A bakery for dogs will soon be officially opened – with liver muffins, cakes and biscuits among the items on the menu.
Briony McNamara, who started a dog walking business more than five years ago, wants to combine her love of dog walking with her other passion as a qualified chef.
Now she is hoping to expand her firm – Busy B Petcare in Eastney – into the city and further afield.
‘I used to run the business from home,’ says Briony.
‘It is a dog day-care service. I have got four self-employed dog walkers who work for me.
‘I run the day care centre while people are out at work so I have the dogs with me most of the day.
‘They used to come to my home but I have since opened the centre in Eastney Gas Engine House in Henderson Road. The idea for the bakery came about because I am a qualified chef as well as a dog walker. I thought I could bring my two passions together.
‘I have got a whippet rescue dog that I have had for a year. As soon as I saw him, I knew he was mine.’
Briony moved to the UK from Australia more than 10 years ago. She moved in with a friend in Portsmouth just over eight years ago.
‘I ended up working in a health club and a friend of mine who lived in Portsmouth offered me somewhere to stay. I met my partner here and I set up Busy B.’
Asked about the success of her business so far, Briony said: ‘I have had some of my customers since I started. A lot of people have stuck with me over the years, and I am really busy now.
‘When dogs have moved on or passed away, it is really sad. I used to only look after six dogs when I had the business at home. Now I have 10 every day. I am hoping to expand and have more centres across Portsmouth in the future.
‘I think people like me because I offer a very personal service. We have events for owners as well. We have a Christmas party every year and we do Saturday walks where everyone can get involved.
‘We try to do as much as we can for each individual dog – we treat them as individuals and not as a group.’
Talking about the decision to expand into dog foods with the bakery, Briony says: ‘It is really cute. We have slices of liver cake and muffins. I do tuna and cheese muffins, sometimes I have specials like roast turkey and vegetables at Christmas. Everything I make can be consumed by humans. Everything in them is 100 per cent natural and free range. In the future I would like to have more bakeries around Portsmouth and in places like Waterlooville and Emsworth.
‘I am wanting to expand and have a few boutique doggy day care centres.’
Briony has four dog walkers working with her and has taken on an apprentice to help her look after the pets.
‘I do take on students to help, and have a boy with special needs who comes and plays with the dogs for an hour a week,’ she says.
‘I give young people work experience and people who are looking for a job. It’s really hard to get into the industry and I try and give people something they can put on their CV to help them get on the jobs ladder.’
The bakery is open Monday to Friday, 11am to 3pm.
To contact Briony, email email@example.com.