13 Nov | Posted by Sian Smith | no comments |
Pembrokeshire based, family run business – Millin Brook Luxury Dog Boarding – win best Rural Start Up Business at the Wales and Northern Ireland Rural Business Awards and are heading to the National Awards in Manchester in February 2020. They are proud to be the only dog related business in the final.
A police officer of 20 years, owner Sian Smith and her family re-located to Pembrokeshire from Cardiff two years ago.
“Giving up my career as a Mounted Police Officer, leaving family and friends and moving to Haverfordwest where we didn’t know anyone, was a difficult decision for us, but we took a leap of faith and followed our dreams”.
For 13 years, Sian had an exciting job working with the South Wales Police horses, where some of her highlights included working the Wales Rugby Grand Slam (2005), FA Cup Final (2006), the Rugby Cup Quarter Finals (2007 & 2015), Cardiff City Football Club promotion to the Premier League (2013), NATO (2014), Wales’ Football Team celebrations of the Euro Semi-Finals (2016), Champions League Final (2017), the weekly Cardiff City and Swansea City Football matches and of course not forgetting the Wales Rugby Autumn Internationals and Six Nations, where she proudly escorted the Welsh Team Coach and their opponents coach in to the Principality Stadium.
The husband and wife team who transferred police forces in order to move, worked opposite shifts to cover childcare. Although like passing ships, this worked to their advantage when they started up their family business offering luxury holidays for dogs 18 months ago.
Their children, Ben (9) and Jacob (7) said; “We love living in Pembrokeshire and the best thing is that we get to play with different dogs everyday and give them lots of cwtches”.
Guests become part of the family whilst they are on holiday and have fun on their 10 acre small holding and regularly enjoy trips to some of the best beaches in the country. Evenings are spent relaxing by the log burner and having cwtches on the sofa with the family, whilst nights are spent sleeping soundly, dreaming of the next days adventures. Sian who also has a love of photography, even takes photos of her guests whilst out exploring the picturesque county and sends a post card to the dogs owners for when they return from their holiday.
Testimonial from Ruby & Frankie’s owner:
“I collected my two dogs from Millin Brook today. They have both had the most fabulous holiday! From running in the fields to walking in the woods, cuddles on the sofa and watching tv. Frankie loved the splashing in the water and Ruby the blackberry picking! Sian and family couldn’t have cared for them with more love and fun. I love the postcard which was waiting at home when I arrived back from my holiday, beautiful picture of my two girls. All Frankie and Ruby want to know is when is their next holiday!!!”
Sian has now retired from the police and is expanding the business and says;
“We have been overwhelmed with the demand for the service we provide. When deciding to expand we wanted to provide the next best thing to home boarding and somewhere that we would be happy to leave our dog and are now building our dream – Country Retreat for Dogs”.
The 5* glass fronted building will offer all the luxuries you would expect to see in a top boutique hotel. Each suite is named after a Pembrokeshire beach and guests will have their own automatic water drinker, beautiful hand made beds and luxury towel coats. Sian is also working with local Welsh companies to provide doggy treats and spa treatments using the finest natural ingredients. Throughout the day, guest will be entertained in the “Cwtch” – a log cabin (within a secure large garden) that will have sofas, tv and a log burner. Guests will enjoy walks around the family’s meadows and have trips to the beaches and forestry.
“We like to think of it as dogs having a holiday of their own whilst their owners are away”.
Husband Dave said; “Having had no experience of running a business, I am so proud of what Sian has achieved in such a short space of time and to be recognised for that is truly amazing. We have had so much support for what we do and are very excited for the future”.