A little about us

The proprietor, Nicola Richardson, qualified as a dog groomer after completing her City & Guilds grooming training at Bishop Burton College. This was a change in career and lifestyle, having previously worked at Swanland Primary School and the University of Hull. Always having a love for animals, Nicola wanted to take the leap from passion to vocation. Nicola started her new career by opening Sparkle Dog Grooming in Swanland in 2013 and a strong and loyal customer base quickly developed. The request to look after customers dogs, either for the day or whilst they went on holiday, was frequently made. We simply didn’t have the space to accommodate other dogs alongside our own two dogs, two cats, hens, fish and the tortoise!

Husband James first came to East Yorkshire to study at the University of Hull, a good choice as it is where he met Nicola. James works in Sheffield and enjoys coming home to the sanctuary of Rowley Cottage at the foot of the Yorkshire Wolds. The kennels are a ‘family business’ and James supports Nicola in all aspects of the business (from marketing through to maintenance) and the children are able ‘doggy play time’ assistants and dog walkers.

When Rowley Cottage came onto the market we saw the opportunity to move ‘up the road’ from Swanland to a property with the outdoors space to open a dog boarding kennel with good grounds for walking. The amount of times we had driven, and even cycled, past Rowley Cottage we never dreamed that one day we would be fortunate enough to live here.  Rowley Cottage dates back to the mid-18th century and has been improved and altered by successive owners and now nestles within the farming community that surrounds us.

Nicola is also a qualified Animal First Aider and gained invaluable practical experience at the Hull Animal Welfare Trust in South Cave looking after dogs that may be a little vulnerable and nervous in a new kennel environment.


Learn more about Rowley Cottage Kennels

When we moved to Rowley Cottage we wanted to open  dog kennels we would like our dogs to stay in: warm and dry; plenty of walks and play time; someone who will take the time to get to know the dogs and respond to their needs; safe and secure; and a rural environment.  The location was known to us, as we previously lived in nearby Swanland and James once lived in neighbouring Little Weighton. The whole area, at the southern foot of the Yorkshire Wolds, has long been a favourite place to walk our own dogs so we embraced the chance to live here.

In 2015 we bought and assembled a Mitton Hall Kennel System and installed heating and lighting. We also worked with East Riding of Yorkshire Council to meet their strict animal welfare conditions to get the license to operate. In 2018 we began the refurbishment of the kennels to meet the new national licensing standards. New larger and fully insulated sleeping areas were constructed for each lodge, with upgraded heating, lighting, floors and drainage. This has vastly improved the space and comfort for our guests.

Sparkle Dog Grooming continues to thrive, now incorporated as part of the kennel business, and Nicola offers the service to dogs that are staying with us. We converted a stable into a grooming facility with hot and cold running water and all the quality grooming equipment you’ll find at a high street grooming parlour. However, we still only take one dog at a time. This attentive level of care is what helped Sparkle Dog Grooming to take off in the early days so we have kept that approach.