Nurse starts dog grooming business after family illness forces major life change

A Bishop’s Castle carer has gone from looking after patients to pampering pets after an illness in the family forced a major life change.

The Castle Dog Groomers team includesDebbie, her daughter Alice Humphreys and daughter in law Sara Elin Williams, both 27.
The Castle Dog Groomers team includesDebbie, her daughter Alice Humphreys and daughter in law Sara Elin Williams, both 27.

Debbie Tantrum was a nurse for over 30 years but when her mum became poorly with Covid at Christmas and spent 63 days in intensive care – life changed for the whole family.

Although Debbie’s mum is now back at home, she will never be her normal self again and Debbie had to finish working at the hospital to look after her.

But as one door closes another opens, and in Debbie’s case it was the door to a new dog grooming business.

With a love of dogs and other animals all her life, it was a natural progression for Debbie who breeds beagles and grooms her dogs at home.

She said: “The idea came into our heads following my mum being so poorly at Christmas. “All the family got chatting and our original idea was to go mobile in a van and travel around.

“But we saw this little old listed building shop in Bishop's Castle High Street, and realised after viewing that this would be the one.”

So they have opened Castle Dog Groomers at 19 High Street, and in the first couple of weeks, business has been good.

The team includes 50 year-old Debbie, who is a qualified City and Guilds Dog Groomer, her daughter Alice Humphreys and daughter in law Sara Elin Williams, both 27.

Alice and Sara are grooming assistants and they will be going to college to gain their City & Guilds from September.

The business provides all grooming services from bathing to spa treatments, all their products are organic and 100 % natural.

The team are happy for anyone to pop in for a chat to discuss their dog’s needs, or even ask advice.

They have just launched an online booking system and now had their van back after its signs were written by Paul from the Sign Stop in Church Stretton.

One of Castle Dog Groomer's clients enjoying some pampering.

Debbie added: “Both Alice and Sara have young children who have just started nursery, and they have been finding it difficult to get jobs due to how rural we are and having to work around the children. So we thought that this idea would be great, the girls will take it in turns to work with me in the shop and work around the children.

“Since May we have been really busy, getting the shop ready, trying so hard to get all the equipment needed. Through this pandemic it’s been very hard to get everything we need, but we are getting there slowly.

“We have received lots of help including an online business course called From Good To Great, which I can highly recommend. It is a free course provided by Shropshire Council, Telford & Wrekin Council, Marches Growth Hub and European Union, and also Rob Mckay from Enterprise House, Business Start-up manager in Bishops Castle.

“Rob he informed me that a questionaire went out to the local residents of Bishops Castle in February and one of the top outcomes of this were that they were asking for pet services.

“Since opening the shop this month, we have not looked back, we have been so busy.

“We have had so many local residents pop in the shop to say hello and wish us good luck for the future, everyone is so pleased that we have opened up to provide services for pets.

“I even did a small interview on BBC Radio Shropshire. We want to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped and supported us.”

They are open 8am until 5pm Monday to Friday.

Castle Dog Groomers can be found on Facebook or on their website www.castledoggroomers.co.uk or call 01588 630760.

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