Jo has spent her whole life caring for humans as part of the NHS but now she’s swapping people for pets as she embarks on a new career as a pet franchise business owner.
Why did you choose a franchise over setting up your own business?
I have always worked within the NHS so setting up my own business would be too out of my depth! I felt that being part of a franchise where I would be supported by the team in head office and also by fellow franchisees would be the most sensible route for me to take. Another huge benefit of the franchise to me is the training I will receive which wouldn’t necessarily be undertaken if setting up alone.
What did the word ‘franchise’ mean to you before you came across We Love Pets?
I didn’t know much about franchises at all until I reached the decision that I really did need a change from my current employment. I did a lot of reading as I knew I would ideally like to work for myself and that I would like to spend time caring for animals. I looked at a number of available franchises but We Love Pets stood out as it just seemed to put so much emphasis on the welfare of the animals in their care rather than on the amount of money you are expected to make each month.
How have We Love Pets made sure you’re the right person to carry the award-winning brand forward?
WLP have spent a substantial amount of time communicating with me on the phone, via email, through Skype and I had a lovely face to face meeting with Tracey. I also completed initial interest forms plus the application process and they have taken references.
Do you have any pets of your own?
Yes, I have two cats I rescued from a previous neighbour some years ago when the family were unable to care for them. They came with their names already so I have Sugar, a pretty tortie girl who is my shadow and a little on the portly side. She had a rough start in life so now she very much enjoys her home comforts! There’s also Tiggy, a very handsome ginger tabby who very much likes to spend time outside but loves nothing more than bedtime snuggles (as long as no one sees because he is worried about his image!).
As well as the cats, I have a little flock of 6 chickens, Maud, Henrietta (Dottie), Edwina, Patsy, Arabella and Gertie. They are all hybrids and great characters.
What do you love most about Cranleigh?
My family moved to Cranleigh when I was 3 years-old so I grew up here. I moved up to Guildford when I was 18 but after a couple of years I was in a position to move back to the village and I am very happy here. There is a great sense of community and all the conveniences of a town within the village whilst always being only a couple of minutes walk away from beautiful countryside.
What have you done in the past that you think will help you in your new venture?
I have always loved all animals great and small (with the exception of daddy long legs *shudder!). As a child I was horse mad and spent every weekend at the stables learning to muck out, clean tack, groom and ride. I also had a hamster called Hero who was an escapologist!
I have always cared for friend’s animals and used to have one friend’s dogs, a Rottweiler and Rottweiler X Bull Mastiff, live with me half of every week for a couple of years when she had had a baby and couldn’t manage to walk both dogs with the pushchair. I then had an elderly Rottweiler of another friend come to live with me when he was around 9 years-old but lost him to cancer around a year later. The loss of any family member, be it human or animal, is always devastating but he had had a very happy life and been thoroughly loved for all of it.
I think these experiences plus numerous others looking after many other pets over the years has given me good experience in caring for many different breeds of pet. I have cared for dogs of all shapes and sizes from a dachshund to a Bull Mastiff and also many cats, bearded dragons and small animals and every single one of them has had their own personality, likes and dislikes.
I have also spent the last 20 years working on the 999 ambulances so I am pretty unflappable and very used to the unexpected, so not much phases me and I am pretty confident in dealing with any situation I may find myself in.
What does running a business like this mean to you?
This business really does mean everything to me. It has always been my dream to work with animals and this business will give me the opportunity to care for people’s animals and entertain them whilst their humans aren’t at home to do so.