Shropshire Star

Award-winning dog hotel celebrates five years and 1,000 pampered pooches

Opening a hotel for dogs may sound like a barking mad idea, but for one Shropshire woman it has turned into a successful business that is celebrating its fifth anniversary.

Pooch Palace owner Zoe Pope (left) holding Cherri next to daughter Hattie and chihuahua Ralph

Self-confessed “dog mad” Zoe Pope, from Newport, Telford got the idea for Pooch Palace in 2018 when looking for accommodation for her chihuahua, Ralph.

“Going round different kennels in the area, we found that they were all very traditional with concrete floors and cages, but Ralph was not used to that and needed something more like his home,” she said. “So I thought that was what I was going to do, set up a hotel for dogs but make it a home-from-home.”

Five years on, and the dog hotel in Littlehales Road now features 15 suites, complete with four poster beds, and Zoe, along with daughter and day care manager, Hattie, and the four staff members provide both day care facilities and boarding for up to 30 dogs a day. “It is like a nursery. The dogs get up at 7am, they go outside, play all day, have nap and then it is lights out at 10pm.”

She added that they focus on small to medium-sized dogs, and even naughty pooches are welcome.

“We are not like a normal kennel where you just book a slot. We ask people to bring their dogs for a taster session first so we can how they get on and interact,” she said.

“Sometimes if they are anxious we have to introduce one other dog and then another and build it up, but it is very rare that we have to turn a dog away because he is too boisterous.”

Zoe, who owns five dogs herself, said that the hotel also specialises in accommodating elderly and anxious pets. “When Covid hit a lot of people had puppies, and we have seen a lot of dogs that have never socialised before so they suffer from anxiety,” she said.

“So we help to get dogs used to being away from their mums and dads,” she said. and get them to socialise with other dogs.”

She said the business was going from “strength-to-strength” and was even named the sixth best kennel in the UK from the Pet Industry Federation awards in 2021.

“We have been seeing around 30 dogs a day. First it was the day care side that really hit off when people went back to work following Covid, and now the boarding side is really taking off. We are getting bookings from people for the summer of 2025.

“If I were to guess how many dogs we have seen over the last five year, I’d say it must be over 1,000, but I have love minute of it.”