Having spent almost a working lifetime sitting behind a desk in an office 9-5 (and the rest), it is great to be able to combine business (we get paid for this) with pleasure (it's tremendous fun to walk and care for dogs). Incidentally, I did business insurance, so rest assured all that side is catered for. Growing up I had a Jack Russel terrier and although both my wife and I love dogs and our daughters would have loved them too, unfortunately dogs didn't feature in our early years of marriage. We liked to camp abroad too much. Later and whilst the children were still able to appreciate the benefits of a dog in the household, we became puppy walkers and boarders for Guide Dogs for the Blind. We have also looked after a succession of miscellaneous dogs for various freinds over the years.
Growing up, there was always a wire-haired fox terrier in the house - Judy, then Hector (how my dad hated what my sister called him) and Scamp (Dad's retalliation). As David has said, we didn't have a dog of our own, mainly because I couldn't leave one in kennels. But we have always minded other people's - my mum's yorkie, my friend's 57 with her tiny pups - Aww!, other friends' labs, boxers, lurchers etc. Eventually we succumbed to our daughters' plea to have a dog when we saw a sign for puppy walkers. (We knew they would be well cared for back in the Guide Dog Centre.) "We'll show them how hard it is to have a dog - we know they'll soon get fed up of taking it a walk, and clearing up after it." But give them their due, they were marvellous, and really did their fair share - of everything. And so we continued to puppy walk for Guide Dogs, or board for them. And now, one daughter, approaching 30 is thinking of taking it up again.
But now, after teaching, then computer programming and looking after a family from children to grandparents, we have decided to try to make a go of it. We're trying very hard to enjoy working! When we had a mid-life crisis, we went off doing studenty things - campsite repping in Italy, or chalet hosting in the French Alps, and now we're settling down again - to look after dogs!
And so.... here we are.
Actually that's not quite true. On occasions, one or both of our daughters may be home - and they were responsible for us getting involved in Guide-Dog puppy walking in the first place. This is Nikki, with Molli. We NEVER let dogs on our furniture - honestly!!! Apart from when Nikki has just returned from Vietnam, (currently in China).
"Other daughter", Alexia, is medically qualified - OK, not in dogs, but we're not THAT dissimilar, are we? And she is a more frequent visitor, not being based in Asia! Pictured here being squashed by George and Mildred (sorry, "Millie").
All the dogs adore Alexia's husband if he and Alexia are around - even before he runs up hills and down dales with them. Much more energetic than us!