Sociable, caring companions

Sociable, caring companions

One of VIPPIES specialist clients is Kay Frost, her family of humans and Aerismadin Gun Dogs. Kay is a breeder of these delightful Labrador Retrievers and so when she and husband Brian need a holiday or a bit of extra help that their family of five adult children and six grandchildren cannot provide, VIPPIES step in to provide a premium exclusive service.

At the moment Kay has four dogs living with her – a four year old Golden Retriever called Clover (a birthday present from her family), five month old Poppy (a black lab), Poppy’s Mum Elsa (a yellow coated lab) who is four and a half years old and then the very special lady Milly who is the Granny at nine years old. Milly’s story is pretty special as she saved Kay’s life in 2011…

“We were on holiday in Dorset and there had been a terrific amount of rain but that didn’t stop us from walking and keeping up with the recall and whistle training. Unfortunately I lost my footing and slid down a wooded bank into the water at the bottom, my leg was bent back on itself but the adrenalin rush meant I could at least pop my knee back into place. Brian couldn’t get to me because the bank was so slippery and we were really scared. Seven month old Milly was not phased one bit, she came to me and I thought she needed help so I put her slip lead over her head. Next thing I know this young dog started to pull on the lead and drag me up the bank and out of the water, she then ran her lead round a tree to secure me and lay down to wait. I must have hurt her so much as the slip lead would have been choking her with my extra weight.”

Kay was off work for quite a while and has been left with mobility issues. While Kay was stuck in bed Milly trained herself to be an assistance dog taking care of as much as she could. As a result of the accident Brian, still working fulltime, has taken over the bulk of the dog walking as Kay can’t go far, although she can play lots of games and take part in ball throwing activities. As she observed, “Dogs need more than just walks”.

For the last few years the family has taken the odd dog-free holiday. Because there are four dogs plus her son’s dog VIPPIES step in and provide an exclusive house sitting service, usually from Jake, who moves in to the house and looks after the dogs.  Kay provides detailed instructions about what she does on a day to day basis with the dogs including where the sun can get too hot for them, where the shade is, as well as the usual feeding and sleeping routines. This gives such peace of mind as the dogs are looked after to Kay’s high standards and it gives dogs and humans a change. Jake has got to know the dogs really well so when the next accident befell them – this time Brian had a foot injury that meant he couldn’t walk or work for a while, it was not a problem to get the dogs exercised. Within 24 hours a plan was worked out to fit in extra walks to Jake’s schedule of regular dog walks.

Dog breeding is a big job and Kay admits she couldn’t manage without the support of her family and VIPPIES, “Everyone has a job to do and we have a spreadsheet to make sure it is all covered, the only thing that they can’t help with is when the pups are born, that is my job. However, I know that if I had a problem at all VIPPIES would be able to step in to the rescue. The girls are so vulnerable when their pups are being born but both Jade and Jake have experience and I have faith in them both.” Praise indeed, Kay knows she could find herself back into hospital at any time so she regards VIPPIES as a life line for her dogs.

But back to the special one, Milly. Canine Partners heard the story of the dramatic rescue and her natural abilities. They contacted Kay to ask if they could assess Milly’s next litter with a  view to buying a puppy for their training programme. When the time came four of the pups passed the assessment so they bought one and Kay, understanding how valuable the help is, donated a second. She has since provided another two puppies on a ‘buy one get one free’ basis.

Kay’s home is spotless, and whilst the dogs are her focus she makes sure they are trained to respect the house. There is a special Annexe with hospital flooring for them to have time out or for when the breeding requires a bit more privacy. The youngster Poppy is crate trained and is developing impeccable manners already, sitting quietly before being fussed – then she gets a bit bouncy and is delightfully affectionate! It is all part of a plan so that Kay is sure she is handing over a puppy with the potential to give years of pleasure to its new family – people who have been through a rigorous vetting process before they are allowed to take on one of her babies.

Talking to Kay about dogs gives a lot of insight and the team at VIPPIES have learned a lot from her – as she has from them. One of the interesting parts of our conversation was around socialisation. Most dog owners understand the value of puppy socialisation but can forget that older dogs, especially in a single animal household, can also benefit. Kay firmly believes that a dog showing signs of separation anxiety can be helped enormously by a stay with the team at VIPPIES HQ. Also dogs who can’t walk for miles can benefit from the company of other dogs for a gentle play. Her advice to owners of single dogs is “Walk with friends and their dogs, they get so much from having that bit of extra company now and again, it can help with them being over protective of their owners or showing anxiety around other dogs.”

There is no doubt that Kay values Team VIPPIES, and especially Jake, not just for the planned help but for the emergency responses, “We share a genuine love of animals that goes above and beyond our businesses.”