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A day in the life: Dog hotel franchise owner with MyWaggyTails
With a pre-teen sprog, a semi-absent husband and a gruelling commute to work, MyWaggyTails founder Mitch Howey needed less pressure and more flexibility. Founding home-based franchise MyWaggyTails allowed her to work from home, be her own boss and grow her business.
How have your mornings changed since starting MyWaggyTails?
My day starts at 6am. Before I started MyWaggyTails, my mornings would consist of a frantic scramble to get my son up and ready for school while also getting myself ready for work. I'd then drive to the train station for my 60-minute journey to London, when I'd check overnight emails and catch up from the day before. Nowadays I still rise at six, but the slower pace of my working week leaves me with enough energy for early morning trips to the local sports centre – recently, I've managed a cool 100 lengths of the pool before starting my day's work.
Returning home, I shuffle past four or five dogs, depending on how many have stayed over in our ‘dog hotel’. I check that my son is up, remind him of the time and prepare breakfast, for both the family and the ever voracious four-legged hounds. If my husband is away – he's a sound engineer with frequent world tours – I’ll share the school run with another mum, before getting out the special ID collars and piling the dogs into the estate. They're harnessed in, and then I set off for the Ridgeway for the first of two morning dog walks.
Between 8-9am, a few more dogs will arrive in my absence for that day’s doggy day care, to be welcomed by my mother or Sue, my assistant.
How much variety is there within your job?
A lot! After the first walk of the day, I could be off on a vet run, catching up on booking enquiries or updating our online presence. Luckily in these cases my assistant will set off on the next dog walk. Sometimes we walk the dogs together, depending on demands and group size, and catch up on the latest news.
I also do frequent ‘meet-and-greets’, at least a couple of times a week. This is when I meet with a potential new customer and their dog to review the necessary checks (inoculations, identity chip details etc) and for a behavioural assessment of the pet. As the dogs are staying in my own home, we actively look for regular visitors, socialised pets and caring owners. It also ensures a more harmonious household. We are quite discerning, so we can provide the best care and attention possible.
Do you give yourself any breaks?
Over lunch I have a few hours off to catch up on the housework, update the blog, return a few calls, do a supermarket shop or just have some doggy playtime in the garden. Then it's time for another walk for the doggy day care guests. By now, it's time to pick up my son up from school (the best thing ever – the children stay at school to do most of their homework).
When does your working day end?
After waving goodbye to the day cares, it’s time for the last walk of the day for any pets that are staying over, often accompanied by my son, which is lovely for family catch-ups. Then it’s time to feed the pets and the family before finally settling down with a glass of Prosecco in front of the TV together, invariably with several dogs curled up across my feet or ‘hiding’ under a cushion on the sofa.
What's the best thing about the MyWaggyTails life?
The short journey to work, being your own boss, the variety, the love and playtime with smashing four-legged friends, the woodland walks – all infinitely more enjoyable than slaving away in an office. I also love it when new customers tell me they found MyWaggyTails online – it's a sign that my marketing efforts are paying off!
Would you like to spend your days with (wo)man's best friend? Find out more about how you can franchise MyWaggyTails at Mumsnet Jobs.