Bona-Fido Dog Walking News

IT’S OFFICIAL: Bona-Fido are the Top Dogs!

Seven years ago we set out on our mission to create the best dog walking company in the UK. Today that mission has become a reality. Last Saturday at London’s biggest dog event, the Eukanuba “Discover Dogs” show held at the ExCel in London, Bona-Fido was crowned the UK’s Best Dog Walking Company.

 

We were presented with our prize during the annual “Dog Friendly Awards” which are held in conjunction with the Kennel Club and based entirely on public nominations. Finalists are selected from over 40,000 dog related businesses and winners in each of the categories are decided by public vote.

 

We are obviously delighted with this noteworthy achievement which marks growing recognition of our determined efforts not only to create a heightened public awareness of the importance of animal welfare but also to raise the provision of dog walking and pet care services to a professional level.

Where did our journey begin?

After failing to find adequate care for our own dog, we were drawn to the conclusion that dog walking was being serviced for the most part by cash needy mums in a rush between school runs, a few unemployed individuals looking to top up their benefits and teenagers with eyes permanently glued to their smart-phones. Our reluctant pooches were being paw pounded round the pavements in a tangle of leads, ipods and earphones. Out of proper control, no formal training, no qualifications, no continuity, no insurance, no pleasure for the dogs and above all no safety!

 

Our best friends were at risk and we felt they deserved better, so we resolved to change things. We spent over two years meticulously researching, studying, training and qualifying in areas such as canine psychology and behaviour, dog aggression, canine nutrition, first aid and canine CPR. We underwent criminal record bureau checks, learned about dog laws, applied for membership of the best professional pet care bodies and ultimately attained all the necessary licences and insurances.

How far have we come?

Bona-Fido launched in September 2012, and immediately set the de-facto standard for professional dog walking by measurably raising the benchmark for customer expectations and satisfaction.

 

We believe that for dogs, there’s nothing like free running, and that they should be able to boundlessly and unlimitedly release their physical and emotional energies in an environment that can contribute to their correct social and psychological development.

 

In order to provide this we now operate from a private rural 6 acre facility which affords a clean, safe and secure environment for the welfare of our canine charges. Additionally we have access to a network of private walks across over seven hundred acres of some of Warwickshire’s finest countryside providing the Bona-Fido dogs with a greatly enriched experience.

 

Additionally, our unique brand image, innovative and fun approach and commitment to customer satisfaction has gained us an enviable reputation because today Bona-Fido is without question the most reputable, successful and most imitated pet-care service provider in Warwickshire.

What’s next?

Unfortunately, it seems that some people still see dog walking as a flexible means of earning a bit of extra cash but as we’ve managed to show, it actually requires more than just a sturdy pair of shoes and handing out a few leaflets.

 

So our next mission is to work towards the regulation of our industry by working in conjunction with local authorities and professional industry bodies to eliminate the unscrupulous, unlicensed and uninsured amateurs that bring our industry into disrepute.

 

Looking after people’s pets carries a very high level of responsibility and dog walking is becoming an increasingly common service due to the changing habits of the general population. Thankfully, it is now becoming recognised as a professional industry but we’ve still got a long way to go to ensure the safety and welfare of our canine friends.

 

The great news is that new laws and regulations are just around the corner and the Pet Industry Federation and the RSPCA have just announced details of a new code of practice for professional dog walkers, which has been developed in collaboration with the Dogs Trust and the RSPCA.

 

The code aims to provide guidelines that professional dog walkers should conform to, ensuring the highest standards of welfare for dogs, as well as peace of mind for the owner and respect to the environment.

 

The comprehensive ten-page code of practice is designed to provide dog walkers with guidance that will help them comply with the Animal Welfare Act 2006. It covers issues such as the health and welfare of dogs, and in particular, understanding each individual dog’s needs, transport, exercise and group walking.

 

The code also covers the professional conduct of dog walkers, with regard to their impact on other animals and the environment, as well as the various pieces of legislation that they need to consider in order to comply with the law and qualifications they might like to consider undertaking.

 

The code of practice will be published soon and its use will be promoted to dog walking businesses, local authorities, DEFRA, welfare groups and the pet owning public.

Bona-Fido has come a long way in our seven year journey and we’d like to think that in some small way we’ve not only contributed to the public’s heightened awareness of animal welfare, but also helped elevate the standard of pet care services to a professional level that caring owners can both expect and enjoy.

 

We’d also like to thank all our valued customers for their continued trust and support throughout the years and thank you all for your kind wishes and the many cards we received following our award.

 

Thank you everyone, we couldn’t have done it without you. Here’s to the next seven years!

Dog Friendly Awards

In order to recognise, celebrate and reward those businesses and places that go that extra mile for dogs and their owners, DogFriendly will once again be hosting the annual 'Dog Friendly Awards' which this year, will be taking place at London’s biggest dog event, Eukanuba Discover Dogs at the ExCel London on the 21st and 22nd October.

 

The awards are based completely on public nominations, finalists are selected from over 40,000 dog related businesses, and winners in each of the categories are decided entirely by public vote.

 

Understandably, we’re extremely proud that this year, Bona-Fido has been short-listed in the ‘Best Dog Walker’ category and whilst we’re realistic enough to accept that we’re facing some very formidable competition, we feel tremendously privileged just to have been listed as a finalist. So, paws crossed and we’ll keep you posted!

The UK’s largest database of dog related businesses.

 

Since 2003 DogFriendly has been helping businesses to open their doors to responsible dog owners and has given their members access to the largest and most up-to-date database of dog friendly places to visit, safe in the knowledge that their dogs will be made as welcome as they are.

For many years DogFriendly has worked alongside the Kennel Club as part of their “Be Dog Friendly” campaign which encourages more places across the UK to adopt a dog friendly policy and today the DogFriendly website lists over 40,000 dog friendly places, businesses and services including holiday locations, hotels, places to stay, pubs, bars and restaurants as well as pet shops, groomers, kennels, sitters and walkers.

 

For dog owners, word of mouth is one of the most important factors in choosing where to go, where to stay and what services to use and with over 100,000 registered visitors, DogFriendly members are actively involved in providing critical reviews for both the website and the magazine.

 

You can visit the DogFriendly website at http://www.dogfriendly.co.uk

 

For more information about the Eukanuba Discover Dogs event, see the news article below.

Follow your nose to Discover Dogs - Londons Biggest Dog Event!

Discover Dogs is a unique event that enables people to meet and greet nearly 200 breeds of dog, to shop for dog related products, and to watch fun four-legged displays and competitions. The fun family event, organised by The Kennel Club and sponsored by Eukanuba, celebrates our unique relationship with dogs, in addition to helping people understand the importance of choosing the right breed for their lifestyle and making sure they buy a puppy responsibly.

Last year, more than 27,000 people flocked to ExCeL London over the weekend to visit the Kennel Club's Eukanuba Discover Dogs event. Dog lovers enjoyed a great fun day out whilst learning about over 200 breeds of pedigree dog, enjoying the shopping at hundreds of trade stands and watching a wide variety of displays and competitions. 

 

It is so important to take as much time and effort as necessary to select the right puppy for your personal circumstances, so if you love dogs, but can't decide between a Labrador or a Lhasa Apso then the Discover Dogs is the place to be. Talk to knowledgeable owners and breeders. Gain first hand advice on grooming, training and whether a particular breed is right for you. You can be sure it will lead you to your perfect companion!

PET SERVICE BUSINESS OF THE YEAR - AWARD FINALIST 2017!

 

We are absolutely delighted to announce that Bona-Fido has once again made it to the finals of one of the largest pet industry awards events in the UK.

 

Some of you may remember that in 2015, we were nominated for “Pet Service Business of The Year” in the Pet Industry Federation Awards, coming a very close second on the night.  

 

The Pet Industry Awards are a benchmark for excellence in the UK pet trade, and since their inception they have grown in popularity to become one of the key events in the industry’s calendar and the pet industry’s social event of the year.

 

Yet again, this year’s awards have attracted more nominations than ever, and the thirteen categories have been sub-divided into further categories. From all these entries, Bona-Fido has been selected as one of only six finalists in the “Pet Services – Home Boarding & Dog Walking” category.

 

Alexandra Baker – Communications Manager at the Pet Industry Federation has said:

 

“Congratulations! I am pleased to announce that you have been short-listed as a finalist in the Pet Service Business of the Year category. We had a bumper number of entries this year, and the quality of the nominations was higher than ever. Appearing on the shortlist is a great achievement!”

 

Professor Tim Morris from the Animal Health & Welfare Board for England will present the awards to the winners at a glittering black-tie gala evening on Tuesday 28 November at Whittlebury Hall, near Towcester, in front of nearly 250 prominent pet industry guests.

 

ACTOR BRIAN BLESSED UNVEILED THE WINNERS AND PRESENTED THE AWARDS AT THE PET INDUSTRY'S BIGGEST EVENT OF THE YEAR.

 

It was colourful, it was glitzy and it was glamorous! The Pet Industry Awards dinner 2015, was held at the Crowne Plaza City Centre Hotel in Liverpool on November 17th and marked a glittering culmination to the year. The event took place with over 250 of the biggest names in the Pet Industry in attendance and showcased some of the best the industry has to offer.

 

Following a floor show and an introduction by Chief Executive Nigel Baker, the bubbly flowed as nominees in twelve different categories stepped into the spotlight to receive their awards from acting legend Brian Blessed.

 

Among these, Bona-Fido was in line for the prestigious national award of

“Pet Service Business of the Year”. 

We were up against some tough competition, and although we didn’t quite scoop top prize on the evening, we, along with the five other finalists, can all be considered winners as just being part of the Pet Industry Federation awards is an achievement in itself! 

 

Dinner was followed by an entertaining speech given by Brian Blessed, with amusing tales of his life in acting and his exploration adventures. As the cries of “Gordon’s Alive!” subsided, the evening was given over to live music and dancing into the early hours.

We had a fantastic evening and we’re really proud of just how far we've come in the last three years, Bona-Fido is now not only recognised as one of the UK’s top six pet care service providers, but were also officially one of the top three dog walking companies in the UK!

 

Of course, none of this would have been possible without the support and encouragement of all our customers and the tremendous amount of trust they place in us to care for their treasured best friends. Thank you so much for helping to make this happen, it means so much.

PET SERVICE BUSINESS OF THE YEAR - AWARD FINALIST 2015!

 

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that Bona-Fido has made it to the finals of the largest pet industry awards event in the UK.

 

The Pet Industry Awards are a benchmark for excellence in the UK pet trade, and since their inception five years ago, they have grown in popularity to become the key event in the industry’s calendar and the pet industry’s social event of the year.

 

This year’s awards attracted more nominations than ever, and include a record thirteen categories. From all these entries, Bona-Fido has been selected as one of only six finalists in the “Pet Service Business of the Year” category.

 

Alexandra Baker – Communications Manager at the Pet Industry Federation wrote:

 

“Congratulations! I am pleased to announce that you have been short-listed as a finalist in the Pet Service Business of the Year category. We had a bumper number of entries this year, and the quality of the nominations was higher than ever. Appearing on the shortlist is a great achievement.”

 

Award winners will be announced at a glittering Pet Industry Federation black-tie gala evening on Tuesday 17 November at the Crowne Plaza City Centre Hotel, Liverpool in front of nearly 250 prominent pet industry guests.

The awards dinner is a glittering culmination to the year and the 60’s themed event will include a three-course dinner, entertainment and live band. It promises to be spectacular and memorable, and winners will receive their awards from star of stage and screen, acting legend Brian Blessed, who will then regale the audience with an entertaining after-dinner speech.

 

Chris Walton – Director at Bona-Fido said:

 

“We are both delighted and excited to be invited to such a wonderful event where we will be meeting with some of the largest organisations in the pet world. Of course we want to thank everyone for their support as without you and all of our wonderful doggie best friends this would not have been possible – we exist for one reason and that is for the love and passion of what we do.”

ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT GETTING A DOG OR PUPPY OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS? 

 

Following on from the success of their first series, RDF Television is once again teaming up with BBC2 for a second series of the observational documentary “The Puppies”.

 

The first series, “Meet the Puppies” explored the extraordinary relationship between man and man’s best friend and followed six households with a new puppy, (see our news article January 2014), the new series, “Choose The Right Puppy for You” will look at people making the decision about choosing to bring a dog or puppy into their lives.

 

Perhaps you’re unsure about whether to go for a pedigree pup or a rescue dog? Or maybe you have no idea which of the hundreds of breeds and crossbreeds might be right for you! You may even already have your perfect breed in mind.

 

RDF Television is looking for people to film as they make this important decision; they’re looking for families, singles, and couples, of all ages and from all over the country to take part. You’ll have the opportunity to meet experts and get involved in some dog activities to help you make the right choice. So if you’re considering bringing a dog or puppy into your life in the near future and would like to be on TV, then this is the perfect opportunity for you and your family to be involved in this fascinating new documentary series.

 

If this sounds like you or anyone else you know then please call RDF Television directly on 0207 013 4053 and leave your name and contact number, or email puppies@rdftelevision.com for more info and an application form.

 

CLOSING DATE IS TUESDAY 13TH OCTOBER.

 

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BONA-FIDO HAS LANDED!

 

Fasten your seatbelts for some brilliant news! For some time now, we’ve been on final approach to providing the Bona-Fido Dogs with the most pawfect surroundings in which to enjoy their adventures.

 

We’ve always walked in beautiful rural settings, but for the additional safety and happiness our canine friends we’ve acquired our own private land, making us one of the few dog walking companies in the UK to do so!

 

We now have five and a half acres of beautiful meadowland exclusively for the use of the Bona-Fido Dogs. It’s securely fenced and surrounded by mature trees and dense hedgerows, and from here we have access to a network of private farm tracks and woodland walks across more than seven hundred acres of Warwickshire’s most beautiful countryside.

 

It’s the pawfect environment for the Bona-Fido Dogs - private, secure, safe, clean, and above all – risk free.  

PET SITTING

 

We're now fully booked for pet-sitting until September 2015.

 

HOME BOARDING

 

We're fully booked for home boarding until September 2015 and please remember that due to high demand we are rarely able to assist with short notice requests, so please plan ahead and give as much prior notice as possible. Please also remember that as your dog will be staying literally in a home-from-home environment, they must be fully house trained and free from any behavioural issues. You must also provide proof that your dog's vaccinations are up-to-date and have been completed at least 4 weeks prior to the first date of boarding. Unfortunately, we can’t accept puppies under 6 months old, aggressive or unsocialized dogs, entire males, or any bitches which are due to be in season during boarding. No dog registered under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 can be accepted for home boarding. 

 

GROUP WALKS

 

We have very limited availability for group walks in Warwick and Leamington-Spa especially on our late morning and early afternoon sessions. We have some availability for group walks in Stratford-upon-Avon.

 

INDIVIDUAL WALKS

 

We are currently fully booked for individual walks.

 

DAY CARE

 

We're currently fully booked for Day Care in both Warwick and Leamington Spa and also have a waiting list for regular places. Sorry, but due to the popularity of this service, we're unable to facilitate requests for ad-hoc day care.

BONA-FIDO ACCEPTED BY THE PET INDUSTRY FEDERATION!

 

Bona-Fido is now a member of the Pet Industry Federation which is the top membership association for pet industry specialists in the UK. Combining the British Dog Groomers Association, The UK Kennel & Cattery Association, The Pet Suppliers & Manufacturers Association, The Pet Retailers Association and The Pet Services Association, it has a history dating back to the 1940’s and has a membership of over 1500 businesses.

 

Bona-Fido is a member of The Pet Services Association, which is the part of the federation which represents dog walkers and sitters. The Pet Industry Federation offers industry-led qualifications and training and all members agree to adhere to the Federations sector specific charters. This enables The Pet Industry Federation to provide a quality assurance of businesses that are able to demonstrate best practices in business operations within the pet care sector. 

 

Membership of The Pet Industry Federation offers a hallmark of quality.

 

DOG WALKING AND PET CARE SERVICES ARE ON THE INCREASE!

 

The last 12 months have seen massive growth in pet care services such as dog walking and pet sitting. Man’s best friend is spending more and more time home alone as pet owners lead increasingly hectic lifestyles.

 

British employees work the longest hours in europe and with more and more couples both going out to work, dual-income households are finding it ever more difficult to care properly for their beloved pets. With over 8 million dogs in the UK and less time spent in the home, it’s no surprise the problem is quickly gaining a lot of media attention.

 

Mark Evans, the former chief vet at the RSPCA recently featured in an hour long channel 4 documentary, “Dogs: Their Secret Lives” which examined the subject in detail.

 

In recent years, our lives have changed radically and so have those of our dogs. Owners with unpredictable lifestyles who wish to give their pets a predictable routine are increasingly turning to pet care service providers for help.

 

Over the last year Bona-Fido has experienced rapid growth and now we’re expanding our operations to meet with the demand. From March we’ll be putting another dedicated vehicle on the road in order to increase our service capacity. This means that we’ll be able to accommodate more dog walking in all areas and that our waiting lists will be shortened. It will also mean that we will have a very limited number of new day care places available.

 

“Dogs: Their Secret Lives” 


If you would like to catch up with the channel 4 documentary click here.

HOME BOARDERS

 

Due to unprecedented demand, we're currently recruiting host families and day boarders in the Warwickshire area and urgently need to expand our team. If you love dogs and have the time and environment to care for them in your own home then we would love to speak to you about joining us. You must be reliable, conscientious and genuinely committed to animal welfare. You will have the opportunity to meet the client and their dog before the booking commences and you’ll be under no obligation to accept a dog if you’re not entirely comfortable. You decide how often you would like to work and which breeds you are willing to accept. We pay a daily rate for your service – making this an ideal home-based opportunity for genuine dog lovers.

 

PETSITTERS

 

We urgently require petsitters for assignments in Warwickshire. Pet sitting carries a high level of responsibility and involves conscientious care of clients’ homes and animals. We are looking for individuals with a high degree of integrity and if you have not already done so, you must be prepared to undergo a full CRB check. You must also be happy to stay away from home for agreed periods and be prepared to work to very high standards. 

 

For more information about our pet sitting service click here.

ARE YOU GETTING A PUPPY?

 

THEN A NEW BBC SERIES WANTS TO HEAR FROM YOU! 

 

Bona-Fido has been approached for assistance in filming a new series for BBC2 called “The Puppies”. RDF Television, one of the UK’s most respected independent TV production companies want to film with people from all over the country and all sorts of different breeds of dogs, from sheepdogs to family pets, to disability and assistance dogs.  

 

This new observational documentary series will explore the extraordinary relationship between man and man’s best friend and will follow a number of households taking in a new puppy. It will also look at the lives of the puppies and their new owners and will reveal the science of dog development and discover what’s going on in the puppies’ bodies and minds over the first year of their lives.

 

So if you’ve recently acquired a new puppy, or are planning to give one a home soon and would like to be on TV, then this is the perfect opportunity for you and your family to be involved in this fascinating new documentary series.

 

If this sounds like you or anyone else you know then please call RDF Television directly on 0207 013 4053 and leave your name and contact number.

 

Alternatively email them on puppies@rdftelevision.com

 

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The Puppies
RDF Television have produced a "casting call" flyer about the new series and you can download a copy here.
Puppies Double A5 Flyer 09 12 13.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [417.6 KB]

REGULAR UPDATES

 

Great news - we're back with our regular posts on both facebook and twitter! Our timeline problems have been fixed and the missing posts and pictures have been restored. You can now catch up with all the latest news about the Bona-Fido dogs on your favourite social network.

BONA-FIDO IN DRAMATIC SHEEP RESCUE!

 

Bona-Fido was today involved in a dramatic sheep rescue operation near Lighthorne. A flock of sheep had escaped their shepherd and were caught looking rather sheepish after making their way down the Old Gated Road towards the junction with the main B4100 Banbury Road.

 

Our intrepid dog walkers immediately stopped their Paw x Paw vehicle and blocked the path of the errant fold. However, a particularly rebellious ewe gave our walkers some trouble before they managed to herd the flock back to safety.

 

Police later attended the scene of the incident and thanked us for our fast thinking and prompt action. Constable Lamb commented that "Had it not been for ewe, there could have been a very “baaa..d” accident, the B4100 is a very busy road with fast travelling vehicles, one of which could easily have “rammed” into the flock quickly turning them into mutton!”

 

Dramatic pictures of the event can be seen on our facebook and twitter pages. Just click on the link below to view them.  

BASIC TRAINING

 

We are now offering basic training on a one-to-one basis. Basic training as distinct from behavioural training is all about communication with your dog and positive re-enforcement of good manners. We like to see well behaved dogs that can walk nicely on the lead without pulling, who don’t jump-up or lunge at strangers and who come when called. For more information about basic training techniques please take a look at Basic Training in our Services section or just click here.