Truck driver sniffs out new career with established animal business

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An animal loving heavy goods vehicle driver is the latest new franchisee to join award-winning business The Dog Walker.

After more than 11 years as an HGV driver, Halifax man Nigel Wilson is set to take over the Queensbury franchise from long-standing franchisee Mark Whittaker. Mark established the franchise of the award-winning company in 2013 and now has more than 24 clients.

Swapping his role driving vehicles for daily walks in the outstanding Yorkshire countryside, Nigel will offer his dog walking, home boarding and pet taxi services in an area stretching from Hipperholme to Cullingworth and Halifax to Allerton.

Said Nigel: “A family member was already a customer of The Dog Walker locally and had sung her praises for the service, so I knew I liked the firm’s animal-focussed approach and when the opportunity to buy the franchise came up, I seized it.

“I’ve had an affinity with animals all my life and loved helping out on my family’s smallholding when I was growing up. I married Sue earlier this year and wanted a change of lifestyle which allowed me to be home in the evenings.

“Our household now comprises one dog, three cats, four canaries and a parakeet. I’m looking forward to getting much more exercise.”

Managing director of The Dog Walker, Richie Womersley, said: “With his wealth of animal care experience, we’re delighted to welcome someone as enthusiastic as Nigel as our latest franchisee.

“This signals the exciting start of our plans to roll out the franchise framework in the North East next year.”

Richie Womersley, 35, established the business in Wetherby in 2006 with his life savings of £500 because he believed animals deserve better care than they receive in kennels. This passion continues to drive the business forward and current group turnover is £640,000 per annum.

The business now walks in excess of a thousand dogs a year and provides fully insured and registered care for customers’ pets in the stress-free environment of their own home. The Dog Walker now employs 15 people, operating nine franchises and has a client base of more than 920 people.