Dog­gone mad about day­care

Re­porter Rexine Hawes speaks with the owner of a doggy day­care for our se­ries, On The Job.

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Red Brae Farm haven.

It is cur­rently home to four, four-legged friends Tus­sock, Grace, Clyde and Bax­ter who all an­swer to own­ers Mar­ian Brens­sell and hus­band Cameron.

Mar­ian was prompted to start her own busi­ness af­ter her for­mer job was made re­dun­dant. Run­ning a doggy day­care busi­ness al­lowed her to work at some­thing she loves, spend­ing time with dogs.

‘‘Peo­ple who re­ally get dogs, can see ev­ery sin­gle one has their own per­son­al­ity, it’s like hav­ing a big group of friends who think you are ab­so­lutely awe­some.

‘‘They are very in­tel­li­gent and very re­spon­sive. Dogs do give a lot away, they try to com­mu­ni­cate with us.’’

And Mar­ian has the ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge to un­der­stand a lot of that be­hav­iour and per­son­al­ity. Both she and Cameron are dog train­ers and be­haviourists.

‘‘I have al­ways had dogs, we had up to 16 at one time.

‘‘I used to run a team of work­ing dogs down south and peo­ple would ran­domly ask if I could take their dog and train them, or ask ques­tions about their dog’s anx­i­ety or they way they re­late to other dogs. is a doggy

‘‘It was all about word of mouth, so most times we had at least one other per­son’s dog at our house.

‘‘It’s not just about un­der­stand­ing the dog but help­ing dog and owner un­der­stand each other.’’

So it made sense to start a job where she can spend her days at home with her own four dogs as well as be­ing paid to pro­vide a space and com­pany for dogs whose own­ers can­not be with them through­out the day.

‘‘It was al­ways on the cards for my­self and my hus­band. We moved here from Dunedin in the past year.

‘‘I read that you should do the job you love and you will never work an­other day in your life and that is ex­actly what I am do­ing.’’

Her day starts by pick­ing up each dog from their home and then driv­ing them out to the 30-acre (12ha) Pa­paramu Rd prop­erty, nes­tled be­tween Pairere and Ti­rau.

Dur­ing their stay the dogs get the run of the prop­erty, com­plete with lush pad­docks and ponds en­closed by fence. But the dogs don’t just get to frolic around. The days are struc­tured to pro­vide the right kind of stim­u­la­tion.

The size of the prop­erty means there can be sep­a­rate ar­eas where the big dogs can play with­out hurt­ing the smaller ones. It also pro­vides se­cu­rity for the dogs who have anx­i­ety around oth­ers un­til they are com­fort­able to mix and min­gle.

Mar­ian has mixed re­ac­tions from peo­ple when she ex­plains her job, but for the most part, peo­ple are in­ter­ested, es­pe­cially dog own­ers.

‘‘Most peo­ple say, isn’t that the best job ever? But that’s only from doggy peo­ple,’’ she laughs.


Mar­ian Brens­sell is liv­ing her dream, run­ning a doggy day­care at Red Brae Farm.

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