A few years ago I spoken with Alice on Tripadvisor and when her and Mark came to Tenerife on holiday we met for a coffee. At that time, they expressed a wish to live here permanently. It is a common enough statement made by many in holiday mode, but this was not the case with this couple. They went home and did their research. Since then we have kept in touch and discussed the pros and cons of various business ventures. Alice in particular has had some great ideas and when she has re-visited the island has market researched how viable certain opportunities may be.
A few weeks ago Alice wrote to me saying they had been to Poochies Pet Hotel and were seriously considering taking it over. This was a total surprise, as boarding kennels had not appeared on the radar, however this is where I believe fate or I like to use the word kismet stepped in.
They had several properties to sell in the UK and until they sold, felt they could not afford to purchase Poochies although they loved the set up. Over discussions with Pete the owner, they discovered he wanted to return to the UK for medical reasons and to an area that was just a few minutes from where they live in Yorkshire. They came up with an unusual but very workable arrangement and from that point forward, everything has fallen into place. On returning home and totally unexpected, they received an offer on one of their properties and now it is full steam ahead.
They have booked their final flights for the middle of August but have spent the past two weeks at the ‘hotel’ learning the ropes. They are both fully aware of the amount of hard work involved in looking after dogs and have embraced it wholeheartedly. They have spent their ‘holiday’ scooping poop, taking puppies to the vets, meeting clients and integrating into village life.
It is a well-known fact that I am an animal lover but I do try to avoid visiting the animal refuges as I find it upsetting. However, Alice being a friend I could not refuse an invite to look over Poochies and it was, if I am totally honest, with slight anxiety that I went. I have lived on the island a long time but getting to El Rio is like going to the back of beyond. From the TF1 you seem to climb forever, in reality it is only 30 minutes from the main resorts of Las Americas, but when you have not been before the journey seems to take a long time.
When we arrived and parked up we were greeted by Alice carrying the tiniest of pups. There were at least five or six of them that they have taken from one of the rescue centres and they all have homes to go to in Germany. Thank goodness because I was besotted by a tiny bundle of fluff that could easily have slipped into my handbag.
There is loads of space for the dogs to exercise, they are all in lovely condition and happy. We met the original Poochie who the hotel is named after, this is supposedly a guard dog and while large enough to frighten away any intrepid intruder could not, in the heat of the day be bothered to raise her head from where she was sleeping on the sofa. I enjoyed talking to Pete the current owner and found it amusing to see Alice and Mark checking their lists when rounding up at exercise change over time to make sure ‘friends’ were kept together in the various kennels. They have a strict schedule of doggy exercise rotations, first the little chaps, then the slightly older pups, followed by the mature dogs that all get along well and finally the old miseries that don´t like to mix with other dogs. The highlight of the day for me though was having lots of loves from Dodo a huge white Great Dane cross.
Some people may recall that last year I was desperate to see Dodo re-homed. He really is a gentle giant but needs space. He has loads of space at Poochies and is just waiting for the all clear on his blood tests before he flies to the UK and his forever home. I am a bit nervous of big dogs but he is the softest, most gentle dog I have ever known and I fell in love all over again.
Poochies Hotel has an excellent reputation, they work closely with all of the rescue centres and I am sure Alice and Mark will continue to do so. They have lots of ideas and are in discussion with a vet to set up a weekly surgery on site.
I wish them the very best of luck on this adventure because I really believe it was meant to be.