Couple take inspiration from own pets to open exercise space for sensitive dogs

Alison with Nellie and Mollie.

A couple have been inspired by their own dogs to launch an exercise and training paddock.

My Happy Hounds has opened near East Cowton by ‘chief woofing officers’ Harry and Alison Gray.

The inspiration for the business came from their dogs Mollie, Harvey, and Nellie.

Mollie, a once-timid stray adopted from Dogs Trust, overcame her fears and injuries to become a beloved family member. Although she prefers the company of familiar faces, Mollie thrives in open spaces where she can explore and unleash her energy.

Harvey, who joined the family in 2014, faced various health issues and developed anxiety towards other dogs after a traumatic incident.

The use of secure fields helped Harvey regain his confidence, as he knew he was safe from unwanted interactions, while Nellie, a lively Labradoodle, became part of the family after her previous owners couldn’t care for her due to her sheep-chasing tendencies.

Sadly, Harvey died in April but the pet has a paddock named after him.


Alison said: “As owners of sensitive dogs, we struggled to find safe spaces for our pets to exercise, leading to exhausting and stressful walks for us and our dogs.

“We dreamt of owning a secure area where dogs could run and play freely, witnessing the pure joy of dogs being dogs.”

With their own dogs’ experiences in mind, Harry and Alison created My Happy Hounds to cater to the needs of sensitive dogs.

The facility offers diverse, secure paddocks that minimize distractions and maximize fun.

Dogs of all breeds and sizes are welcomed, with the freedom to choose  areas for sniffing, digging, exploring, playing, running, or simply relaxing. Each paddock has its own secure parking area, ensuring privacy and preventing unexpected visitors.

Meanwhile, dog parents can unwind on the seating areas scattered throughout the paddocks.

Alison added: “At My Happy Hounds, the overarching vision is to create a happier life for dogs and their parents, regardless of breed or challenges faced. The values of fun, freedom, and safety guide their approach.

“Dogs engage in emotional, mental, and physical workouts, improving their quality of life and reducing undesirable behaviours.

“The paddocks offer a space for dogs to express their natural behaviours and learn new skills, whether through high-energy agility activities or a calming retreat.”

The couple have also teamed up with Natalie from Tees Valley Dog Training to offer a range of training opportunities to enhance the dog and owner bond.

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