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General Handlers

Dave Holden and Bernadette Kerbey

The move to France

Dave Holden and Bernadette Kerbey moved across to live in France in June 2006, after several years of renovation and running repairs.

‘Arffa' arrives

Being in their own property and with a bit of ground gave them the chance to make room for a dog in the family – "Arffa” was born in the May of that year so was ready to move in ...

But where to get a good dog food?

Unhappy with the quality of the dog food available Dave and Bernadette were getting food brought out from the UK by various visitors.

Arffa and Bernadette began attending sheepdog lessons with Mike Hall – another new arrival to France and when discussing the lack of a decent affordable food in France Mike said he used to feed CSJ when he was in the UK.

The answer - bring the best dog food from the UK to France!

By now they had Arffa's brother ‘Fly' and had found ‘Rab' an abandoned puppy on the roadside on their way to a skiing trip. The back of family cars seemed to be an untenable way of continuing to get dog food, so in 2009 Bernadette arranged to get two pallets delivered between themselves and the Hall's.

The rest is history - people locally were so impressed with the food and the price that ‘Chez Arffa' was born.

"We now have customers in Switzerland and the Pyrenees and regularly post food to other parts of France.

We are delighted with the food and are finding that our satisfied customers are our best advertisement - we seem to be getting one or two new customers a week, and now stock 10 CSJ adult foods, 3 CSJ puppy foods and Natural Cat.”

What's more …. there wasn't a good beer available

In Dec 2007 Dave and Bernadette started up a small a microbrewery ‘Brasserie Sabot' as there seemed to be a shortage of decent "Real Ale” available locally.

This started with 4 beers – an IPA, a Dark Lager, a Smoked Beer and a Biere de Garde.

The ‘beer situation' now

Brasserie Sabot currently makes 10 different beers – all produced by the traditional single mash method, using only barley malts, hop flowers, yeast and water – using dried seaweed as a clarification medium.

The beers range from 3.2° – 6/7° ABV, and include a hoppy bitter, a brown ale, a smoked beer, an IPA, a porter, a dark lager and a biere de garde. There is a blond chilli beer and a brown beer conditioned with either chilli or ginger root.

The couple's first year in operation took them to the first festival of beer in the Limousin, last year there were two festivals of beer and in 2010 year there are four, so they seem to have arrived at about the right time!

What Dave and Bernadette say about CSJ

"Our three dogs are a lively, healthy and energetic bunch – a good advertisement to the quality of their diet. Rab and Fly have recently started Agility lessons where CSJ ‘Poppets' have become popular as training treats with other attendees.”

And on a final note………… they told CSJ

"In fact the currency of CSJ food is so high – we traded food for sheep – Arffa got 8 ewes for his birthday so we can get a bit of herding practice at home. Perhaps with the problems with the banks it could become a world currency.”

Chez Arffa can be contacted on 00 33 555 604720 or via www.chezarffa.com

Fly at 22 months

Fly at 22 months

Rab at 17 months

Rab at 17 months

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Just thought I would send a quick follow up e mail now that my boys have been on the food for a few weeks. What can I say, we are over the moon with the transition.  The Lamb and Rice has worked best for Charlie (with the sensitive tummy) so I have just placed another order for that one, it was also the one one that all three were more drawn to during the taste test.  We are continuing to see a reduction in the size of Jakes Lipomas which is fantastic and something we never thought would happen we initially just wanted to prevent them from growing, all three of the dogs seem to have an extra spring in their step which is lovely to see especially in Jake who is back to chasing every duck, squirrel and rabbit!  The NO Ake has also been a success.  We took Rhandle to the vets for his med check up just in case but since being on the no ake he has been off the metacam completely :-).  He had a routine post opp appointment with the specialist yesterday who was also very impressed with his progress, Rhandles shoulder is considered an end stage joint so he had never thought he would be free from strong pain relief. We couldn't be happier and I would like to say a huge thank you for your advice.

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