The future looks bright for the business of Richie Womersley who is known as the Wetherby Dog Walker.
The 30-year-old is full of ideas and plans to expand his line of work.
As well as dog walking services, he also offers a pet-sitting service for people who are going on holiday but do not want to put their animals into catteries or kennels.
And it began with one simple question.
Richie told the News: “I was walking my dog in Boston Spa and a woman asked if I was a dog walker and how much I charged.
“It was a lightbulb moment.”
Now the business operates across North and West Yorkshire, with five franchises and a sixth currently being set up.
Mr Womersley, who has a team of staff, including a weekend assistant and full-time dog walker, and a thousand customers, is happy in hiswork and personal life.
But it could all have been very different, for Richie has a background that is a world away from the fun-sounding business he has run since 2006.
He was taken into care at the age of eight and stayed there until the age of 16 when he left to support himself.
He did a number of odd jobs, including cleaning floors at Harrogate Hospital and stacking shelves at a supermarket.
While working at a dog kennel in Yorkshire and seeing animals treated badly he began to think of setting up a pet care business.
He said: “There were 60 dogs and 90 cats in one place, which was just not feasible.
“The level of care (at the kennel) was absolutely diabolical, I wanted to give animals and their owners the care and attention they deserve.”
Mr Womersley said seeing so many animals in one place made him feel there were other ways dogs and cats could be looked after in a less
“Wetherby has a very very good heart. It seems to be a town that is a magnet for animals.”
Speaking about the future of his business, which Mr Womersley wants to take nationwide, he said: “We have got a very good business model which we want to use to create as many jobs as possible.
“We want to franchise out nationally. We’ve had enquiries from our services as far away as Kent and Edinburgh.”
Mr Womersley, who lives with his long-term partner John, said he is not ashamed of his background and loves his job.
He said: “Most importantly I love what I do, particularly after everything I have been through.
“Now I hope I can inspire other people. It shouldn’t matter who you are or where you come from, if you believe in yourself you can be successful.”
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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