Secure fields are becoming very popular and they are now all over the country. Which isn’t surprising considering anxiety around walking dogs has been on the increase. I have to admit I do have anxiety about walking Chester, not because of him or his behaviour but because of other dogs. Maisy was attacked around 4 times before she was a year old and it has affected her personality. Although Chester adores dogs we have still had some close calls when off-lead dogs have ran up to us aggressively. I have always stood up for him and he's never been affected but it always plays on my mind when walking anywhere that people see as an off-lead opportunity.
Best friends was established a while ago but recently in June, they opened a new secure field. It is about 15 minutes away from us. We were so excited as the nearest one prior was about 1hr away. Yesterday we had our first session. Maisy is dog reactive so secure fields are the only place she can really enjoy freedom other than our garden. Chester just loves running!
Best friends provides dog walking and daycare services and then added the secure field in 2020. The field is based on a Farm in Lanchester. Initially I thought it would be hard to find and I would end up at the farmhouse asking directions (been there done that). But it was so easy, it's on the main road so you can't miss it and the field entrance is about 200 yards from the road. Parking is signposted to the right of the Main Gate.
The field has a little enclosed pathway between the main gate area and the secure field there are two fields one of which is used for daycare. For us this path was perfect as we could let them both go without being dragged and actually open/close the gates without being pulled from side to side.
For Maisy this field provided freedom. For Chester it provided a much needed run around off-lead. I've had to be careful where I walk incase it sets off a knee flare and i've not been able to complete very long walks which I feel so guilty about as Chester adores his walks, so yesterday was the perfect opportunity for Chester to do his pace and for me to do mine (Snail).
They had so much fun. It was also so peaceful me and mum spent most of our time just looking at the countryside. (We do live in the countryside, but you can never get enough of it's beauty) some fields that i have found have been located in noisy areas which is not necessarily off-putting but peace is much preferred. The field is also flat! for two dogs which charge round with no spacial awareness flat is always welcome. Even with the flatness Chester managed to do a trip over nothing (I swear he is going to give me a heart attack)
On going back to the car Maisy will usually refuse if she has been having an exceptionally good time, the enclosed pathway meant we could catch her and put her on her lead without a fight! Chester also appreciated being off his lead right up until leaving.
The owners ( Allison and James ) also had a chat to me about the field and got the opportunity to ask them a few questions.
Why did you start Best Friends?
"We started best friends as we are huge dog lovers, we have always had a houseful of them Currently we have 6. We started the business to be able to work with dogs. Simply that. We started just walking and home boarding then it expanded into daycare We aren’t able to provide home boarding now"
Is it rewarding to know you are helping owners and dogs by providing a secure field?
"We decided to have a second secure field for the public to book and use because we became more aware that a lot of people struggle to find somewhere they can let their dogs run free in safety and away from other people and dogs for different reasons We absolutely love to see photos and videos of the dogs enjoying themselves with loads of space and also knowing the owners can relax and enjoy it too"
Do you have any future plans for the field?
"Future plans would be to add some interest to the field such as jumps or tunnels even just bales stacked for the dogs to jump on and for the owners to take a break."
We absolutely loved our visit and we will definitely be back soon!
Best friends Facebook page link here
Thanks for reading
Sarah & Chester x