NOT YOUR AVERAGE BOARDING FACILITY
On more than one occasion, I had heard of Trevor, the owner of Happy Stay who has the kindest heart. Happy Stay is a family run animal holiday home – cattery & kennels.
I was planning a trip to England and hoped to visit Happy Stay. Trevor happily agreed to speak with me and didn’t mind the interruption. In fact, he was incredibly generous with his time. I was given the full tour and introduced to every guest that was staying at the facility at the time.
Upon arrival, I am welcomed with smiles, and even though the sun is shining, the warmth I feel is as much from the setting as it is the weather. The team is friendly, calm and inviting. Trevor has disappeared temporarily but it doesn’t take the staff long to locate him, and they are happy to do so. I was not made to feel I was inconveniencing anyone even though they were busy.
After our introduction, we head into the cat accommodations where The Carpenters are serenading the occupants with ‘Close To You.’ The two-story ‘hotel rooms’ are a generous size, bright, and very clean. Each guest has a cat flap with access to an outdoor sunroom. The buildings are all temperature regulated, and each bed has a heating pad, a nicety for cooler days and evenings. Talk about luxury! If you’re not convinced this is a five-star hotel for cats, let me tell you about some of the other options:
A family suite or double pens are also available for your companions (in both the cat and dog buildings). This cat hotel boasts nine double and five family accommodations. Initially, there weren’t family kennels available for dogs, so Trevor set about building four of them. People appreciate family time for their companions – there were no vacancies at the time of my visit!
If a cat is so inclined, they are permitted to wander the bright and spacious halls while their rooms are cleaned. Individual or companions – different families do not interact.
Trevor adores animals. Until recently, he had seven cats and two dogs of his own. If a cat can’t be rehomed or is too ill, it usually ends up in Trevor’s home. He knows everything about each of those in his care – more than just what is listed on medical records. He knows their personality quirks and any fears they may have. If he isn’t told about these things before their arrival, Trevor learns soon enough – he spends a considerable amount of time with everyone, visiting the cats and dogs regularly.
Trevor looks after people’s companions, and collaborates with South Devon rescue, caring for those in need of rehoming to ensure the right homes are found for each. Fizz is one of several cats waiting comfortably at Happy Stay until she finds a forever home. She is fourteen-years-old and has a thyroid condition. Trevor had an older lady call to inquire about Fizz but decided a condition that required a schedule of medication was too much responsibility for her. ‘I need to be honest about the situation,’ he says as he gently lifts Fizz out of her cage for a cuddle and some sweet talk.
She just wants a lap to lay on
Mini is an adoptable who found herself in Trevor’s care after he intervened, rescuing her from an unsuitable situation. Trevor says a number of his adoptable cats are rehomed by customers who board other companions with him. Local vets also promote Trevor’s cats. Tiny is a special needs, adoptable cat currently undergoing diabetes testing. When asked how the rescue side is funded Trevor explains that he covers the costs himself. Although he admits they could do with a bit more advertising, he works twelve to fourteen hours a day and doesn’t have extra time for fundraising.
Happy Stay has been in existence for more than thirty years and is currently registered to care for eighty cats and thirty-six dogs (depending on the number of ‘families’ in his care). These days, he has cut back the number of cats by fifteen to be generous with his time and affection for his customers. When Trevor took ownership of the facility, it was given a much-needed facelift, and floors and heating were redone. He tries to have the floors repainted each year.
Do you remember this big fella? I’d be surprised if you do as he is looking so much healthier these days. Patch is a guest at Happy Stay and has been visiting for years. While recovering from surgery, Patch became extremely fond of a particular red blanket. That is the type of familiar item an owner may wish to leave with their companions. Click here to read our post about Patch’s brain surgery to remove a tumor.
In addition to providing food for their stay, pet owners are welcome to bring special toys, treats, blankets and other items for the comfort of their companions. Happy Stay has alternative items available for guests with less particular preferences. Proof of vaccinations is required before companions are booked to stay in the accommodations for the wellbeing of all guests. Details about the animals are shared on chalkboards outside each pen. This information is limited to names, dietary requirements or special needs.
PERSONAL INFORMATION IS NOT DISPLAYED
As we continue to tour the cat accommodations, Trevor is greeted by a chorus of happy ‘meows’ from feline guests. They all seem to be very content and enjoying their luxury spaces. Charlotte, one of Trevor’s team members, comes in and politely asks if Trevor would come and speak with a future guest.
Dolly is Charlotte’s cat – she enjoys ‘day privileges’ at Happy Stay.
In Trevor’s absence, Charlotte starts to escort us to the dog kennels. En route, we meet Scamp and his owner, Wendy. Scamp is fifteen-years-old, and although he is completely deaf, he happily wags his tail and verbally greets us. He can’t hear himself and is therefore unaware of the tone of his adorable little how-do-you-dos. Scamp is here to say hello to, and become familiar with the staff before his first happy stay. Trevor is glad to spend time with his future guest and Scamp is enjoying the attention.
Before saying goodbye, Trevor and Wendy arrange another visit for Scamp. Trevor has finally booked a holiday – his first in more than thirteen years, yet he sounds apologetic when explaining that he is unavailable during certain days. Another visit is scheduled, and we continue our way to the dogs.
The kitchen, where food is prepared, and medications are stored, is neat and clean.
Each of the dog kennels has it’s own, separate outside run area. Dogs are kept separate from each other although family play is permitted. Four of the kennels are large, pack-sized accommodations.
Trevor introduces us to Max, a deaf and blind dog who, in less than a week learned his way around his kennel and figured out how to access the outdoor run.
Some people ask ‘why keep a dog alive if they’re like that’ but Max is so happy to be here
Other special needs include diabetes, seizures, and a terminal illness. Depending on the severity of the condition, some dogs are given more private accommodation in the laundry area. It is warm, cozy and quieter for very special guests.
During my visit, there were twenty-seven canine companions at Happy Stay including ‘drop off Daisy’ who, quite often visits the facility for daycare, two of Charlotte’s dogs and Trevor’s newest addition, Freddie, a five and a half-year-old teacup Yorkshire Terrier. Freddie previously belonged to an older woman whose health was declining. Trevor agreed to her request for him to care for Freddie before she passed, only a few weeks later. Shortly after that, Henry, Trevor’s beloved Bulldog, also passed. Thankfully, Trevor and Freddie had each other during their difficult transitions.
It is rare that you will find someone who will care for your animals as you do. Having witnessed the relationship Trevor and his team has with guests, I can assure you, your companions will be in good hands at Happy Stay while you are away.
Thank you, Trevor and the Happy Stay team for the tour of your beautiful pet resort, and the care you provide to the animals,