A Cumbrian couple who swapped their jobs to walk dogs have been recognised among the best in the county.
Tamsin Rogers and her husband Nigel Oldroyd have picked up the Prestige North England Award for Dog Walkers of the Year – Cumbria 2021/22 for their Ambleside Dog Walker business.
“We’re thrilled to win this award which celebrates small businesses succeeding at a local level – there are so many great dog walkers and dog care professionals in Cumbria so to be counted among them feels very special,” said Tamsin.
“We’re only in our third year of business but we have amazing support from customers and those who follow us on social media and we’re really grateful to those who nominated us and to the judges for selecting us. The judges praised us for our personal touch, consistency of reviews and community feel.”
Tamsin and her husband were not always dog walkers.
“Both myself and my husband Nigel had great jobs that we enjoyed – Nigel worked as a retail manager for Sainsbury’s and I worked for the University of Cumbria,” said Tamsin.
“However, we both found that we were commuting a lot for work, and weren’t spending enough time together and with our lovely working cocker, Jasper – or enjoying the wonderful place we live! We both love dogs, have always had them around – and we also love being outdoors, walking and exploring, so setting up a dog walking service together seemed like the perfect solution to us!
“We’ve since done plenty of training in dog care and dog behaviour and we’ve become licensed by South Lakeland District Council (with a five-star rating) to offer daycare and home boarding services.”
Dogs and mental health
Tamsin and the team love exploring the Lake District with their furry companions.
“Our team love being out on the trails together – Lakeland trails, wagging tails is our strapline – so even on the rainiest, grey days in the Lakes, they never fail to put a smile on our faces, she said.
“I struggle with the lack of daylight in winter but since walking every day with the dogs I’ve felt so much better. Fresh air, exercise, stunning views and the joy of being surrounded by a whole team of dogs – what’s not to love?
“We’re so lucky to be able to build up a close bond with the members of our regular team, several of whom have been with us since being pups – they all have their own personalities and show their love in different ways and we feel really privileged to get to know them all.”
Environment and sustainability
As the business continues to go from strength to strength, Tamsin is now looking at the impact of its operations on the environment.
“A big goal for us though, which we’ve already started working on, is to be as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible as we know that even a small business can have a big impact,” she said.
“We already use (and supply locally) 100 per cent compostable poo bags and, inspired by local campaigns such as The Lakes Plastic Collective, we pick up litter on our dog walks too. We buy products such as dog treats and toys in bulk to reduce unnecessary packaging and we use eco-friendly cleaning products to clean our home and van.
“A key part of this initiative is sharing what we do and the sustainable products we find for dogs to encourage others to make positive changes too. We have lots more to do in this area so watch this space – and we’re keen to hear from anyone who would like to work with us locally in this area.”
As well as appreciating the recent successes of Ambleside Dog Walkers, Tamsin and her team have also got their eyes on the future.
“We have many more plans for our business and want to be the number one provider for dog care for our local residents as well as offering a trustworthy service for visitors wanting doggy free days out during their stay in the area,” said Tamsin.
“We also love providing a dog chaperone and care service for those getting married in the Lakes and want to continue to develop this side of our business – it’s so rewarding to contribute to making someone’s big day extra special by having their dog involved and well cared for.”