Somerset park’s canine 999 courses for dog lovers

Fur emergencies

Fur emergency use only: canine first-aid skills are being taught at the Old Oaks in Glastonbury

The Fido-friendly Glastonbury holiday park which puts dogs on centre stage is now offering to turn owners into pooch paramedics if a medical emergency arises.

Old Oaks Touring park will in 2016 be running a series of one-day canine first aid courses to equip owners with the skills to deal with a bilious Bonzo or a poorly Paddy.

Run by professional pet care specialists, it will teach how to respond in a range of emergencies from insect stings and fight bites to drowning, heat stroke and swallowing a ball.

Last year, the Old Oaks was highlighted in the media as possibly the UK’s most dog friendly park, thanks to the number of facilities it provides.

For example, muddy mutts are never a problem, thanks to a special hot water doggy shower – and dogs have their own dedicated washing machine and dryer to keep bedding fresh and sweet.

Dog days

Dog days camping at the Old Oaks

Free-range romping is encouraged with a large securely-fenced exercise field with views across to the Mendips, and the park has compiled a list of country walks which start and finish at its gates.

It has also researched local attractions and places to eat which welcome pets, and has teamed up with a local dog walking business which will take the lead when owners wish to venture out alone.

Dogs even have their own parking lot at the park: a safe area where they can be tethered outside the shower buildings while master or mistress go about their business inside.

However, it’s not just dogs which get the red carpet treatment at ten-acre park, for the Old Oaks has also been praised by botanist David Bellamy for its protection of wildlife.

The park, which lies just behind Glastonbury’s world-famous tor, was this year presented once again with Professor Bellamy’s Conservation Award at its top gold level.

Its initiatives include a butterfly walk planted with high nectar-bearing flowers, and a half-acre fishing lake which is a magnet for wildfowl, kingfishers, and dragonflies.

James and Tara White are the husband-and-wife management team at the Old Oaks Touring Park which has been in the same family’s ownership for over 30 years.

According to Tara, the park has always extended a warm welcome to visitors’ dogs – and says there is already strong interest in the canine first aid courses:

“We have long been popular with responsible pet owners, so it’s perhaps not surprising that many are keen to know how to respond if an emergency does arise.

“Possessing the skills to save a dog’s life are obviously valuable – but so is having the confidence to use them, and that’s also what this course will aim to provide,” added Tara.

There is more on the park’s website at– and a link to where the courses can be booked on-line, both by park guests and local residents (see

Courses will be run on 11 March, 13 May, 08 July, 09 September, and 11 November this year.