On the 27th of June 29 years ago Animal Aunts launched. I had been house, dog, cat, sheep, cow, horse, hen and parrot sitting for two years prior to the launch. My mother, the late Pam McNicol designed the logo and with the help of Margaret Thatcher’s Enterprise Allowance scheme and various short government backed business workshops we were off.
I could never have imagined back then, that 29 years later I would still be running Animal Aunts, nor could I have imagined the incredible team of Animal Aunts I have had the pleasure to meet and send all over the world to look after every type of animal and house imaginable. So far we have been to France, Greece, Belgium, Holland, the Channel Islands, Spain and Portugal, Japan, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to look after a huge variety of pets and livestock as well as exotics.
Many of my Aunts have been with me for well over 20 years, one who was the first ever to join apart from me is still working to this day. My Animal Aunts are amazing, they are versatile, practical, reliable, highly experienced with animals, loyal and talented. Many are experts in their field whether it be with dogs, cats, horses, livestock or exotics and small pets and many do this as a full time job going from house to house all through the year. We have a large team of New Zealand and South African Aunties who come over for half of the year or more every year, some for over a decade.
We value immensely the trust that our Clients have bestowed upon us over 29 years. When I started all those years ago, it was hard to convince potential Clients that we wouldn’t run up large phone bills (no longer an issue as everyone has their own smartphones/laptops), have wild parties or squat, but we did and we have completed around 120,000 bookings over the years which proves the immense faith our Clients have in us and our service.
We have looked after dogs from puppyhood right through their lives and even been there at the end for them if necessary. My Animal Aunts love their charges as if they were their own, they are often a part of a dog’s life for a quarter of the year or more when their owners are away and through their entire lives. I am so proud that many Clients book their holidays around the free dates of their favourite Aunts and that many have bookings through to 2018 already! Many of our Clients have been using us since the very beginning, so we have seen them through several generations of dogs, cats, horses etc.
I have also been lucky to have had the most amazing office staff throughout. This year has been sad as our wonderful Maggie, who has been part of the office family for 16 years has been ill for 18 months and has now left the office and the lovely Gill Cross was wooed away to work with her partner after 15 years of working at HQ. However, fabulous Donna is still here and now Auntie Seonaid, (Pronounced Shownid!) who has been an Animal Aunt on the road for 16 years has taken up the reins to help send Aunts to all corners of the UK and abroad. I also pay tribute to the lovely Geraldine who has looked after us and mothered us at HQ for 17 years. She has welcomed and served tea, coffee and refreshments to literally thousands of potential Animal Aunts at interview!
Next year will be our 30th Anniversary and I would like to take this opportunity to mention that we will be having a party for my Animal Aunts on the 24th June 2017 so I would just ask that if possible try to avoid that particular weekend so that as many Aunts as possible can attend and have a get together (happens every 10 years!) Many will just pop in for a couple of hours so there will still be Aunts available but this is just a heads up.
Thank you for putting your faith in Animal Aunts for the past 29 years, there can be no greater compliment than to be entrusted with everything you hold dearest, your home, your life and most importantly your beloved animals.