I’ve always adored animals and had a desire to care for them. One of my earliest memories is going out to the garden with my Granny to leave food out for a family of hedgehogs!
I worked in corporate roles after university including a job in the city. After experiencing a volunteer day at work, with my friend Anna where we spent it with an animal charity, I knew I wanted to do some more volunteering with animals! I started to volunteer with a local volunteer group in St Albans for an animal assistance charity at the weekends. A full time temporary role came up at the charity and I jumped at the chance to work with dogs! Although it was a risk to leave a steady well paid job, I had to do it. I applied and was successful.
During my time at the charity I met some remarkable, resilient people who carried on living the life they chose to despite experiencing sight loss. As I mentioned, it was a maternity cover contract and I wanted to continue working with animals but didn’t know where to start.. I was panicking a bit. That’s where the Princes Trust business plan gave me structure, support and confidence and a fantastic volunteer mentor to make my business into a reality. I feel very proud and privileged to have had the Princes Trust support and my Mum and I were invited to a garden party Buckingham Palace to celebrate Prince Charles’ 70th Birthday Patronage. It was great to meet other entrepreneurs who had also set up businesses with the Princes Trust’s support and learn more about the hundreds of charities Prince Charles supports.
After three years of providing pet care services, I got the animal behaviour and training buzz! I completed a canine coaching diploma and have now have expanded our services into dog training and puppy training. I’m thrilled that I’ve been accepted to the University of Edinburgh, at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. I begin an online professional development programme in clinical animal behaviour. It’s my first step before doing a masters in clinical animal behaviour and applying to become a certified clinical animal behaviourist. I’m really excited to have a new goal to work towards.
I’ve previously volunteered for the Blue Cross education team and provided talks across schools in Hertfordshire ranging from how to look after different pets on how to stay safe around dogs. I’ve also volunteered on the Blue Cross’ Pet Bereavement support line – losing a pet can mean losing a best friend. As a volunteer I listen to people and provide emotional support on the phone who have experienced pet loss.
I was thrilled to win a ‘Woo Hoo’ achievement award’ – recognition for my achievements in the St Albans Business community.
My client nominated me in the ‘dream achiever’ category for accomplishing my dream of caring for animals, and the care I showed to her dog Bud and the help I gave to her elderly Mum as Bud was staying with her, whilst his human had a well-earned break!
We were thrilled that Albany Pet Services was nominated as ‘best dog walking and pet sitting business’ in Global Health and Pharma’s 2018 awards. I’m really proud after 3 years in business to have reached the final of the Best Business Women Awards in the Best Young Entrepreneur category.
When I’m not working with animals I love taking part in improvisation workshops and my local theatre group.
We have a fantastic team here at Albany Pet Services who have lots of practical animal care experience. Asher Gilbert and Millie Llyod – Griffith’s both have animal care and management qualifications from Oaklands college. Elliot Thomas Bolton is currently studying Animal Care and Management at Oaklands. Asher is studying Animal Behaviour & Welfare at University Centre Reaseheath and competed 300 hours work experience at an animal rescue centre. He has also volunteered for the Cinnamon Trust charity that supports older people walk their dogs and currently volunteers at an animal assistance charity. Asher is specialising in Canine Clinical Behaviour, now he’s going into his third year. Millie has experience working at a groomers and a veterinary centre and Elliot has had work experience at Paradise Wildlife Park.