My name is Steph and I am a Bristol native, although I currently reside in South Gloucestershire with my husband, Ross, our dog, Ben, and our cat, Phoebe.
After years spent at University and working in an office I decided that this lifestyle just wasn’t for me. I wanted to instead begin doing something that incorporated the things that I love – animals and the outdoors, whilst also being able to work for myself. As I have regularly looked after animals for friends and family and have thoroughly enjoyed it, I thought, why not turn this passion into a business…
Walking on Cloud 9 has been caring for Bristol’s pets since December 2011, I have built up a client base of wonderful people and their pets, and the business is continuing to grow. Throughout this process I have also gained experience working part time at a dog boarding business which helped me to start Walking on Cloud 9 in the first place and learn about dogs, their behaviour, and also how to train and handle them.
Our beautiful cat Phoebe is approximately 10 years old and she has lived with us very happily since the Summer of 2010. She was a stray who we found at the RSPCA clinic in Bristol being treated for a case of suspected cat flu. This meant that she was kept in isolation for fear of spreading the flu, and on our first meeting with her we saw her in her enclosure, staring out of the window longing to be running around again in the outdoors! We went into her enclosure to meet her and saw immediately what an incredibly loving and affectionate cat she is. My husband and I took turns to hold her and rather than squirming or just putting up with it, she snuggled into us to the point that we could hardly bare to let her go. We put a reserve on her straight away and following a successful home check from the RSPCA she was ours and in our home before we knew it. Since then we have enjoyed having her with us immensely, she is part of our family and we adore her! A great testament to rescued animals!
Our dog Ben is the newest member of our family. He is now 7 years old and has lived with us since October 2012. He is a Dachshund cross, we are not sure what he is crossed with, but we think it is most likely to be a Papillion. We discovered him at the Holly Hedge Animal Sanctuary in North Somerset, a wonderful animal charity that rescues animals and re-homes them, where he was one of the quieter residents in the dog enclosure! We took him for a walk and a play in one of their large, enclosed outdoor spaces, and it was clear that he was a very sweet, gentle dog. After much consideration and subsequent visits, we decided that we wanted to make a place for him in our home, however our biggest worry was how Phoebe would cope with this new addition and whether the two of them would be able to get along. After a careful and gradual introduction, they have developed a good relationship with one another, I don’t expect that they will be snuggling up together any time soon, but they have a mutual respect for each other which seems to work well for them! Luckily Ben is full of beans so he very much enjoys our days of walking and the companionship of my canine clients. He has definitely brought a great deal of happiness to our household, and we simply wouldn’t be without him now.
UPDATE (29/6/2014): During a trip to the vets this week to check Ben for a minor skin irritation one of the veterinary nurses approached me and started to ask a few questions about Ben such as what breed he is and how old he is… I replied with my usual spiel that we’re not sure exactly because he’s a rescue dog. To cut a long story short, it turned out that this veterinary nurse bred our little man from her dog, Skye! We now know that Ben is part Dachshund and part Lurcher from his mother’s side, and German Spitz (Klein) on his father’s side! How amazing it is to find out where he comes from, but also to run into the lady who bred him and for her to have recognised him!?! Although, as she said, he’s a pretty distinctive looking little dog.
What is a shame to discover is that his previous owners had told the breeder that they’d been having a little trouble with him because he was ‘naughty’, and that his breeder had offered to have him back if they felt they could no longer handle him. Ben then of course ended up in a rescue centre when, what I assume is a very good home, was offered to him. There is no point in dwelling on this though, Ross and I are so happy to have him in our lives, and I hope very much that Ben felt that he had landed on his paws when he came to live with us!