Humphrey & Bo Hotel and Country Club…
...for dogs! A Grade II listed farmhouse with wood-burners and squashy sofas, 11 acres of glorious countryside, food, drink, entertainment and someone pandering to your (dog's) every need.
A stay at Humphrey & Bo brings new meaning to the expression ‘it’s a dog’s life’. The canine countryside retreat has no kennels or leads and with expert care, fun and games in 11 acres, dogs can have the time of their lives, as guests for the day or a longer stay. Think Soho House for dogs.
On Deacon’s Mill Farm, south of the small town of Stalbridge in the beautiful Blackmore Vale in North Dorset, five miles or so from Sherborne, Sturminster Newton and Shaftesbury.
Bucolic bliss. I mean, just look…
There’s a rambling Grade II listed farmhouse and cottage set over several levels, complete with old stone walls, wood-burning stoves, beams, squashy sofas, cushions and rugs. Dog beds are dotted around and guests pretty much have the run of the house.
The place sits in 11 acres of undulating fields, meadows and woodlands with a little stream running through the trees.
Owner Sarah Marris grew up surrounded by a menagerie of different dogs and is a highly knowledgeable dog lover who – via a career in events and travelling the world – set up Pets in the City, one of London’s first professional dog day care and walking services. Mark Hird lives on site and is in charge day to day. An ex-detective with the Met, he’s worked in country estate management, concierge and hospitality, holds animal welfare and first aid qualifications, has shown Rhodesian Ridgebacks and bred Border Terriers and French Bulldogs, so he’s eminently well-suited to looking after the dogs who come to stay at Humphrey & Bo. Dogs seem to have a natural affinity with both him and Sarah and happily mill around.
A TYPICAL DAY
Each day includes physical and mental stimuli as well as down time to ensure the happiness and wellbeing of each dog, all in a super relaxed atmosphere that feels just like home.
For Hotel guests, it’s an early start at around 6.30am, with an early morning loo break while Country Club day care starts around 8am. Breakfast from 8am–9.30am. Guests are usually happier with their own familiar food but they can provide Lily’s Kitchen or Arden Grange dog food. Mid morning, it’s time for a run, with lots of different routes around the fully enclosed 11 acres.
Lots of exciting new sights, sounds and smells to investigate.
Think about going for a paddle.
Run wild… safely.
Home for a snooze then more time to play, another walk or try out an agility course with tunnels, poles and jumps, A-frames, which can be adapted for dogs of all sizes, ages and levels of fitness. Maybe some practice retrieving, tugging and playing catch, football and frisbee – Mark always needs someone to play with.
Supper’s around 5, then everyone can chill for the evening before a last run around outside…
…before a bedtime biscuit and beddie-byzzzzzzzzzzzz.
They’ll even send you photos of your dog throughout their stay. Nice touch.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Giving your dog the time of his or her life for a single day, overnight or longer if you’re at work, away from home or taking a holiday and your dog can’t come with. London dogs wanting a break in the country – there’s a chauffeur service from London. Suitable for dogs of all ages – it’s all under expert supervision and there’s a 24-hour vet access for peace of mind.
Not for: Humans. Sorry.
The damage: Hotel boarding per day from £45. Country Club day care 8am – 6pm from £25. Puppies, extra large breeds and dogs requiring special care (medication or extra attention) a few quid extra.
Humphrey & Bo, Deacons Mill Farm, Thornhill, Stalbridge, Dorset DT10 2SQ. Tel 01963 363873 and 07923 863366. humphreyandbo.com