5 Cheshire businesses that cater for dog owners
- Credit: Archant
Meet the Cheshire business owners who’ve cottoned on to the canine craze and made a success from their passion for pooches
As research shows the average dog owner in the UK spends around £1,150 a year on their pet, it's no surprise that dog lovers are finding increasingly inventive ways to turn their passion for pooches into a profit.
And so, should you wish to give your dog the Cheshire Set life we all deserve, chances are you can. From dog therapy to furry fashion to bespoke photoshoots, today's notion of spoiling your furry friend goes far beyond letting them sneak onto the sofa for a treat.
Take No More Kennels, a luxury dog hotel and spa in Penketh near Warrington. Rebeckah Vaughan founded the business because she wanted to offer people true peace of mind when they left their dogs to go on holiday.
At No More Kennels, dogs have luxury human-sized beds in suites with HDTV's and deep-piled rugs in every room. For fun in the daytime, there is a chill-out zone, an agility arena and an outdoor play area, not to mention that they'll be treated to incredible food such as charcuterie platters or fresh line-caught cod with rice and raw vegetables.
'We have a team of dog nannies who will care for every dog throughout the day and night, so if it's 3am and your dog wants to watch a movie whilst sitting on their nanny's lap then so be it,' says Rebeckah. 'No dog is ever left to cry, we list every activity and every meal each day, so that you know exactly what kind of holiday your dog has had too.'
If your dog needs a little more than a luxury doggy retreat to get over the stresses of every day life, then consider sending him on a trip to see Lindsy Murray. As our modern understanding of our own wellbeing needs grow, it seems we are becoming more holistic and increasingly proactive in our approach to the welfare of our pets.
As a dog and horse behaviourist, Lindsy helps you understand the reasons behind your dog's unwanted behaviour and offers well-researched, ethical and practical solutions.
'I've owned a lot of rescue dogs and working with their behaviour problems led me to the work I do now,' says Lindsy. 'Fear and anxiety is often the cause of unwanted behaviours. Some dogs openly express their anxieties, yet many quietly struggle with the busy lives we lead and our expectancy for them to fit in.'
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Although she's not against group training, Lindsy is passionate about working with dogs on a deeper, personal level in order to make sure nothing is missed in their personality. She takes a more holistic view of the dog's whole life and how she can bring out the best in that animal.
'I work on three levels, either with dogs with a history of trauma, dogs who have varying behaviour problems, or I offer advice to owners of new puppies, making sure they have a positive start in life,' she says. 'It's about helping people recognise the subtle signs of stress in their dog and enabling them to make positive changes to prevent behaviour problems arising. This way we can ensure we are providing the best we can for these amazing animals that we want to share our lives with.'
Dog photographer Jonathan Yearsley also enjoys bringing out the personality of dogs, and loves capturing special memories for people to cherish. Based on the Cheshire/North Wales border, Jonathan followed his own love for the animals to make a career out of it. 'I love being able to capture elements of the dog's character that only the client sees,' he says.
He shoots in both the studio and on location. In Cheshire, he likes to use Delamere Forest and the Sandstone Trail. 'My clients really like to book me for the big landscape vista shots,' he says. 'I have a bit of a gun dog bias, and they are best suited to capturing them on the hillside.'
Speaking of special memories, when people think of the most important day of their life, it's often their wedding day that will spring to mind. Now, with more people thinking of their pet as a central part of their family unit, incorporating a dog into a wedding day has become top of the wedding checklist.
But few people have the first clue about how to facilitate the logistics of achieving this. Step in Precious Pets Micro ID, a company set up by husband and wife team Emma and Adrian Cartlich to fill this void. After taking their idea of wedding chaperoning for dogs to a wedding fair, they were amazed at the huge response they had. 'We offer full-day dog care, so we'll pick the dog up early doors and take it for a walk. We'll then dress it up and put the accessories on before chaperoning them in their own little wedding car with ribbons,' says Emma.
'We also send behind-the-scenes photos of the dog travelling there, waiting and getting ready.' As ring-bearer specialists, they can also make sure your dog delivers the rings smoothly. 'There's a mechanism we use and it's always worked perfectly,' smiles Emma. 'We always do a face-to-face meet and greet first, get the full journey of what their requirements are and then put a plan together with the bride and groom.'
Emma tells me how much it means to her clients to have their dogs at the wedding. 'We take all the stresses away,' she says. 'They want their dog there and we make it happen without them having to think about it.'
It's not just occasions that owners want their dogs looking smart for though, and Natalie Chapman realised this quite quickly when she set up her business,Millie and Bailey. The brand creates handmade, beautiful dog accessories from tweed collars, leads and bow ties to bespoke rope collars tailored to your dog. 'I've always done sewing with my Grandma and then once I got dogs, I always wanted to make things for them,' explains Natalie. 'After putting some stuff on Etsy, the business really took off when Ginger & Browns in Northwich got in touch to stock the products.'
It continues to go from strength to strength. 'I change the colours up for the seasons,' she tells me. 'I like getting pictures of dogs with the finished products. A lot of the dogs have Instagram accounts and people really go to town, so it's nice to share the happiness with them.'