A LARNE woman has combined her two biggest passions in life to set up her own unique business.
Having worked as a counsellor for a number of years, Mary Ringland felt the time was right for a change in her career path. So she took her knowledge and expertise from this field and applied it to another important area of her life - animal welfare.
“I have always been fascinated with animal behaviour, particularly that of dogs, which can display behaviour similar to humans in many ways,” she told the Times.
“For example, when a dog is left on its own in the house for long periods of time, it can become irritable, much like a human would. Some dogs then start to display bad traits, such as excessive barking, destructive behaviour and going to the toilet in the house. Dogs are pack animals by nature and suffer from prolonged periods of isolation.”
Mary felt there was a gap in the market in the Larne area and saw an opportunity to provide a service that would cater for busy pet owners.
She added: “My new dog walking and pet sitting business, Happi Pets, is intended for people who love their pets but also have other commitments such as work and are out of the house for a large part of the day, and cannot always give their pets the love and attention they require.
“It also caters for elderly people who may be unable to give their pets the necessary amount of exercise.
“The service is dependant on the individual client and their needs, and is suitable for anything from a one off appointment to a regular visit.
“I normally go to the client’s house, as dogs prefer being in familiar surroundings. But if necessary, I can provide a day care service from my home if that is what the client would prefer.
“I feed and water the dogs, take them for a walk and play with them. But it is not just dogs that I look after, as the Happi Pets service is also open to other domestic pets such as hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, goldfish, or farm animals.”
To ensure her fledgling business hit the ground running, Mary sought guidance from LEDCOM and was provided with mentoring and support from general manager David Gillespie.
She added: “I have quite a bit of knowledge and experience when it comes to running a business, as I used to own a health and beauty shop in Larne called Body and Soul.
“I also have formal qualifications, having completed a BTEC in business and finance.
“But David has provided me with invaluable assistance and is always available to offer support.
“I would definitely recommend that anyone seeking to establish a new business in the Larne area should seek guidance from LEDCOM.”
Happi Pets has now been up and running for a couple of months and Mary has no regrets about giving up her career as a counsellor to focus on her new business.
And she has great ambitions for the future of the company. “At the moment I am concentrating on getting my name out there and letting people know what exactly Happi Pets is all about.
“Further down the line, I hope to expand the business to include dog boarding facilities, a dog training service and set up my own website to sell dog-related products directly to customers,” Mary concluded.
Anyone interested in the service provided by Happi Pets can contact Mary on 028 2827 4448, by mobile on 077 1046 6162 or email firstname.lastname@example.org