Images by Jame Farm Days
I’ve found doggy heaven — and it’s right here in the Adelaide Hills!
Dog owners — sit, stay and LISTEN UP! I come to you with the good-est of news! I’ve found a wondrous place for your four-legged friends that will have them thinking they’ve died and crossed the rainbow bridge. It’s called Jame Farm Days and I cannot WAIT to tell you about it!
A bit of background — my family rescued a dog in January. A big, goofy, beautiful mutt who we named Dougal. Other than being a rural NSW vagabond, his history was rather vague. Curiosity got the better of us and we did a DNA test to see what breeds this quirky fella had in him. We found out that amongst many things, he is part Kelpie, part Border Collie and part Great Dane. So basically, we have a very large, very clever and very energetic hound on our hands. Oh boy!
Needless to say, it takes a lot to wear him out, and if he doesn’t get his ‘required’ dose of exercise… something will pay the price. Our irrigation system and lawn (now a swamp after all his hard work cultivating) can vouch for this! Dougal also learned that he could jump effortlessly onto the kids’ trampoline, (which he has now officially claimed as his own). Jumping onto the trampoline was basically his gateway drug to bigger and better things and soon enough, he realised he could also jump over our front fence. (There’s that bloomin’ Kelpie in him). We hadn’t realised this until one day he was found having a grand old time bounding around the neighbourhood like a bull in a china shop. Some good samaritans caught him and gave us the call that heart attacks are made of! Dougal was thankfully returned home safely but when I locked eyes with him after his little escapade, he basically side-eyed me smugly like, ‘YOLO Mum!’ The nerve!
So it’s clear our boy likes adventure, and if he doesn’t get it, he’ll take matters into his own hands, or giant paws in his case.
But friends — I’ve found a solution!
James Farm Days is an outdoor doggy daycare located on 10 acres of farmland in the Adelaide Hills. Just picture the sights, the smells and the SPACE they get to explore, all whilst socialising with a pack of other furry friends! The best part is, they come and pick your dog up from your choice of 20 designated ‘pup stops’ around Adelaide and then drop them back to that same spot at the end of the day. There’s no trekking up the freeway at the crack of dawn to drop them off and you’re therefore left with more time to get on with your day without a certain ‘bossy britches’ demanding attention, exercise, or in my case, finding something to destroy.
When I first made contact with the team at Jame Farm Days, I wasn’t sure if Dougal would be able to attend because he’s 8 months old but not desexed yet due to being such a large breed. But there’s no discrimination here guys — they have a special day once a fortnight for ‘whole male dogs’ who are still offered the opportunity to enjoy all the pleasure the farm has to offer, and not be shamed if they momentarily succumb to their urges for certain other ‘pleasures’, if you know what I mean! Obviously they keep an eye on every dogs’ behaviour and let you know if your dog is more focussed on doing the ‘happy-time twerk’ than enjoying the farm. But in general they find the doggos are so stimulated with everything around them, that it doesn’t tend to be an issue.
I was so excited to book Dougal into his first farm day and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face as we drove to his designated pup-stop for the 8am pickup. Being that he will likely be desexed in the next month or so, it felt like he was going on his last hoorah as a ‘whole male.’ A bucks show for his balls if you will. With that being said, I couldn’t stop singing the Vengaboys song as the bus pulled up. ‘The Venga Bus is coming, and everybody’s jumping.’ (Or humping)? No shame, remember?! Haha!
They explained to me that some dogs are a bit hesitant for their first visit, not really understanding why they’re getting on a strange bus without their special hoomans. But oh no, not my Dougal — he was in true blue bucks-show mode and up for adventure. Our party boy jumped straight onto the bus and walked happily into his crate like he’d done it a hundred times. Again, ‘YOLO Mum!’ I drove off feeling very comfortable that my baby was in good hands. So comfortable in fact, that I couldn’t help singing the Vengaboys song again. ‘Hey now, hey now, here’s what I say now — happiness is just around the corner.’ (Or up the freeway near Nairne, to be specific).
One of the bonuses about the lovely and dedicated staff at Jame Farm Days is that they take photos and videos of your fur babies which they share with you throughout the day. It’s an absolute THRILL to see action shots of your dog living their best lives amongst the rolling hills, dams and tunnels and enjoying new scents as far as their happy little snouts can sniff. The joy on their faces is indescribable. Every session, the staff put a GPS tracker on 3 random dogs and Dougal was a lucky recipient on the day he visited. Our big goofball clocked up a whopping 29kms during his day on the farm! That’s a LOT of pavement pounding I’ve been excused from — praise be!
Another perk of this little slice of pooch paradise is that you can pay a bit extra to have your dog washed at the end of the day. So whether they’ve participated in some digging, had a dip in the dam, or are just covered in slobber from snout to tail — you can opt for the luxury of knowing you won’t have to deal with washing your pooch on their return home. For me this was a high priority as my giant mutt is a challenge to bathe. It’s like trying to fit Snuffleupagus in the shower!
When the Venga Bus pulled into the carpark for the 5pm pick up, I jumped out of my car with the excitement of a mum after their child’s first day of school. Dougal had apparently slept the whole way home and was led off the bus looking incredibly happy but absolutely TANKED! It was like a scene from The Hangover — a weathered buck stumbling off the bus groggy and dishevelled, but with a twinkle in his eye from the intoxicating adventure he’d just had. ‘YOLO Mum,’ is his motto afterall. And boy did he sleep that night — over 12 hours solid. In fact, I think he’s still slightly hungover.
If you have a dog that thrives on adventure, loves to socialise and has energy to burn, I HIGHLY recommend booking an experience at Jame Farm Days. We can’t wait to book our boy in again. For those who are familiar with the Rainbow Bridge poem… I’m pretty sure this place is the Earthside equivalent. AMEN to that!