We frequently hear inspiring stories about service dogs changing people’s lives for the better and the amazing work that therapy dogs do, but as 2019 draws to a close I have found myself becoming increasingly reflective on my own life and the impact that having Buddy has had on me personally.
I’ve been looking back over this year and the things I’ve done and as you might have guessed the #pawsontour2019 features in there heavily. As I sat and flicked through my extensive collection of photos from the Summer and the amazing places I visited I began to realise that if it wasn’t for Buddy I would never have dreamed of taking 2 months out my life to travel the country and see all the fantastic places I did. Not only has Buddy enriched my life on a day to day basis with his non-stop waggly tail, endless cuddles and funny antics always making me smile, but he has inspired me to do things I never thought I was capable of or dreamt of doing.
I am of course not just talking about the road trip or the fact that I was on the BBC One Show with Buddy as my co-star, but simply that Buddy is the reason I started K9Nation. If it wasn’t for being faced with the challenges of dog ownership 4 years ago I would never have been inspired to build the free dog owners platform to support my fellow pawrents throughout the UK. Since those early days of inception the idea has grown and evolved into the business it is today and is now set to be the fastest-growing social network of 2020 dedicated solely to dog owners in the UK.
I’ve learnt many lessons along the way so far in my entrepreneurial journey and one of the things that have amazed me so far is the level of support and goodwill out there amongst people in similar situations to me. It seems there is a definite trend in people being inspired by their dogs to take a chance and start a business that allows them to do something they are passionate about, which also gives them the flexibility to be the best pawrent they can. I know a huge motivator for me was being able to be my own boss and I could have Buddy with me while I worked.
As I scroll through my network of contacts I can find countless examples of dog owners whose furry friends inspired them to make a change in their life too and one such example is Karen from Luxury Dog Hampers.
Karen adopted her dog, Bailey, 12 years ago and as a loving pawrent spent a lot of time trying to research what was best for him, “For me, it was very important that I only gave the very best to Bailey and what I was giving him was safe and good for him.”
Over the years of Bailey’s life Karen had built up a successful business as a dog walker but a change had been on her mind for some time as Bailey had developed arthritic legs and leaving him home alone for long periods was not an option when he lost his hearing and became anxious. Her love for dogs meant she wanted to stay in the dog industry and she wanted a business that allowed her to work her life around looking after Bailey as he got older.
One evening Karen was watching a program about Fortnum and Mason and had her light bulb moment. She quickly identified a gap in the market for high-end luxury dog hampers. Her market research showed there were a few hampers for dogs but nothing like she had in mind and that's when Luxury Dog Hampers was born. Her own experience of wanting only the very best for Bailey meant she knew what her customers wanted and could understand their buying decisions.
Luxury Dog Hampers only include organic, 100% natural treats and you don't need a science degree to work out what's in them. The toys are chosen for their quality and how safe they are for your dog. With Christmas around the corner we think these beautiful hampers make the perfect festive gift for our fur babies and what we love most is that because the business is owned and being ‘driven’ by a fellow pawrent there is a level of trust in the products straight away.
As a first time entrepreneur, the World of business is often a scary place and you have moments of self-doubt on what is a big roller coaster ride of ups and downs. I find it so encouraging to look around at people like Karen who are proving that you can live the dream and build a successful business around something you love AND be an amazing pawrent at the same time. I love K9Nation and what it stands for as a brand. Helping to make pawrents lives as easy as possible is what we are all about by giving them all the information and resources they might need in one place at their fingertips. As the business continues to grow and I am faced with new challenges (of which there will be many I’m sure) the thing that will keep me going is having Buddy by my side through it all and seeing his smiley face every day will remind me why I started the business in the first place. Blog by Becky Baker K9Nation