Britain’s first indoor dog-walking park has set tails wagging in our wettest city.
More than 600 dog-lovers have joined the indoor centre to take their pampered pets for dry walks away from the wet and windy weather in Cardiff.
The former steel warehouse has been turned into 20,000sq ft park in the Welsh capital where pet lovers pay £4.50 a session to walk their dogs away from the rain.
Pet owners in Cardiff are used to getting drenched with the city topping a list of average rainfall by the Met Office – coming in with 115 cms a year – ahead of Glasgow and Preston.
And dog-lover Shelley Redding decided to follow an American idea of the indoor walkies with her Action Petz park in the large warehouse.
Shelley, 37, said: “It has been very popular because it is dry and safe in here for people and their pets.
“It does rain a lot unfortunately and it gets dark very early in the evenings at this time of year – so people are really enjoying bringing in their pets.”
Former dietician Shelley opened her indoor dog park three months ago with hundreds already paying the £30 a month or £4.50-a-time sessions.
It includes toys, jumps, tunnels, sleep areas and a fly-ball play zone – and has artificial grass, park benches, plants and trees to create a natural environment for dogs to run and play.
Shelley believes her indoor park at Tremorfa is the first in Britain. She invested £35,000 in it.
She said: “This is the first centre of its kind.
“Our aim is to ensure that dogs have the time of their lives. We have structured play sessions which mean that dogs are blissfully happy and tired out from their day of play.
“We absolutely promise that you won’t get rained on in our park and, as for mud, well there isn’t any”
It has an outside zone for any dogs to cock their legs – and it’s kept super-clean if there any accidents.
Dog-owner Penny Thomas, 26, said: “I’ve brought my little Pug here and she loves it. I love staying dry out of the rain too.
“She gets so wet and muddy this time of the year that it is great for her to stay clean.
“Yes there are times when you want to get loads of fresh air and run around – but when you have to do walkies every day, sometimes you just want a bit of comfort!”
Fellow dog owner Peter Simonski, 42, takes his labradoodle for an hour twice a week.
He said: “Sometimes you have to grit your teeth to take your dog out in the driving rain. But here it is with a smile on your face.
“I don’t known how often I will be here in the summer but in the winter it is a perfect place for our family – and that includes our dog.”
Words and pictures: Wales News Service