Hello, I’m Lisa and I’ve always adored animals and had an innate desire to care for them. One early memory is going out to the back yard with my Granny to leave food out for a family of hedgehogs who resided there!
After working in several corporate roles since university, including a job in the city, my experience volunteering for a day with my friend Anna at an animal charity, inspired me to volunteer with animals! I began volunteering with a local group in St Albans for an animal assistance charity at 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 job, I simply had to go for 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. Their tenacity of spirit really inspired me to start my own business. I felt that pet care would be the perfect role for me as I know pets are members of the family and I’d feel really privileged to care for them. Then with the more research I did, I realised there was a whole world of services that are there to help animals, not simply veterinary or guide dog trainer roles. I had lots of ideas swimming in my head about the different services I could offer later on down the line but I didn’t know how to start, I’d never been a manager let a lone run my own business! That’s where the Princes Trust business plan gave me the structure, support, confidence and a fantastic volunteer mentor to make my business into a reality. I feel proud and privileged having received Princes Trust support, and was invited with my Mum to a garden party at Buckingham Palace to celebrate Prince Charles’ 70th Birthday Patronage! It was a fantastic day and the cucumber sandwiches were very fancy!
After three years of providing pet care services, I got the animal behaviour and training buzz! There was so much to learn about animals. I completed a canine coaching diploma and have now have expanded our services into dog and puppy training. I’m thrilled to be accepted by the University of Edinburgh, at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. I begin an online professional development programme in clinical animal behaviour, and this is my first step towards more postgraduate animal behavioural training. I’ve previously volunteered for the Blue Cross education team and I provided talks across schools in Hertfordshire ranging from how to look after different pets, and 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, 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 were recognised in Lux Life Pet Product Awards for best Bespoke Pet Care & Training Services Provider – Hertfordshire & Excellence Award for Innovative Puppy Training Sessions. I am really excited to be a finalist in the 2020 Best Business Women Awards for Best Business Woman working with Children & Families and the SME Awards for family business of the year.
It’s so important to teach children about how to care for pets, how to interact with them and how pets learn. Children are often the best trainers and ask the best questions that gets my thinking cap on! We understand pets are family members and families can be busy with hospital appointments, maternity appointments and working long hours – we have a flexible approach to time, are available 365 days and have core family values at the heart of our business. We get to know the family and what their needs are and how we can help them. Seeing pets come out of their shell and gain confidence like a dog who was rescued from the streets in Europe makes my heart swell. I’m really proud to have been part of her journey and help build her confidence so she feels safer around dogs and doesn’t have to react out of fear.
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.