Our Story

“Happy Waggers & Sleepy Whiskers” started when I, Lydia, decided I wanted to do something different with my life. I studied Chemistry at the University and then trained to be a teacher, teaching science. In my spare time, I volunteered at a local charity, walking their dogs, and found the experience both rewarding and relaxing. This is when the idea of setting up my own dog walking and pet sitting business came to me.

It was the kind of job I had never dreamed I would be able to have. I mean, who doesn’t want to spend every day with gorgeous animals? But where do you start? I had no idea how to run a business, and no customers.

First stop: Research. I spent a lot of time reading about dog walkers, writing contracts for future customers, getting insured, and trained in pet first aid. Then, I was out posting what felt like a million leaflets throughout a very cold January and into February in the hope of getting some customers. Luckily, I picked up a few customers quickly, and through that first year, my customer base steadily increased and was boosted further by the introduction of home boarding when I obtained my 4-star license in the Summer. I still spend a lot of time researching how to do my job better and am always looking for courses on dog behavior.

In my second year, I purchased a van! I kitted it out for the Happy Waggers and had stickers advertising the business on the outside. It made my day-to-day life so much easier. A couple of months after purchasing the van, COVID-19 hit. All walks and services were canceled. With no income, it was both financially and mentally very difficult. After a couple of weeks of feeling lost, I decided to open an online pet shop. This is something I’d always wanted to do but never had the time to look into properly until COVID hit. The aim of the shop was to provide my furry best friends with natural and healthy chews and treats that were also eco-friendly. As restrictions eased, I picked up new customers who were unable to walk their dogs due to ill health. It took a long time to return to full capacity, but eventually, my diary was so full it was bursting at the seams. The online pet shop, Eco Pet Parcel, is still open and thriving. It supplies non-toxic, eco-friendly toys, and all-natural treats for cats and dogs. We have recently started offering subscriptions, and the ‘create your own’ subscription parcels are a huge success.

As my customer base grew, it made sense that Happy Waggers and Sleepy Whiskers also needed to grow to match the demand. I hated turning customers down, but I couldn’t personally walk/visit and home board everyone myself. We are now a close-knit team of five. Being a team offers some huge advantages. We are able to offer a larger variety of services than I ever could alone. We are also able to cover holidays and illnesses so the service we provide isn’t interrupted. We have a hive mind of knowledge, skills, and ideas. But best of all, I have a group of people I can talk to who also know the Waggers & Whiskers that mean so much to me! We laugh about them but also cry too. It helps that one of the team members is my husband; you can imagine what we talk about all day – haha! Rami had Happy Waggers literally thrown upon him as many of our dog walking customers are home boarders too. It didn’t take long for him to fall in love with them all.

We, Rami and I, moved from a house into a bungalow in 2021 to give us more flexibility in terms of layout for the businesses and for a bigger garden for the home boarders. In 2022, we started using Pet Sitter Plus to manage our online bookings. Paper diaries and Excel spreadsheets were no longer cutting it. This was a huge leap forward for us; admin became much easier. Booking, invoicing, service reports (how we provide photos and feedback after each service) could all be done in one place. 2023 was also a big year for us; we gained a 5-star home boarding license, got married, and had a new arrival, one without paws, baby Quinn. Our plans for Happy Waggers & Sleepy Whiskers in the future are to further expand the variety of services we offer (we have ideas!). We will continue to provide the excellent service which has gained us our 5-star ratings (license and reviews) and to continue to grow our team to meet the needs of the local pets and their owners. Eco Pet Parcel has grown organically from word of mouth and sharing on social media; we will continue to expand our product ranges and our own brand products. We are the only eco-friendly dog parcel company. We ship nationwide but offer our Happy Waggers customers free drop off on their next service.

I used to get asked if I regretted leaving teaching. The answer was and still is a firm NO. Although I don’t regret having been a teacher as it helped me take a leap into a job that I truly love. Surprisingly the jobs are very similar: planning, preparation, and organization; however, one job is way more fun, muddy, and furry than the other (you can guess which).


The Software we use:

professional pet sitting software

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