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Pembrokeshire dogs in for a treat

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A LUXURY dog boarding facility in Pembrokeshire is expanding, with the success of the business driven largely by social media.

The demand for places at Millin Brook Luxury Dog Boarding, a country retreat for dogs in Wiston, has blown away owners Sian and Dave Smith, who only launched the company in April 2018.

There are no traditional metal kennels to be seen, with the husband and wife team offering complete comfort on their 10-acre property. Fully-licensed and insured, they can currently take up to five dogs at a time.

The expansion will increase this to 30 as well as create jobs. Sian and Dave are not alone in working closely with the canines that come to stay. Their sons Ben, 9, and Jacob, 7, help with walks, and their head of guest services and entertainment is Barnaby, the family’s black Labrador.

Sian, who is a retired police officer of 20 years’ service, with 13 years as a mounted police officer, said: “We wanted to create somewhere that we would be happy to send our dog. In spring, we will have 10 state-of-the-art five star suites each with a large living area, play room, luxury beds, underfloor heating, automatic-filling water bowls, and our own-brand dog biscuits. We will also play classical music and infuse the air with lavender oil to help keep the dogs calm and relaxed.

“Our guests will also have chance to use the spa and be pampered and groomed before a photoshoot in a purpose-built studio.

“This would not be possible without the amazing success of the business, which has been driven largely by Facebook. I attended a Superfast Business Wales course on digital marketing to understand more about this area of running a business and I learnt so many things that I have been able to apply to Millin Brook.

“It’s taught me all about the different social media platforms, what to use them for, how to keep branding and hashtags consistent across all channels, and how to use them to their full potential.

“For example, we used Facebook advertising to introduce the business, but we kept the cost down by targeting people by interest and location. Facebook now accounts for 70 per cent of our turnover. I also found out about Google my Business, which is very important to promote us locally in Google search results, and our website accounts for the other 30 per cent of turnover.”

Sian also uses social media to give owners peace of mind so they can enjoy their holiday safe in the knowledge their companion is having a blast.

She added: “We take the dogs on adventures around the stunning Pembrokeshire beaches and countryside and publish pictures and videos to Facebook.

“If a guest is staying with us for at least a week, we also send a postcard of them enjoying their stay. The owners often share the postcards on social media, which helps to spread the word about our brand.

“Our popularity is incredible. We even had someone re-arrange their holiday because we were fully booked!”

A follow up one-to-one with a Superfast Business Wales adviser also revealed further digital solutions to help the business during its growth.

Sian added: “We use a paper diary, which is ok when it’s just five dogs. However, when we take on more we require a more sophisticated system. We will use kennel management software, Kennelbooker, which will manage bookings as well as store vital information including emergency contact details, vet details, vaccinations, custom notes, food and medical requirements, and photos.

“We will be able to access the app remotely so if we are walking a guest on the beach and we need to know something, we have that information in the palm of our hand. We can also use it for invoicing, which will reduce time spent on admin.

“I didn’t realise how much support was out there. I’ve gained so much useful advice and information.”

To find out more about Millin Brook Luxury Dog Boarding, visit http://millinbrook.co.uk/

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Our election prediction: No change for west Wales, same MPs will be elected

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COUNTING of ballots is underway at the Pavillion at the Pembrokeshire County Showground, Haverfordwest and in Llanelli at the Selwyn Samuel Centre.

Exit polls from the BBC and Sky News predict a Conservative majority of over eighty seats, with Labour predicted to slip as low as 191 MPs, come the end of tonight’s count

We’re live throughout the night from the County Showground, Haverfordwest, and the Selwyn Samuel Centre, Llanelli, to bring you rolling coverage and news as it unfolds for Preseli Pembrokeshire, Llanelli, Carmarthen East & Dinefwr, and Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire.

We are predicting the following results:

Preseli Pembrokeshire – Stephen Crabb, Conservative, Hold
Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire – Simon Hart, Conservative, Hold
Carmarthen East and Dinefwr – Jonathan Edwards, Plaid Cymru, Hold
Llanelli – Nia Griffith, Labour, Hold
Ceredigion – Ben Lake, Plaid Cymru, Hold

Effectively, we predict no change in members of parliament for any of the constituencies in west Wales.

 

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Castlemorris: Fire fighters tackle barn blaze

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FIRE FIGHTERS are tackling a barn fire at Castlemorris Equestrian & Pets centre at Pencnwc Farm, not far from Haverfordwest.
A member of staff told a Herald reporter that no one was hurt in the incident.

Castlemorris Equestrian & Pets stock an extensive range of products for horses, dogs, cats, poultry, wild birds and small animals, according to the company website.

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Head of volunteer police sacked for gross misconduct

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE’S Head of Volunteer Police has been sacked following a disciplinary hearing.

The police said in a statement: “Following a thorough and swift investigation into two allegations made about his conduct, Dyfed-Powys Police’s Special Chief Officer Cairn Newton-Evans has this morning faced a public disciplinary hearing.

“On 28 November SCO Newton-Evans was served with a conditional caution for sexual assault and tendered his resignation from the post of Chief Officer for Dyfed-Powys Special Constabulary.

“Chief Constable Mark Collins instigated a fast track disciplinary process and a public misconduct hearing was heard on Thursday (Dec 12).

“The hearing, chaired by Mr Collins, found that gross misconduct was proven and the decision was made to dismiss SCO Newton-Evans. It was also ruled that his name be added to the College of Policing barred list, preventing him from working in law enforcement in the future.”

Chief Constable Mark Collins, told The Herald: “Cairn has given his time to Dyfed-Powys Police for many years and I am grateful for the work he has done. However, as an organisation we will always strive to uphold standards of ethical and professional behaviour and where a representative of the force has done wrong, we will investigate and utilise the powers available to us, to ensure we maintain a workforce that continues to reflect the values by which we stand.

“We will always listen to victims of crime and will act on what they tell us, conducting thorough investigations and acting upon those findings to ensure justice is delivered and is seen to be delivered.”

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