including ball pits, wendy houses, climbing frames and bubble machines – and lots of comfortable places for a quick dog nap.

“It’s very much like a children’s creche,” Mrs Rose said. “Everybody thinks it’s fabulous, but it is kind of crazy. It is the best place in the world to work.

“The dogs are allowed to be free in a safe environment, but it’s very heavily supervised. It’s great for integration and socialisation for puppies and when dogs come here they really do build friendships.”

Creating such a friendly environment isn’t easy and not every dog makes the cut.

“Every dog has to pass a temperament test to come here,” Mrs Rose said. “They need to be of the right temperament – if not it’d be like putting a bully in a school playground.

“We register about five new dogs a week and I fail two or three of those, so I am very choosy, but you need to be for it to work.”

As well as the every day fun and games, the staff also throw birthday parties and celebrate special occasions.

The creche held its own torch relay and Olympic games, at Howl-o-ween the dogs bobbed for apples and at their Christmas party they dressed up as angels and wise men.

“There’s not many weeks when we don’t have a party here,” Mrs Rose added.

The creche now has five staff and two animal studies students from Otley College and Mrs Rose is delighted with the business’s success.

“You open a luxury service in a recession and you just don’t know,” she said. “I’m thrilled with the support, it shows we’re doing something right. Obviously it could have failed shockingly – it was a huge risk but you don’t get anything unless you try.”

For more information, visit www.suffolkcaninecreche.co.uk or call 01473 636151.

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