A boarding kennel and cattery near Matlock is marking its 70th year in business, giving its present owners opportunity to reflect on their time there.
Heatherdene Kennels, on Foxholes Lane, first opened in 1948, partly as a therapeutic animal refuge, but since 1990 has been run by husband and wife David and Jackie Teideman.
David, 72, said: “As far as we know, the business first started on the suggestion of a local vet, who had nowhere to keep animals while they recovered from treatment.
“It was run by Ernie and May Hawley before us. They said they spent their happiest days here and, in the end, their ashes were scattered on the fields.”
David and Jackie bought the property primarily because they wanted to pursue their hobby of breeding American quarter horses.
David said: “I was an engineer working all over the world, and we were just looking for a piece of land.
“Some friends spotted this, we came to look and thought it was way out of our league, but Jackie fell in love with it. Three months later, I was made redundant and so we had to make a real go of the kennels.”
The business is now licensed for 50 dogs and 40 cats at a time for holidays and day boarding, and David and Jackie have put in countless hours to modernise the facilities.
David said: “It looks like a million dollars now compared to how it was. It was completely alien to me at first, so I’m proud that we managed to build ourselves a nice cottage business without any help.
“Of course, we’ve had some wonderful customers who have been very loyal to us. Some have been here for as long as we have.”
David got so good at working with dogs that he became county dog warden for a time, chasing lost pets across Derbyshire, and his commitment to his customers has seen him take a quad bike on snow-blocked roads to collect pets.
He said: “If the weather’s bad it’s the pits, when it’s nice it’s the best place in the world - but you have to take the dogs for a walk whatever, twice a day, every day of the year.
“It’s a fantastic place to live and a good lifestyle, but it takes its toll. We haven’t had a holiday in ten years, but we are planning to slow down soon.”
He added: “We’ve never been tempted to sell, and I think I might finish my days here. I can see why it meant so much to Ernie and May.”