This week on Saturday Spotlight it’s another personal choice by privilegedpup aka Barney who is really excited to share another of his new favourite places. Once he discovered that there was a fabulous grooming parlour at Cheltenham Animal Shelter we headed over off to find out more about both. Please welcome to the very full Lady Janey sofa, Peter Newcombe, General Manager of Cheltenham Animal Shelter along with Kate and Carol, star groomers at Short Bark & Sides Grooming Parlour.



Peter started by explaining that Cheltenham Animal Shelter is a registered Charity, which is currently in its 93rd year. At the shelter, they rescue, care for and re-home unwanted and abandoned dogs, cats and small animals as well as educating the public in responsible pet ownership.

In addition to the rescue, welfare and rehoming side, Peter went on to say that the shelter has an Education Department and also income earning services including Boarding for cats and dogs, a pet supplies business, a strong partnership with our vets, Casvet, an on site Charity Shop, and of course, a dog grooming parlour, Short Bark & Sides!



When I asked about the best part of his job, Peter said it was ‘Working with some fantastic staff and volunteers who passionately care for the animals here at the Shelter and how to improve their lives.’ As for the worst part of his job, Pete said that there were no ‘Real worst parts but every day is a new challenge and brings with it problems to solve some more difficult than others because of the nature of what we do.’

Peter and I discussed why delivering good Customer Service is important and he commented that ‘It is the back bone of what we do – acknowledging that our business is all about animals without our people offering excellent customer service to potential adopters and other people that we deal with then none of the animals would find their forever homes.’



Peter feels that they deliver ‘Very strong customer service but there is always room for improvement. Staff and process changes mean we all have to adapt and ongoing training is vitally important to ensure that we always strive to offer the best in customer service.’ This is true and is ultimately why some companies fall flat on their face as they fail to adapt or implement any ongoing training.

When I asked about why Peter should choose to re-home an animal from the Animal Shelter he said ‘Because we care about what we do and the animals we look after. As well as a robust rehoming process we offer aftercare and advice to adopters to ensure that their new pet stays with them for a long time and both the adopter and pet have fabulous lives together.’



Well if I wasn’t smiling enough after listening to how much Peter values the service the shelter provides, then it was time to have a chat with Kate and Carol – and get in the way- as they groomed some gorgeous dogs in the Short Bark and Sides grooming parlour, mine being no exception!



Short, Bark and Sides is not an independent groomers, it is part of the animal shelter and as such Kate and Carol often have to groom dogs which come into the shelter’s care. Kate explained that this was one of the hardest parts of the job ‘Seeing neglected dogs’ with matted coats. However in the same vein, one of the best parts of her job is seeing the transformation in the dogs once they have been groomed.

Kate never stopped smiling while I was at Short, Bark and Sides and says it’s down completely to the ‘Enjoyment of the job. Both she and Carol couldn’t have been more welcoming and clearly love the work they do. Barney was immediately at ease and although being part poodle, getting wet is not his preferred pastime, having lots of genuine fuss, love and attention most definitely is!



Kate, Carol and I chatted about different breeds of dogs with Carol commenting that it was lovely as ‘All dogs have their own little characters.’ Although both clearly lovers of every possible breed of dog, for Kate, it’s Staffies who have her heart with Carol plumping for Yorkies and Alsatians. As for me, it’s labradoodle Barney aka privilegedpup who melts me on a daily basis with his beautiful little face and his big soft ‘you will give me extra treats’ eyes.

An interesting fact I discovered are that dogs can have different hairstyles just like we can, not necessarily the one associated with their breed! Also, to avoid matting of coats, you should also brush your dog daily- after all you wouldn’t think twice about not doing your own, would you? Apart from His Lordship who doesn’t have that much though of course- hope he doesn’t read this!



We chatted more about why Carol and Kate enjoyed their work so much and Kate said she ‘Loves the bond you get with the dogs and the interaction you have with them.’ Both Carol and Kate understand that every dog is different’ and that ‘Pets need respect.’ Just as in the normal human world of Customer Service, they are keen to adapt accordingly to the needs of each four-legged customer who comes through their doors and I just love it. We’ll definitely be back soon.

Thank you to Peter, Kate and Carol for taking the time to chat to me today for Saturday Spotlight and for allowing me to pester them with questions and generally get in the way. If you’d like to find out more about the work of the shelter and how you can support the charity then you can check out the GAWA website. You can also find them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Until next week everyone!

Lady Janey x


This is not an ad. I’ve written about Cheltenham Animal Shelter and Short Bark & Sides because I really admire the great work they do and want to support the charity.



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