Who we are
Chairman | Webmaster | Temporary Data Officer
I’m a single mum of two teenage boys and own a Staffordshire Terrier named Oscar.
In September 2018 I started a petition to have the Guidance Notes accompanying the new Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities) Legislation 2018 reviewed by Parliament. Since then a campaign took off which ended with a sit down meeting with DEFRA. Along the way it became clear that there was no one representing the voice of home boarders and day carers, so the Association of Dog Boarders was born.
I’ve been home boarding and day caring for just over 2 years, I walked dogs prior to expanding the business. I’ve a history of working in primary schools teaching the new Computing curriculum and looking after their network’s and websites. I sat on the committee board at my local Sea Cadets and was responsible for fundraising and marketing.
My vision for the Association:
I would like to grow and build the association into a recognised name for our industry. I’d like us to negotiate sensible and workable laws for those of us working in our industry. I’d very much like to bring in new businesses starting out to support and mentor them.
I run Waggy Walks 4 Dogs in Farnborough, Hampshire and have been trading for nearly 4 years.
Before this, I worked for 17 years in the pharmaceutical industry, in both human and animal medicines divisions. My roles were hugely varied over the years but they always remained within the area of quality and compliance. I was responsible for leading government licence inspections on behalf of my company, and have much experience in risk based inspection management, challenging inspection results, developing process documentation, writing and leading training courses, and in project and change management.
During my time in corporate-world I struggled to find suitable care for my English Toy Terrier and my Whippet. Thankfully my husband was able to change his role at the time, and with my home working allowance we made it work, but during my redundancy process I would often joke to colleagues that I would give it all up and become a dog walker. As my work end date drew near, I thought ‘well why not’? I have never regretted the transition!
My Vision for the Association:
Even though I was aware of the 2015 consultation document regarding the changes to our industry, there was no clear mechanism for my voice to be heard. I do not want myself, or any other home boarder to be in this position again. This is a fast growing industry and definitely needs regulation – however it is important for me that we find a reasonable balance between regulation and maintaining the ‘home feel’ that our customers are looking for. I have high hopes that the Association of Dog Boarders will be able to help to shape this balance.
I have volunteered for over 25 years for many animal rescues and charities as a home checker, foster carer and transport provider. I have been a home dog boarder for over 15 years, initially part time for another company when I lived in Hampshire and then full time as I established my own pet care company. Prior to owning my own company I worked for over 20 years at Senior Director level in safeguarding children and families and hold a BSc (Hons) degree. I have played a part in setting up another national association as well as being a member of influential groups such as the Pre-Proceedings group for Family Justice Council and for national Local Safeguarding Children Boards.
In 2010 I was part of creating a BBC TV documentary around the issues for children and their separated families, which was successfully aired on BBC 4 in April 2012. I have also frequently spoken publicly including a ‘Question Time’ debate with Harriet Harman.
Moving to West Essex in 2014 provided me with the opportunity to fulfil my dream and start my own pet care business. Initially providing dog walking and pet visits I soon included my own home from home boarding service and gained a BCCS diploma in Canine Behaviour. Having always had my own pets, as well as being a foster pet parent, I know the issues owners face in getting appropriate, safe and affordable care and know how difficult it can be placing our pets into the care of others.
My Vision for the Association:
To become the sole nationally recognised official voice of Licensed Home Boarders/Daycare. To have a voice that is influential at strategic level discussions and decisions regarding our profession. To provide support and resources for all those involved in this profession and promote animal health and welfare through the on-going development of professional expertise.
After many years of owning, fostering and rescuing German Shepherd Dogs, family and career circumstances dictated that, for some years, I couldn’t devote the time needed to own my own dogs. 4 years ago that all changed when my job enabled me to work from home and we welcomed Dylan and Bailey, 2 Cavapoo pups, into our lives. 3 months later Max and Rocco, also Cavapoos, needed a new home and 2 became 4! Not long after I took redundancy from my job and set up my own business working from home. It was at this point that my husband Stuart and I decided to set up our home boarding and daycare business to offer customers the home from home environment that we wanted for our own boys.
Having been a recruiter for 20 years, I now run my own recruitment consultancy and have a wealth of experience in dealing with people from all walks of life and all levels of seniority, from shop floor operatives to CEO’s of multinational organisations. My communication, negotiation, relationship management, administration, organisational and reporting skills are all necessary and relevant to the efficient running of the Association.
My vision for the Association:
To become the nationally recognised official voice of home boarders and daycarers throughout the UK. Home boarding and home daycare is a relatively new concept but is fast becoming the number 1 choice for pet owners when deciding how they want their pets to be cared for. As an industry we need to be heard by Government and be able to have an input into any changes in legislation