In The Dog House Solihull
Discover our founders Nikki's story.
As a young girl I always dreamed of becoming a vet. I loved all animals, and as a 70’s child we weren’t fortunate enough to have lots of pets, however I was lucky… I had goldfish and 2 budgies called Torvil and Dean. When I was older I had Claude, he was a Heinz 57 and my absolute world. We would walk for miles and miles while I listened to my cassette player playing the recorded Sunday Charts! My love of animals and the love of the outdoors has always run through my veins. Fast forward 20 years… and this was where it all began. My Children were in their mid-teens and I was missing something. I found my ‘Soul Dog’ as I like to call her, Scarlett. She was a Cockerlia and our connection was immense. Other than my beautiful children I had never experienced love like this before. I danced with her, I cried to her and we became inseparable. We would walk forever, she was never really one to make friends with dogs or people and focused all of her attention and loyalty on me.
In The Dog House Solihull
Fortune favours the brave.
I would walk her at 6am every morning and then she would be on her own all day until I returned home from work, where I would walk her again for hours no matter what the weather. I would feel so terrible everyday knowing she was on her own. There were no dog walkers around, and definitely no daycare facilities. At the time I was a Hollistic Therapist and a Salon Manager, the hours were long and I missed my Children and my dog. I decided to do something new and brave, as my dad says ‘Fortune favours the brave’. I met Rocco who is the father of my youngest son Zen (we will come back to him in a bit), and came home one day and said ‘I am leaving my job and I am going to walk dogs for a living, I can be flexible with the kids and be with Scarlett all day’ Rocco couldn’t see it working, but he supported me and gave me 3 months to try and make it work. Three weeks later, my business was up and running. My Megane Scenic had been sign written, I had a logo and a uniform. Business cards were in my Bum Bag, the sun was shining. I was happy.
Rocco eventually came round and even became a regular walker with me, not only did we walk solo we would also walk as part of a group and even do house sitting, we would house sit for dogs, cats, rabbits and sometimes even the odd chicken and hen. Within 5 years the business went from strength to strength, we had some difficult times and the business completely consumed out lives but we decided that this would be our lives so we fitted into that.
In December 2012, Rocco and I had a rare weekend off together. We went to London as it was Rocco’s 40th birthday and as my daughter Darcy was at home she took care of our dog Scarlett so off we went. We did the usual tourist bits, and lots of walking (which we were both used to). That evening we went off to the Oxo Tower, I felt bloated and looked chubby and had a feeling I might be pregnant – but lips firmly zipped, Rocco and I enjoyed our weekend. On Monday 10th December 2012, I did a pregnancy test… it was positive. I knew things would never be the same at home, but especially in my working career!
On the 18th August, our beautiful little boy Zen was born.
On the 3rd September, my 2 weeks off had come to an end and I was back to work. I was self-employed and although my customers were patient they were ready to get back to normal. So from that day forward my business head was firmly on and I knew I had to work on a business plan as the marked for dog walkers was becoming saturated. I had one of those light bulb moments… I was going to set up a doggy hotel. I had my vision and I had my motivation, I had the support of my family, I just didn’t have the premises for a hotel! Phone calls, emails, and even more phone calls… I got rejection after rejection. No agent or landlord would give me the time of day when they heard the words ‘dog hotel’. ITDH was not an easy brand/business to create and I knew what I wanted, I had no financial backing so why would they say yes to me?
Come and say Hey!
I was driving down Cornets End Lane and saw a ‘To Let’ sign, the building was almost invisible but it wasn’t to me. After weeks and weeks of lengthy persuasion, the agents agreed to meet with me. I had little to no budget but managed to project my vision onto the agents. They had nothing to lose really… I promised them I would clean the building up and make it ‘rentable’ as it was in such a dire condition, so that it would be rentable to any business.
Elbow grease with a dash of more elbow grease we managed to transform the old dingy offices into the beginning of our luxurious dog hotel. I would sit and plan the themes I wanted for the different rooms and would get so excited! Our whole lives have changed, we now live in the ‘human end’ of the hotel permanently. This hotel really is our whole life. Rocco even works at the hotel full time as well as continuing as a mechanic one day a week (so he can get away from me I am sure!!! Ha). We have employees and volunteers and honestly everyday I find myself feeling proud of what we have achieved with all of our hard work and dedicate!
All your dogs needs under one Woof.
The Exclusive Hangout for Happy & Healthy Doggos!
We are situated in a country lane next to farmland close to Meriden. To find out more get in touch with a member of staff today. In The Dog House Solihull, Cornets End Lane, Coventry, CV7 7LH, we are just a 5 minute drive from Birmingham Airport, the N.E.C and Resorts World.