YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Lots to think about! Where to start?
We know there's lots involved when planning a wedding and so much to think about, especially where your treasured pooch is concerned! Within this section we have listed some of the frequently asked questions and answers which we feel just make life that little bit easier.
Where are you based & what areas do you cover?
We are lucky enough to live off the canal in lovely, rural Trentham, Staffordshire.
No areas are off limits, all we ask you to be aware of is the additional travel costs you will incur, which we look to offset.
Main areas currently covered are across the West Midlands, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Cheshire, Shropshire, Leicestershire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire.
What relevant qualifications do you have?
2023 is my seventh year in the pet care industry.
We have an ongoing commitment to Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and will be undertaking a variety of professional education courses each year. In the meantime our current professional qualifications are:
- Pet Industry Federation (PIF) Competency Certificate for Kennels, Dog Day Care and Home Boarding as per the 2018 Animal Activity Licensing (AAL) Regulations
- Pet First Aid Certificate (PDSA)
- PIF Certificate COVID19 - Disease Control for Pet Professionals
- Professional Pet Sitting & Dog Walking Business Qualification NARPS (National Association of Professional Pet Sitters and Dog walkers) includes dog handling/understanding breeds/animal law and legislations
- Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) - Fundamentals of Marketing
- Investors In People (IIP) Accreditation - useful when looking to expand
Other CPD courses completed to date include:
- Working With Dogs - Dr Tom Mitchell BVSc/BSc/MRCVS
- Inside Your Dogs Mind - Victoria Stillwell US Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT)/International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants (IAABC)/ Ambassador for the RSPCA and the Soi Dog Foundation
- Building Your Dogs Resilience - Victoria Stillwell
- Certificate of participation in Canine Body Language Workshop - Dog Training College (DTL)
- Understanding and Managing Your Dogs Behaviour Certificate - Dogs Minds Matter/Adam Dunn Canine Behaviourist & Psychologist
Prior to launching the business I also did six months voluntary work at Animal Lifeline, our local dogs home which helped to gain experience with lots of different breeds and sizes, with different needs and challenges. This was invaluable in developing my skill set and how to communicate better with all types of dogs.
Outside of weddings we provide daily pet care and dog walking services. This way we can continue to build our exisiting skills by having daily hands on experience.
In addition to growing up with dogs/cats we are long term dog owners. Our boys, Barney and Oscar (Golden Retrievers) are 11 and 10yrs young and we have had them since they were nine weeks old.
In my previous role I was head of the Education team at the Agricuture & Horticulture Deveopment Board (AHDB) with a clear remit to help educate all schools/colleges about the Animal Welfare Act 2006: The Five Freedoms, which you can read more about here
Used as the basis in writing animal care protocols and expectations for many professional groups, including veterinarians as noted on the British Veterinary Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association website. The Five Freedoms have been adopted by representative groups internationally including the World Organisation for Animal Health and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Are you insured?
Yes we have full Public Liability Insurance (PLI) up to five million pounds and you will be provided with a copy at the time of booking.
How long does it take to get a quote?
From the initial consultation we aim to have quotes landing in your in-box within 48hrs.
If, for whatever reason we feel this is unachievable, we will confirm that during the consultation.
How often do your prices increase?
We currently only change our prices once a year following our annual review and performance report. The last increase was January 2023.
Our prices are fixed at the point of your booking and we can accept bookings up to a maximum of three years ahead.
If, for whatever reason we would need to do an interim increase, the reason for doing so and by how much we intend to increase, will be made public on this website and social media channels at least 14 days ahead of any changes.
When and how do we pay?
To secure the date, you need to pay a 50% deposit up front and the remaining balance will need to be paid 7 days before your wedding date.
We can currently accept BACS transfer, cash, credit card for the deposit and can set up direct debits for any remaining balances if required.
What large breeds if any, have you handled?
Confident walking any sized breed - The largest to date at a wedding has been Huskies (two at once), Akita's, Dalmations, huge Airdale which could look me in the eye if he stood on his hind legs, I am 5ft 6inches.
During my daily dog walks, the largest breed to date I have walked is Briards. A large shepherding dog with a typical wieght range of between 50 - 100lbs fully grown, and I used to walk two of them together, one fully grown and one younger. I also walk a large German Shepherd/Lab cross, big Labradoodles and medium sized dogs such as Labradores
2023 weddings include gorgeous Bassets, more Dalmations, numberous Golden Retrievers/labs, we have a beautiful big Boxer, more huskies and Akita's and am keeping everything crossed for a Great Dane!
We would look to double/trebble up on staff to take care of dogs should the need arise.
Will you spend time with my dog before the wedding?
Yes. We feel this is essential to our service delivery and helps your dog and us get to know each other to best support them on the day.
The health and welfare of every dog in our care is a key priority for us. Therefore each package has a minimum of 3 familiarisation/bonding sessions built in as standard.
Following the initial meeting and assessment, should you and I feel as though your dog would benefit from additional sessions, these can be added into the package at an additional cost of £15 per hour.
Proposed dates for the sessions will automatically be included in your initial quotes. We will only ask to change the dates if we need to book a wedding or there is an unexpected emergency.
However, we will also work with you to ensure the dates work for all of us.
What if we need to change requirements to our booking?
In our experience there are a number of things that can change leading up to a wedding, especially if you have booked well in advance eg: house move, changes to ceremony timings, you welcome more dogs into your home that you also want included in your wedding day.
This is why we only take a deposit leaving the final balance to be paid nearer the wedding date. This way we can discuss and alter any relevant and realistic requirements that will then be reflected in your final invoice.
We're booking so far in advance, what happens if you can't provide the service?
How long will my dog be taken care of on the wedding day?
This will depend on what your specific reqirements are, along with the package you have chosen.
For example, you may prefer that your dog is collected early due to your wedding preparations ie: hair/makeup so we could be with your dog from 9am or earlier if required.
Or you may want to have your dog with you right up until the meet and greet and would prefer to hand them over to us at the venue. Therefore it would be later in the day and an hour prior to the meet and greet (we always build in time for some exercise and fun).
If you have chosen overnight care, we may be with your dog for 24 hrs+.
We would discuss this during your initial consultation where we can get a better understanding of what you need so we can provide your bespoke service.
Whatever time we agree works best for you, the health and wellbeing of every dog in our care is the priority and for their actual involvement in the wedding we recommend 2 - 2.5hrs maximum.
If you require an early start then we will discuss with you where your dog can be cared for in quiet surroundings.
Please also note that for some dogs, being around lots of hustle and bustle eg:people coming and going, lots of noise,hairdriers etc, can actually aid in building stress; which in turn can make the day a lot more challenging for your beloved pooch.
Can we have our dog there all day & night?
We know that every dog is unique and will respond differently to each situation.
However, a wedding, whilst wonderful, can also be very stimulating and potentially tiring for dogs, therefore we only recommend 2 - 2.5hrs involvement in the actual wedding proceedings.
2 - 2.5hrs is ample time for your dog to be involved in meeting and greeting guests, in the ceremony, mingling during drinks reception and in photos.
Please note also, that most wedding venues will expect the dog to vacate the premisses just prior to the wedding breakfast.
If we are providing a pet sitting service for your dog at the venue we can bring them down to say hello to your evening guests - on the proviso:
- That they have had a few hours rest and sleep following participation in the wedding
- That we feel that in our expert opinion that they would be ok to do so
- That they would only attend for 15-20mins maximum to say hello
- That it is a timely slot which allows us to retire them back to their room for calming and settling down prior to leaving
The health and welfare of each and every dog in our care is the number one priority, therefore if we have any doubts around any of the above points, we would continue to care for your dog away from the evening reception.
Can our dog attend more than one venue?
Yes. For example - Many couples marry in church then move on to their chosen wedding venue for the reception. We take care off ALL logistics to ensure your dog attends both locations, or multiple if that's what you wish.
However, our priority is the health & wellbeing of all dogs in our care. Depending on how well they travel, their temperament, age & general health/ability, will reflect in the length of time involved at multiple locations. After all we want to make sure EVERYONE has a lovely day.
How do you care for my dog during the wedding?
We know that every dog is unique and will respond differently to each situation.
Prior to the day, we will have met and spent quality time with your dog a minimum of 3 times. We also suggest that one of the sessions takes place at the venue as this helps prepare your pooch better as it won't seem a completely strange place for them to be.
During the time allocated for your dog to be a part of your special day there are a number of activities we undertake such as:
- We would be exercising your dog prior to their direct involvement in the wedding. This usually takes place at the venue, however, if there is no sutiable sized area, we will look to make alternative arrnagements in a more suitable environment.
This way we can ensure they expell some of that excited energy, which can help them manage the day much better. Please note this is based on each individual dogs needs, their age, health and ability
- We will keep them entertained during key moments, whether with a fav toy, game or high value treat. And yes, we have a technique that ensures a treat can last a lot longer than usual!
This can also work really well for those pooches that are not used to being on lead for longer periods than usual and helps eliviate potential boredom. Although a wedding is a super happy place for a dog and we've yet to see a bored pooch in our care!
- We constantly monitor their body language to ensure they get regular toilet breaks, water refresh and general time out should they need to just shake it off and be a dog, before escorting them back to the wedding party.
The health and welfare of each and every dog in our care is the number one priority, therefore if we have any doubts around any of the above points, we would continue to care for your dog away from the wedding party.
Can we have more than one dog at the wedding?
Yes. We can cater for more than one dog and we are insured for up to 6 dogs maximum.
Can you help with additional family dogs not attending the wedding?
Yes. In addition to your own 'wedding day' pooch, we can cater for family dogs with pop in/walking services. This is on the proviso that they reside within close proximity to your own dog & will incur additional charges.
We can also provide overnight pet care for your dog & other family dogs providing they are either in your own home, the family members home, & that they get along well together.
What do you require for an overnight stay with our dog?
Just the basics really - Somewhere comfortable and suitable to sleep i.e.; a bed or comfy sofa bed, running water, heating and electricity and that your home is secure 🙂
You don't have to provide food as we bring our own. And if required, we can bring our own bedding too.
We are more than happy for you to use indoor camera's if it makes you feel more comfortable. However, under current GDPR domestic rules, we do request that privacy is provided in relevant areas of the house i.e. bathroom and bedroom and that all recordings are destroyed immediately following the overnight stay.
Whilst we do go through all details with you during the familiarisations sessions leading up to the big day - You do need to leave out the current up to date Vet card, your dogs Chip number, an alternative emergency number and any other clear instructions we may have not covered off in meetings.
We want a more Eco-friendly wedding, what can you offer?
A key aim for our business is to become a more sustainable and eco-friendly organisation and has been included in our strategy from day one.
We were also the first Wedding Chaperone/Pet Care business to pledge and sign up to the Gvt #RaceToNetZero campaign in Sept 2021. We, along with other small businesses are committed to reducing our carbon footprint and helping to reach the Gvt targets as of 2030.
We became a fully paperless business in June 2021 and launched our Giving Back campaign which you can read more about here.
Since launching in 2017 we have continued to work with like minded companies to source 100% natural, sustainably produced dog treats and toys. All our current range of toys is 100% recycled and biodegradeable.
The cleaning products used to disinfect our pet taxi/leads etc are also 100% natural, pet friendly, vegan and cruelty free.
Even the display units we use at the artisan markets we attend, are either made out of cardboard, rattan or natural, unstained wood.
All our poop bags used and sold are degradable to a maximum of 12 months to completely disappear and we even have fully compostable bags that disintegrate within 4 months!
We have replaced light fittings/bulbs throughout the home (office) to LED, installed water butt and power down every eveing and where required, throughout the day.
We are currently focused on identifying our current carbon footprint so we can move forward to work more smartly and reduce this down.