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Business / New Girlsta kennels set to provide much needed service

Shannon Hughson with her dog Faye. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

NEW boarding kennels are set to open in September, offering Shetland a much-needed option for people going on holiday ensuring their dogs are cared for when they leave the islands. 

Shannon Hughson has picked up the Premier Kennels project after her grandad Andrew started it over 10 years ago on the Brunt Hamarsland road, in Girlsta.

He had difficulty with planning permission and sourcing kennels, so stopped. But she recognised it is a service Shetland desperately needs and wanted to see it through to completion. 

There was a previous kennels site in Tingwall, but its closure several years ago has seen pet-owners with no boarding kennel option for their dogs when they leave Shetland. 

Premier Kennels is hoping to fill the gap in the market, with a planned opening date of 1 September. They are currently waiting on-site inspections, and to get the relevant licences. 

The 26-year-old said she hopes the kennels can be a ‘home from home’ for the dogs and added: “There are no boarding kennels in Shetland, and it’s something that a lot of people –especially those with bigger dogs – struggled to find people to look after them, and that has the space to look after them.”

The site will have up to 14 kennels, with the capability of taking two dogs, or three if they are all small and from the same household, per kennel. 

There will be an outdoor run upon opening, and another one will be constructed later. 

Hughson said: “We’ve also got stables beside the shed and want to turn them into three big open kennels in the future. So, there are plenty of options for expansion.”

They are planning to hold an open day closer to the opening date to let people bring their dogs and see the kennels. 

Hughson added she wants to “reassure everyone their dogs will be looked after” and hopes an open day will allow members of the community to come and support them. 

She also said that so far they have had plenty of positive responses, and have even had people trying to book in already.