I was at Reid Kerr college, learning computers. I loved it! It was the 90’s, Oasis were battling against Blur to top the charts and I learned I had a brain after years of disinterest at school and I was doing really well. Then one day I quit and became a carer for a family member – I was 18 years old. It was a tough life, living on nothing but benefits, working as a full time carer. I saw people I went to school with progress, build careers, find partners, buy homes, have children but my life never changed. I did this for 14 years, but in 2009 my role as a carer ended. I tried to find work but was unemployed for 6 months. Who’d hire a 32 year old with no job experience? With the recession and having no work experience finding a job, any job was hard.
Being my own boss and owning my very own business felt amazing, it was empowering but there was a major problem – I had no dogs to walk, no transport, was making no money, had no money to invest in my business and not to mention the three other established dog walking businesses strutting their stuff in my area! I had to let people know that Bishopton dog walking services existed, was ready to roll and tell people to choose me over the others… but how? I started by making all my own leaflets on the computer, printing them out and then posting them through every single door in Bishopton. I then saved up and got business cards made. With time on my hands and no other options I even learnt how to make a website! With no car I borrowed a bike from my brother so I could cycle to any dogs I needed to walk. I posted all the leaflets I made through every single home in Bishopton and made my website, weeks passed but I never received a single phone call – things became pretty desperate. Then one day the phone rang with someone asking me to walk their dog. They were from Renfrew and their dog was a show cocker spaniel named Jay! I was now a professional!!
For over 6 months I went back to using the bike, cycling in the rain, back into that head-wind but eventually and after a bit of saving I bought another car. Slowly but surely a foundation was being placed and I began to get known, became better at making my website and promoting my biz and 1 year after I started I began to blog about my pet care. In October 2011 I bought a 2005 Chevrolet estate but frustratingly that car was jinxed as it cost £3000 in repairs and I gladly replaced it with a 2004 Citroen Berlingo!
After the owners of some dogs I walked in Renfrew no longer required a dog walker and I got some new dogs in Bishopton I decided to let Renfrew go and concentrate more on being a Bishopton and Erskine dog walker. It was such a tough choice but I knew that eventually I would either have to choose Bishopton & Erskine or the Renfrew area and that there would come a point where I couldn’t do both.
In the past I used to walk dogs in Finlaystone around 2 o’clock and meet and chat to many dog owners and would even meet up with an owner when I visited so our dogs could play. Nowadays my afternoon walk has moved to Langbank, dog walking at Knockmountain.
So after being first aid trained, I continued with my blogging and quietly worked away, collecting more dogs to walk and cats to feed and with the help of a canine dietitian I began adding delicious ingredients to make dog food recipes for dog lovers. By 2014 I was full… I didn’t realise it till one day I found I had more dogs to walk than I could walk. So I hired a good friend of mine named Sheena and she became my helper until 2015 when she moved to Wales and started her own dog walking business with her dog Marley. I now am back to working on my own and I’m happy being a one man band.
A few months later I was sitting at home for a quick lunch (as it always is) when the phone rang. It was a journalist named Antonella Lazzeri and she was writing an article about dog food vs human food and wanted my advice. So feeling kinda startled and with half a pie hanging out my mouth I answered her questions. And you can read that article she wrote here.
So that was how the first 5 years or so of my business went and wow what a journey…