Dog lover from Havant sets up dog walking business with backing from easyJet top boss Sir Stelios

A DOG lover from Havant has set up her dream business and has received backing from one of Britain’s top businessmen.

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 4:55 am

Suzi Neale, 43, has taken on the Havant franchise of easyDogwalker, part of the easy family of brands owned by easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

Suzi, a professional dancer of 18 years who has worked for Disney, got in touch with Lucy Platt, the MD at easyDogwalker, on Facebook, to offer pet sitting services in the hope of finding a career that fitted in around her performing.

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Suzi Neale, right, is the new franchisee for easyDogwalker in the Havant area, pictured here with Lucy Platt, director, at Hilsea Lido Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 280921-02)

She has always loved dogs, but due to the long hours of her performing work at weekends, she has unable to commit to a dog full-time and was craving canine companionship

But she says she now has the best of both worlds, as the franchise opportunity has turned her dream job into a reality and she has become easyDogwalking’s first franchisee.

Suzi said: ‘I have always had dogs in the family but as a performer I couldn’t have a dog due to the hours.

‘We sadly lost our family dog earlier this year and I thought it was a good time to open a business, doing something I love, that works around my performing work.

Suzi Neale, right, is the new franchisee for easyDogwalker in the Havant area, pictured here with Lucy Platt, director, at Hilsea Lido Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 280921-05)

‘It’s great as I now have lots of contact with dogs, but still perform at weekends. Spending time with dogs makes me so happy, it’s my dream job.’

Lucy and Suzi managed to get most of the set up done virtually as restrictions were easing and they finally met in London to sign and shake on their new venture when restrictions eased.

The Havant franchise started in August and Suzi has already got several clients signed up to her services – ranging from a Labrador to a Chihuahua. Suzi offers pet sitting, solo and social dog walking, as well as home visits. She also enjoys keeping fit and running marathons, and can even take some of the dogs out running with her.

Lucy has always been animal mad and since a child was fascinated by them, always wanting to be with them and one day to work with them.

However, despite her love for animals she started work in the aviation industry.

While working on easyJet as a cabin manager she met Stelios in Spring 2017 and pitched her business idea to him. She was one of five winners of the Start Up Entrepreneurs Award which he had set up.

easyDogwalker launched in May 2017 and has spent the past two years working on the franchise model which she is now ready to roll out nationwide.

Lucy said: ‘We are affordable, convenient and flexible and always going the extra mile.’

Sir Stelios said: ‘As a busy dog-owner myself, I am only too aware of the debt we pay to those who look after and care for our dogs when we are unable to. I am confident that Lucy and easyDogwalker will make an enormous contribution to this growing and important business activity.’