A couple started a home care business for dogs after losing their beloved pet, Max.
Westbury Park’s Nikki Tomkins and Craig Bowden still wanted dogs in their lives but didn’t want to face the pain of losing another dog.
Now they have found the perfect compromise with a service where they look after up to four dogs in their home.
Craig remembers the moment he got the idea to start Home2Home4Dogs.
The 37-year-old said, “We took care of a friend’s dog and we were out at 10pm and he had a little lamp post in the rain and I thought I really miss that. I know it’s a strange thing to miss, but I really miss it.
“We could offer this alternative to kennels. I got home pretty excited at 10pm, talked to Nikki, and said I want to do this.
“We turned to the council and from there it prevailed. We are licensed for four dogs. We could have more, but we didn’t want it to be overwhelming. “
Nikki, 35 years old, added, “They still have the care, they still have the personal touch. We make sure that there is no mass grooming, but still individual and a special experience for the dogs.
“There are five of us in this house so with four dogs you have one on one when you need it.”
The couple soon found that demand for the service was very high after many people took in puppies during the lockdown.
“What we didn’t take into account is the fact that there is so much need out there. People are screaming for it, ”said Craig.
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“Everyone has had a lot of pups locked down and now they’re back to work wondering what to do with the pup.
Nikki said, “You get a lot of fuss, a lot of attention, a lot of love. We have found that the pandemic has allowed important employees to continue working and that their dogs have come to us.
“They continued to work through the pandemic and we did this service for them.
“There are other boarding school students and I think it’s good for people to be aware that there is an alternative.
“Some dogs are absolutely fine in kennels. Other dogs like being in a home setting. Your dog would come to us and live in our family environment, we are a family of five.
“They would basically fit into our lives. So when we go for a walk, they go for a walk.”
Craig and Nikki also plan to get married later this year.
“We’re getting married on August 14th and are only going away for two days because we’ll be back with our boarders on August 16th, my birthday,” said Nikki.
“We only take two days to get married. That’s how much we love our dogs. “