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Layla Leads the Way as Dog Walking Booms in Britain

A PENCHANT for pooches had spurred Harrogate's Layla Young to start her own dog walking and all-round pet care business.

Layla, 30, a former Harrogate Ladies' College student and veterinary nurse, is stepping out on her own as a professional dog walker and general canine care consultant thanks to increased demand both in Harrogate and via the internet.

Miss Young took her lead in forming dog exercise business Poochie Mooch - which also incorporates pet photography and associated pet pampering services - last year, as a result of suggestions from friends and veterinary colleagues.

Dog walking services are booming in Britain thanks to unprecedented demand from busy professional couples, second-career 'baby boomers', retirees with pets, the elderly and others in busy 21st C Britain.

Global and UK dog populations are also believed to at their highest for years, according to new figures released in Jan 2011.

The UK itself is, generally, taking its lead from the United States where, thanks to the demographics and mixed employment status of the economy, both the demand and supply of professional dog walkers and associated services is at a new high.

Layla, from Harrogate, who already has a string of satisfied clients, both human and canine, says:

I've enjoyed three years as a veterinary nurse at the Shamrock Veterinary Clinic, in Knaresborough Road, but after taking a break from such, it is often difficult to get back into the profession.

I didn't want to lose touch with working with animals and given my family also have strong photographic links, the opportunity to walk dogs, offer a pet photography service and other pet care add-ons is proving to be the perfect option.

From my experience to date, there are many professional couples these days who either want to own a dog and who baulk at such because they are too committed to their careers, or who conversely, do own pets, but for whatever reason cannot give them their fullest attention.

In addition, in Harrogate, especially, there are a number of members of the older generation who still want to take their dogs for walks but who can't through either advancing years or a disability.

It's critical that dogs receive their exercise and to recognise that each dog – just like human beings – has its own personality.

A Great Dane is vastly different in temperament and needs to a Westie or a lurcher. But more than than, it's important to appreciate that dogs are very much part of people's families and should be respected as such.

Harrogate's Stray area and surrounding woodlands provide the perfect arena. I'm fully insured, offer a bespoke service and offer a trial 'test walk' to make sure both dogs and owners are both happy with me and vice versa, and I'm sure many will spot my van around Harrogate and the Stray area.

I'm no substitute for dogs' owners of course – dogs love nothing better than a walk with their master or mistress – but I'm here as a knowledgeable and enthusiastic backup.

I also offer some services to cats and am happy to be consulted free of charge at http://www.poochiemooch.co.uk/. I also offer a towel dry to pets in wet conditions and am fully au fait with general clean up necessities from owners' and the general public's points of view.

Everyone is stressed out in hectic Britain but my message to loving pet owners is not to forget their loving companions who still need some 'tlc' and exercise whatever their owners' circumstances.”

Layla has been a Harrogate resident for much of her life since leaving school and is well known in the popular spa town.


  • In 2010 257, 062 pedigree dogs were registered with the Kennel Club, the national body which oversees the welfare of dogs. Overall, it is estimated that the number of dogs in the UK stands at around 8 million, but figures could be as high as 10.5m according to a recent survey by researcher at Bristol University, 4m more than pet food experts had predicted.

  • Globally, the number of pet dogs in the world was reported to be at record levels in Jan 2011 according to recent newspaper reports.

  • The Kennel Club has an extensive website to help people to find the right breed for them. www.thekennelclub.org.uk/findabreed. Other key players include Dogs Trust and the RSPCA.

Pic captions

* 'Stray' Dogs Strut: Harrogate businesswoman Layla Young steps out with two satisfied clients: 'Billie Jean' (white Staffordshire Bull Terrier), and Lucy the Lurcher on Harrogate's famous 'Stray'.