It’s not uncommon for sons to follow in their father’s footsteps. Here’s the story of a family who has established a great reputation as experts in the dog training and boarding world!
From 1954 Will John taught his son Roy all there was to know about German Shepherds. In the early days, it was a hobby, but after Roy met his wife-to-be Yvonne, they decided to turn their hobby into a business. In 1959 Royvon was born! They both shared the love and admiration of the German Shepherd breed, judging all over the world. Together they developed the facility in the South Wales valleys that was Royvon’s founding location.
The Royvon story isn’t all joy and triumph, as in 1981 there was a tragic car accident where Yvonne and son Darren were seriously injured and Roy lost his life at just 43 years of age. The years that followed were understandably extremely hard for the family and the Royvon business suffered as a result. The extent nearly led to bankruptcy but the family’s love of passion for each other and their dogs was the saviour and Royvon was to triumph once again.
Darren was only 9 when the accident happened. However, his father instilled the passion for the business in him. As a result, Roy’s legacy lived on through Darren, Yvonne, and many associates that held Roy in such high regard. Darren often talks about the support he received from ‘dog people’ who constantly told him stories about how respected his father was and how great a ‘dog man’ he was.
A child being responsible for a German Shepherd is a big deal but Darren’s mam was sure that Darren was responsible enough to get his very own at 10 years old! On 25th December 1982, a puppy who’s name turned out to be ‘Merry’ (Merry Christmas) ran through the Royvon house straight to Darren and from that day onwards they were best friends.
Merry wasn’t a regular German Shepherd puppy she had the best German lines as Roy & Yvonne importing the best Germany had to offer and went to win top honours in both the show ring and obedience competitions. The two were inseparable, only by school – but all other times were playing together and learning in preparation for the weekend’s competitions. Who was to know that these events were the basis for Darren’s lifetime successful career in dog training?
Developing the business
The entrepreneur in Roy was embedded in his son Darren. Every aspect of Royvon life excited him, and he had the drive to push the business to become as successful as possible. In this case, success means helping as many dog owners as possible to resolve the challenges they face with their dogs behaviours! Darren made a conscious effort in his 20s to develop the business and employ trainers at his level so that more people can learn of the knowledge that had been gained from his father and his father before him.
Darren started off by practicing his dog training skills as a teenage boy on dogs staying at Royvon’s boarding kennels. It turned out that owners were literally ‘over the moon’ about what a young lad could do to turn their dog into a fully trained pooch while they were away on holiday!
It was soon established by Darren that it was owner training that was really needed for well-trained dogs, so that’s where his efforts were diverted so that the programme could be as helpful as possible to Royvon’s customers. Darren’s drive was even more fueled by large numbers of dog owners travelling the length and breadth of the country so that their dogs could go through the Royvon programme.
Nowadays, Royvon has expanded from the first location in Merthyr Tydfil, to include sites in Warwickshire and Surrey. And now, technology allows owners to have a totally transparent experience. All the work we do with our guests is online and available for owners to see their dog’s progress. Online training is also available for owners to learn virtually while our expert trainers work with their dogs, opening our method up to even more people.
Although tragedy had such an impact in the Royvon story, the story is a happy one with much love and passion to the life that we have been given. Dogs make many families happy and the Royvon family is one that will always be indebted to the love that has been received by our dogs over the years.