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Pet lover turns her hobby into a business

Thursday 3 May 2012


From UK newspaper the Grimsby Telegraph:


Helen Plumtree
New venture: Helen Plumtree, who has set up her
own business, Cottage Horse And Pet Services.
(Picture: Rick Byrne.)

Pet lover turns her hobby into a business

Grimsby Telegraph
Thursday, April 12, 2012

AN ANIMAL lover who has overcome a debilitating muscular condition to set up her own business is encouraging others in a similar position to do the same.

Three years ago, Fibromyalgia sufferer Helen Plumtree feared she would be on benefits for the rest of her life.

Today, the 42-year-old says she has got the "most wonderful job in the world" and is feeling fitter than ever.

Helen, whose previous jobs have included spells as an accountant, a hairdresser and an antiques dealer, began providing a pet minding service to friends about three years ago.

After gradually building up her client base, she took the brave step of coming off benefits and turning the service into a full-time business venture, and so last year, Cottage Horse And Pet Services was launched.

Now Helen is aiming to establish a whole range of services – from pet portraits to microchipping and saddle fitting to tack cleaning – to support her core business.

Helen, who has suffered from Fibromyalgia – a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body – throughout her life but was only diagnosed about three years ago, said: "I had always assumed I had chronic fatigue syndrome. It makes it very hard to do a nine to five job. Having your own business means you can work your own hours. If I am really tired or don't feel 100 per cent I can sit for a few minutes before I go out, whereas if I worked for someone else I would be in trouble for not clocking in at nine o'clock.

"I've always looked after other people's animals, and after looking at various websites I saw that it was something that a lot of other people were doing, so I thought I would give it a go.

"When I first started, I thought I would be doing mainly holiday cover, but it's turned out to be more permanent. Some of my clients are teachers and so I look after their pets when they are out at work."

Helen, who has seven cats, a dog and three ponies of her own, looks after a vast array of different animals, from cats and dogs to ducks, geese, peacocks and horses.

On an average day she looks after about 30 different animals for her clients.

She said: "So many people are keeping a variety of different animals now. I've even looked after giant snails on one occasion – they were very boring!

"Cats are my speciality but I have an affinity with almost all animals. Spiders I'm not too keen on, but as long as it's got fur or feathers I'll look after it."

Helen, who visits animals within a 10-mile radius of her home in North Cotes, believes having a debilitating illness should not be a barrier to people realising their dreams.

She said: "What I've done is turn my hobbies into a source of income. I didn't think I could do it, but now I've got the most wonderful job in the world."

More information



The above, with comments, originally appeared here.


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