Pooch pamper plans far from barking mad

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A former children’s play centre could be full of life again – as a dog day care centre.

Business partners, Karyn McElhinney and Marie Rigby, have applied for planning permission to turn part of the former Pharoahs play centre, on Westhoughton Road, Adlington, into a “one-stop shop” for dogs.

Karyn McElhinney, with Winston, and Marie Rigby, with Rufus, are hoping  to turn the former Pharoahs children's play centre into a dog day care centre

Karyn McElhinney, with Winston, and Marie Rigby, with Rufus, are hoping to turn the former Pharoahs children's play centre into a dog day care centre

Pharoahs closed suddenly in November 2013, seven years after opening.

If their plans are approved by Chorley Council, there would be space for day care, a pet shop and a groomer.

It would be open on weekdays, with drop-offs between 8am and 9.30am and pick-ups from 4.30pm to 6pm.

Karyn, from Chorley, and Marie, from Buckshaw Village, plan to invest £40,000 in the centre, named Buddies.

They worked together in the animal health industry, with Karyn as operations manager and Marie as admin manager at Practice Plan For Vets in Leyland.

They set up Buddies as a dog walking service in September and have been looking for a premises for their own day care centre.

They have secured a loan through a Government scheme to open it.

Karyn said: “It is quite a big centre. I’m totally excited.

“We are chomping at the bit to get started.”

Among the facilities would be a hydrotherapy pool and a treadmill to help the dogs get fit. Karyn, 41, said: “When the centre opens we will be running a fat club for dogs, which will incorporate a swim in the pool.

“It’s also good for any dogs who have lost a limb or had a stroke or any other problems.”

They hope to follow the success of other dog day care centres.

Karyn said: “People pay for their pets. When the economy was struggling over the last five to six years, the pet health business was rising.

“More and more, when people are buying expensive pets, they want somewhere for them to be safe when they are at work.”

A decision on the planning application is expected in January and the centre could open in March.

The pair would run the centre themselves and they hope to attract a self-employed groomer and volunteers.

Karyn said: “If we hit the ground running and can take staff on, fantastic.

“But we are taking everything extremely cautiously.”