Abbi from We Love Pets Waterlooville with a dog

Meet Abbi – We Love Pets Waterlooville

For Abbi, working with animals has always been a passion, and business ownership was her dream – now she’s found an opportunity to combine them both! And while her career in social work is rewarding, it’s still slightly lacking, so she’s thrilled to be able to run her franchise simultaneously.

Why did you choose a franchise over setting up your own business?

Well, I knew of a few local dog walkers that had tried to set up their own dog walking businesses – but really struggled. And I’ve always loved animals and working with them full-time has appealed to me, but I wasn’t so sure about starting up on my own. It’s a scary thought starting a business on your own! But I came across We Love Pets when searching for dog walkers in my nearby area, spotted the franchise button and applied! I was drawn to the idea of being my own boss, but with a tried & true business model and network of support.

Why did you choose WLP?

After applying, Ryan was really quick with getting back to me – which I appreciated. I could feel his enthusiasm through the phone in each of our conversations, and I could tell that We Love Pets was a family run business that puts the welfare of the pets first!

Did you look at any other franchises?

No, I didn’t actually. I read a lot of the franchisee case studies on the website, and they really resonated with me; I had been contemplated a change of career and knew I wanted to do something that would make me happy. We Love Pets sold me from the start.

What did the word ‘franchise’ mean to you before you came across We Love Pets?

I pretty much only associated franchises with fast food chains, like McDonald’s and Subway. Even now I still think that when I envision a ‘franchise.’

What was your day to day like in your previous role?

Currently I work part-time as a children and families support worker, and I work with a team that’s responsible for the welfare and safeguarding of vulnerable children and adults. Although stressful, it’s a rewarding role and has flexible hours which will allow me to continue my work alongside running the franchise.

What was the final straw for leaving your previous job?

I’ve just finished my first year of a social work degree, but about halfway through realised that it wasn’t just right for me. However, I fell into a social work role and thought, “oh I’ll just do it for now.” Ultimately though, I knew I wanted to work with animals and this past year has made me realise that life’s too short to plod along – I want to look back and have no regrets!

How long had you been thinking about changing your career?

Within the last year or so.

Do you have any pets of your own?

Yes I do! We have four black cats: Oswald, Jasmine, Belinda & Blossom, and we also have a dog called Otis.

What do you love most about your area?

I really like the fact that we’re so close to a variety of walks and spaces! We’re so lucky to be close to the countryside, lots of forest walks, open green areas and the beach.

What have you done in the past that you think will help you in your new venture?

My training and background in social work have enhanced my interpersonal skills, I am quite sensitive to people and I think my empathy will come across when I communicate with customers about their pets. I also used to volunteer in a cat and rabbit sanctuary, so I have small animal handling experience!

What hobbies do you have?

I absolutely love going out for new walks with my husband and dog, and equally enjoy watching nature documentaries, traveling on holiday and baking. I’m getting much better at the baking – my cakes no longer sink!

What’s an interesting/fun fact about yourself?

I had an opportunity to swim with wild dolphins in New Zealand, which was pretty amazing!

Which are your favourite animals?

I genuinely can’t choose just one! I love cats, dogs, dolphins, elephants and sloths in particular – but they’re all my favourites!

What’s your biggest achievement in life?

My biggest achievement has to be adopting our Romanian rescue, Otis. He was born in a kill shelter in Romania and had quite a rough start to life. When he came to us he was very timid and nervous, but over time has gotten used to us and come a long way. Watching his transformation has been amazing!

What do you think will be the best part of your job as a We Love Pets franchisee owner, what are you most looking forward to?

I’m really looking forward to spending more time outdoors and having the opportunity to interact with different dogs! I love getting to know their individual personalities. I’m also excited about developing a team of likeminded people, being my own boss and stepping away from my current role. I think it will be quite satisfying to give pet owners peace of mind knowing their pet is being looked after by the best!