About Paula’s Pet Services
How I literally fell into dog walking and setting up my successful pet business.
I’m not going to lie it’s a pretty tragic story but, I want to warn you, it has a very happy ending.
I have always had a huge love for animals and considered a career as a Vet when I was in high school. But science was not my strong point, and a few weeks working at a boarding kennels on work experience actually ignited a fear of dogs during my late teenage years. Looking back it was a very weird fear in reaction to a fearful dog coming into a very strange and uncomfortable environment for itself, shall we say in a very vocal way.
One of my first jobs was to then walk this dog, and to do so I needed to use a slip lead to put around his head. Now I know dogs on a completely different level, I completely understand how anxious he was feeling, and not being used to other dogs, he was reacting in the best way he knew how. Rewind back to my teenage self, completely shit myself!
So I backed away from working with animals and went down the route of working with children. I completed my main 3 year degree, took about an 8 year gap between that degree and my final year of PGCE. Why was this you may ask? Being honest, I wanted to wait, earn some money, live a little and come back to it with a mature head on. I think it made a huge difference to me to go out into the world for a little while. I learnt how to be in 9-5 jobs whilst holding down a part time job that often worked through into the early hours.
I was working hard for little money, but at the same time meeting lots of great people and letting my hair down a bit. I always had 2-3 jobs on the go at any one time to try and earn extra. But I knew that there had to be a better way for me and my brain started to drift back to my goal to become a Primary School Teacher. So after many years of having time out, I started to volunteer at the weekend at play schemes and eventually quit my office job and took a massive pay cut to work as a Teaching Assistant, to make sure I could get onto my final PGCE year. It worked and I completed my year of study, got a permanent full time position as a SEN teacher, and was in my 4th year when IT happened.
Crash, Bang, Whallop! I completely stacked it! Fell to the ground and fractured my hip in such a bad way that I could not walk on it for nearly a year! I had to make the hard decision to give up my job, my amazing pay, and focus on learning to walk again. I didn’t know how long this would take from beginning to end. Similar to this lockdown, it was just getting extended out and out. If someone would have told me at the very beginning how long it would take, I may have had a mental meltdown. But if anything, I am positive, my work ethic is strong and I had a strong family base around me to keep pushing me.
Walking, without any support from crutches, took me 10 months. After 22 months, Paula’s Pet Services was born and it is going to hit its 5 year anniversary on 19th May.
How did it come about? On one of my daily walks, I met a family friend for a coffee. She mentioned how she helped her next door neighbour by walking their dog. Like a lightbulb, I immediately looked into whether this is something I could do, set up a Facebook page and the rest is history.
“How can she walk dogs when she is so scared of them?” You may ask. Well it happened that I grew out of that fear as the years went on and didn’t feel it at all. I am actually a little bit gobsmacked that any teenager, unqualified and untrained, would be asked to do the jobs I was asked to do. Knowing how wrong it could actually go, and how dogs completely feed off energy. At no point was my fear enhanced or consolidated from ages 16 to 36, when I started my business, so it hasn’t lingered one bit. In fact, it’s the opposite. I want to learn and understand more about all dogs and their triggers and loves
One of my first jobs was for a large female Irish blue staffy, who is just gorgeous. She is strong, she is vocal, and she is sassy. I adore her. As any professional knows, you get to know your dogs before you take on any jobs. The owner was particularly interested in meeting quite a few times to get to know me, for the dog to get to know me and as it was a long pet sit in their home, it was really important to build up that mutual trust and respect.
I’ve always had a huge empathy for humans and animals and wanting to help in anyway to have a happy and healthy life. Now I’m lucky enough to work closely with both.
Just back home from 3 weeks in Spain to find a very happy doggy indeed and an immaculate house!
Clean linen on the spare bed, washing done, plants watered, parcels taken in, house spotless!!! Just an all round fantastic, worry free service. From the photos/videos Paula sent me, it’s obvious she has loved Roxy as her own and treated our home the same way.
So delighted to have found her and would thoroughly recommend her to anyone. I would never put my dog in kennels so for me, this was the clear option.
Plenty more bookings coming your way Paula, Roxy will miss her new friend xxxxx