Charlotte Church’s mother opened a dog hotel business where dogs have their own TV room and listen to classical music

Charlotte Church’s mother opened a dog hotel in Cardiff where the animals have their own TV room and can listen to classical music.

From meeting in the pub to realizing that they are neighbors and now work together, business partners Maria Church and Scott Halfpenny have created an adorable hotel for little dogs.

Maria, who is the mother of a singer and TV personality Charlotte Church , and Scott started this new business The Little Dogs Hotel from scratch, 12 weeks ago the hotel did not exist.

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The idea behind the hotel is simple and sincere, as Maria, 55, and Scott, 43, want dogs to feel on vacation too, giving them the best possible experience.

Specializing in small dogs only, The Little Dogs is a place where owners can drop their dogs off for a day at daycare, a weekend or for as long as they are away.

Scott and Maria met at the pub and their strong friendship is evident when they share how they became friends, without even realizing that they were neighbors.

Scott said: “It’s a funny story … we just started chatting and that’s it, we added each other on Facebook …”

Maria added: “I harassed you”

It took Maria inviting Scott over to make them realize they lived on the same street, he said, “We were literally across the road!” And we did not know it! So it was like fate.

Scott and Maria are close friends with a passion for dogs

From there the couple became good friends with Scott’s partner Jack and Maria’s husband James also getting along and soon the four started going on vacation and spending a lot of time together. .

Then the first lockdown hit and Maria, who had just had Doris the Dachshund, let Scott and Jack take care of her and it rekindled Scott’s love for dogs.

He said, “It then made me taste like you know what, I really love having this dog.”

It worked alongside Maria’s long-term dream of opening a dog hotel, she said: “It’s something that I have always wanted to do for many, many years. “

Currently Maria owns five dogs, Gertie, Doris and Ruddi the Dachshunds, and Mosby and Molly the Pomeranians and has always had a passion for animals.

It was after her own experiences of trying to find care for her dogs when she went on vacation that the idea of ​​a dog hotel sprouted.

She said, “I’ve never put them in kennels … there’s no way I can ever, after looking around (the kennels)”

“We’ve always had to bring someone in, it’s always been a bit of a minefield if we went looking for someone to take care of them, someone I trust.”

“So I thought about creating a place that feels like a house and I treat them like my babies, I want them to feel at home like they are on vacation.”

Maria wants dogs to feel at home in the hotel
Maria wants dogs to feel at home in the hotel

With the realization that he loved dogs and the pandemic giving him some breathing space, combined with Maria’s passion for dogs, Scott began to consider giving up his job as a manager.

He said: “Then reality hit and it was time to get back to work, then when I got back to work I thought I didn’t want to do this anymore, but I have to pay the bills.”

“As the year of Covid went by and Maria made a plan, what can I do so that I can quit my job? How do we start a business? “

“It made me think and change my priorities when before work came first and I started to think that I had to put myself first. I really have to think about what’s good for me.

Both had good personal reasons for opening the dog hotel, as Maria is also caring for James, who is ill and needs to deal with his mental health.

She said: “I felt I needed to do something because with James’ illness I needed to do something that I am available at home.”

“I just felt that my sanity was really deteriorating too, I needed something to motivate myself and to recover, to help my condition.”

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The couple then took a courageous step and, together with their partners, put together a house and began to build the hotel on the grounds of the house.

Doing most of the building work themselves from scratch in 12 weeks, they transformed what was an overgrown space into a dog lounge, hotel, TV room and play area.

The couple even had a fun story about decorating the hotel, Scott said “Then me and Maria painted it and we had to bring in a painter to repaint it” followed by laughs.

He added: “We thought we did a good job!

The hotel is brightly colored and warm
The hotel is brightly colored and warm

What is clear to see is the passion and love that Scott and Maria have poured into the hotel and the dogs that will stay there as they only house ten dogs at a time.

Maria said: “We only take ten because I want it to be as personal as possible and for the dogs to feel comfortable.”

“They are like my babies, they are great therapy for my mental health.”

Both find seeing the dogs and the owner happy after their stay is one of the best parts of the job, Maria said: “It means the world to me, it means I do it right … I want that the dogs be happy and the owners feel comfortable too, so I’m really delighted.

At the hotel, the dogs fall asleep to classical music, have their own TV room for watching TV and relaxing, and are with Maria and Scott for most of the day with dedicated play hours. .

There are lots of spaces for dogs at the hotel
There are lots of spaces for dogs at the hotel

Having the hotel in Cardiff is also important to Maria, who was born and raised in Cardiff, and Scott as they want to give back to the community.

Maria said: It’s just great, I wouldn’t have done it anywhere else. I love Cardiff, I love my hometown and being Welsh.

Scott said: “I hope that now we can do them a favor that they were lacking. The people of Cardiff deserve to go back on vacation, but when they go on vacation they should be able to go on vacation, relax and know our dogs are safe with us.

Charlotte is also a big supporter of the hotel, offering advice and encouragement every step of the way.

Maria said: “We’ve had a lot of support, Charlotte thinks it’s wonderful. She says mom, it’s the best thing you can do for your mental well-being.”

The couple have big plans for the hotel as they hope to grow and grow the business into a lifestyle brand and partner with a local charity, to continue giving back.

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