In This Issue
Dragon Deborah Meaden exits Billy+Margot as firm announces partnership with The Company of Animals
PetQuip announces finalists for its prestigious Awards
Speculation over future of online pet retailers
‘Entry level’ brand DogStar launched by makers of Animology
Beaphar pledge donations to Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
New vet squad on a mission to protect vulnerable pets
Two UK pet owners to launch Natural Dog Conference
Pets Corner vouch to pay suppliers within 14 days of invoice
New pet shop to open in Ripon
Wolverhampton pet shop gets new owner
Pet sitter retires from ‘the loveliest job in the world'
£2,000 parrot stolen from Cheshire pet shop
PDSA vets save dog with ‘football-sized’ tumour
Pooch & Mutt launches New Puppy Development Pocket Pack
Wildlife World donate products to support two TV gardening shows
Peterborough business chief in 73-mile walk for dog rescue charity
Pet shop burglar jailed for three years
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Pet sitter retires from ‘the loveliest job in the world'
To hundreds of pets Val Henderson is their surrogate mum, and to their owners she is a godsend.

Over 18 years she has built a business from taking care of thousands of beloved family members – cats, dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs – and looking after their owners’ homes while they are away.

But she has finally handed over the reins of Paws Petsitting and what she calls “the loveliest job in the world” to her faithful assistant Tracey Steptoe, who has some big shoes to fill.

Mrs Henderson, who turns 60 today, said the goodbyes, the cards and the bottles of champagne she had received this week were testament to the genuine friendships she had built up with her customers.

The mother-of-two, who lives with her husband Jim in Grove near Wantage, Oxfordshire, said: “I’ve been in tears every single day this week.

“It’s not just the animals – my customers have become friends and now we have to say goodbye.”

Paws began life after Mrs Henderson was made redundant from her receptionist job at Day and Partners vets in Charlton in 1997.

Having grown up on her grandparents’ smallholding in South Wales surrounded by ducks, pigs, geese, chickens, cats and a dog, taking care of animals had been her dream job.

Taking calls from pet owners every day, it quickly became apparent there simply were not enough pet sitters around in Oxfordshire.

So when she was made redundant she immediately swooped in to fill the niche, and soon found it was all she could do to keep up.

She said: “I just have an affinity with animals.

“You know when you go into people’s houses and they have a cat that won’t come near you because she’s shy? – That cat will probably come and sit on my lap.”

At her busiest, Mrs Henderson was looking after more than 50 pets at once, working seven-days-a-week and sometimes making 50 visits in a single day.

Her one tip for pet owners everywhere is: “Get your pet microchipped. So many pets go missing in this area, and if they are found you won’t be tracked down unless they are microchipped.”
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