Love of Dogs and All Things Canine Leads to Castleisland Business Initiative

John Kelleher at his Bridge View Pet Grooming and Kennels base at home in Sandville House, Castleisland with another of his VIP clients, ‘Dixie’ the Hungarian Puli. ©Photograph: John Reidy
John Kelleher at home in the historic Sandville House, Castleisland  from where he runs the business.  ©Photograph: John Reidy

A lifelong association with dogs and a love of all things canine led Castleisland farmer  John Kelleher to pursue a career as a pet groomer – while still keeping an eye on the land.

An opportunity arose to enroll in an animal care course at the Kerry College Listowel Campus a couple of years ago and John jumped at the chance.

Graduating from this course in June 2018, he set up his grooming business in one of the many out-houses on the farmyard at the historic,1600s built Sandville House.

Kenneling Service

Since then, in January 2019, he has added a kenneling business to become Bridge View Pet Grooming and Kennels and to service to the dog loving population of his hinterland and beyond.

“I was reared with dogs and my father always had them here and between greyhounds and farmyard dogs they were a constant presence here.

“Grooming can take anything from an hour and a half to over a couple of hours and it all depends on the size and temperament of the dogs involved,” said John.

Nails And Tails And Everything Else

“There’s washing and drying and trimming of nails and tails and everything else the dog is in need of when they come in.

“Business is good enough for me to be thankful that I went for that course when it came up. People are looking after their dogs or pets now better than they ever did and if you provide the service they’re looking for you’ll get the business.

“We board dogs here for as long as their owners want them here. We kept one dog here for six weeks some time ago as his owners were moving house.

Treated as Any Guests Would Be

“They’re treated here as any guests would be in any hotel. They all have comfortable, warm beds and generous unit spaces and they’re out exercising a few times every day and we also have an open-air, astro-turf run for them.

“There’s a great mix in class and breed coming here regularly and we’ve had all creatures great and small in the canine world from the St. Bernards and the Newfoundlands to the Jack Russell and smaller,” he said.

Dixie – The Hungarian Puli

In fact just as I arrived at Sandville House on Friday, John was walking out a Hungarian Puli ‘Dixie’ on which he had just done an all over treatment – and he ranked it as one of the most exotic dogs he’s had the pleasure of working with.

Of all the breeds John has handled he found the ordinary, farmyard shepherd dogs the most unpredictable and the most likely to ‘show you the teeth.’

“That would surprise many people now and I found out that you couldn’t turn your back on them.

Golden Retriever – A Pleasure

Then, the Golden Retriever is the exact opposite and a pleasure to groom and work with.

“No matter what kind of dog I’m dealing with I love the job and there’s so much satisfaction going with it.

“I’d highly recommend going back to college for anyone who wants to do something they always wanted to.

“The college in Listowel was such a huge help to me and I couldn’t say enough about the teachers, Theresa O’Brien and Pauline Mallaby.

Still Friends and Keeping in Touch

“They did everything they could for us while we were there. It was a a pleasure to go over there every day. There was a gang of around 12 of us in that class from the age of 17 to just over 60 years and we’re still all friends and we keep in touch.

“I did my college work experience term with Kiera’s Grooming Boutique in Rock Street in Tralee and that gave me great guidance and encouragement in setting up my own business here,” said John.

Safe in Their Beds

The current sharp rise in the theft of dogs throughout the country has prompted John to install a modern day surveillance camera and alarm system to keep his special guests safe in their beds while in his care at Bridge View Pet Grooming and Kennels.

Historically Interesting Sandville House

The kennels and grooming business are based at the historically interesting Sandville House on the Killarney Road just outside Castleisland.

The house has been described as a picturesque small sized country house, which probably has elements dating back to the late 1600s.

Believed to have been built by the Herberts – with various additions over the years and with a town-land address in Dysart, the building is of special architectural and historical interest and is included on the protected structures list.

Presentation Order Founder

It was in this house in 1798 that a baby girl was born and, in time, she became Mother Joseph Harnett – the founder of the Presentation Order in Castleisland in October 1846 and four years later she established the Presentation school here.

A marble plaque in honour of Mother Joseph Harnett (1798 – 1888) was unveiled in the Church of Saints Stephen and John in Castleisland on October 13th.1998 to mark the bi-centenary of her birth.

Castleisland’s library was also dedicated to her achievements and memory with the unveiling of a plaque in the building on June 21st 2016.

John Kelleher and his Bridge View Pet Grooming and Kennels can be contacted on: 087 125 5087 or follow him on Facebook.

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