We're introducing to you the Puppy Whisperer, Mother of Doggos and Business Woman, Rebecca Simmons! We sat down with Bec to discuss her company's expansion, Barc For Pets, and memorable adventures with pups!
What was your key reason behind starting the company?
Originally, the vision for the business was to provide the local community with a loving and caring home for their pets while they go away. Myself and my partner Marc adore animals, so this decision was an exciting one yet came so naturally.
Over time we started to add other services such as house sitting and dog walking and before we knew it, we had weekly return customers and were booked for 10 months straight!
Now, we see our business as more of a community and lifestyle business for dogs, particularly with the introduction of our online store. We have put in quite substantial work to create a one stop shop for our customers and their pets.
What services do you offer at Barc for Pets?
We offer a range of premium services including Dog walking, Pet minding, Doggie day care,
House sitting/pet sitting, House visiting where we come to your house once or twice a day to feed, play or walk your animals. We also offer Spa bath packages, which includes a a warm bath with your choice of our all natural Melanie product ranges with dog conditioning spray + dog cologne. This is a great option if your pooch has been staying with us over night!
What kind of dog-caring experience do you already possess?
The later part of my childhood my mother bought a farm in Port Macquarie, Avelon Farm. She started breeding Border Collie puppies and has been an avid breeder in the area ever since. Naturally this exposure taught me a lot about dogs, dog behaviour, puppy training, care and generally how to handle lots of dogs at one time. I have had pets all my life, as has Marc. Dogs coming to stay with us really brings our family together and we absolutely love having them, and they dynamic they create in our home.
To grow a business completely involving pets, we are sure that you must have had owned a few yourself! Do you own any pets at the moment or do you not considering your business’ nature?
Yes, we definitely have had pets in the past, many actually. Another motivator for opening the business back in 2016 was for some company for our boy Benson, the rescue Mastiff that we both adored. Unfortunately, Benson passed away at the start of 2017 from a vein disease which is common in older Mastiff breed dogs. This was a really hard time for us both and something that is still quite upsetting. We haven’t had the heart to find another dog and have been so inundated with love from our clients’ dogs, we are going to wait a little longer before we open our hearts to another family member. One of our regular clients, Boo, came and stayed with us for the week to help heal our hearts after Benson passed, we will never forget how great it was to have Boo by our side, and how kind of his owners Annie and Graeme to bring him over to stay with us.
What activity do you enjoy the most when spending time with the dogs?
Hands down, our favourite day out is at Bayview Rowlands Reserve dog park. It’s a huge grassy circle on the water of a stunning Marina. If you own a dog take them there and he will be forever grateful! It's doggie heaven.
Is there a funny story that you would like to share with us, in the time you have created your company?
The dogs bring us so many laughs, honestly, it’s never ending. Bobbi in particular has been quite the little character with us. There was one time we had two French Bulldogs staying with us Bobbi and Pablo (who are also cousins funnily enough). One day Marc and I went to do the grocery shopping and the boys went to absolute town on our house. Toilet paper was spread from my walk-in wardrobe to the other end of our house behind the bed. The funniest part of this was that we were watching them on the puppy camera and were yelling Bobbi, Pablo, NO! They would look at the camera and keep running around spreading toilet paper. You just have to laugh, the boys were young at this time and although it took me days to clean, it was hilarious and I loved them more for it.
Looking after dogs must be fun, but I can imagine that sometimes it may be stressful work. Have you ever been in a tough situation during the time of your work owing to the nature of the dogs being dogs?
Yes, absolutely. I feel as though our standard’s in particular, to provide constant care and love, can be full on at times. All with different needs, feelings and behaviours. There have been many occasions where I have had to sleep on the floor in the lounge room to comfort dogs who are missing home or suffer from anxiety. The first night is always a challenge, then generally it’s all fun and games from there. Nothing shocks us anymore and we are really understanding of how hard it can be to be away from Mum and Dad.
You stated that you grew up on a farm, would you say your love for animals has expanded from that? Is there a distinct difference from caring for farm animals and domesticated pets, emotionally/physically?
Yes, I believe so. I have been a vegetarian since I was around 3 years old. Once I made the connection between “mooies” being cows and steak, I have never eaten meat since. The thought of eating an animal honestly brings tears to my eyes. I have always been a strong advocate for animal well-being. I also believe that spending time with lots of different animals from such a young age made me bond with animals on an intense level. Being an only child, the animals were my friends growing up and they always will be. I would say there is a distinct difference from animals on a farm to domesticated pets. Farm animals are wild and unpredictable at times, acting based on instinct rather than domesticated training which was always interesting for me to observe.
What would be the ultimate goal and vision for your company? Are you thinking of extending your range of services that you have available, caring for pets other than dogs, expanding your business outside of North Sydney etc.?
At the moment expansion of our services to cover broader regions in Sydney and Gold Coast is being seriously considered, however our main focus is our new online store. It’s been a really exciting time for us business wise and our collaborations with brands has been such a wonderful experience. We are also excited to start doing pick up and drop off in the city, to give city dogs a chance to come and get some Northern Beaches sunshine!
We’ve heard that you are Bobbi’s godmother! What are your thoughts on our CEO’s beloved Bobbi?
Bobbi, where do I start? He is such a little ball of love and being his God Mummy since he was baby has been such a fun adventure. He has been through his baby phase where he was really needy for cuddles at ALL times, to his teenager phase where he was too cool for school and now as a young man and older brother he is just the most beautiful dog. We really look forward to our time with Bobbi and make sure his time with us is eventful and exciting. We have even taken Bobbi to Berry with us on a puppy holiday while Talita and Ricky were getting married in Greece!
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