Wednesday, 25 November 2015

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Pet project turns into full-time venture for Cumbrian woman

What started out as a hobby for animal lover Vanessa Davies can now see her looking after up to 40 rabbits and guinea pigs at once.

Bunny photo
Vanessa Davies

The Carlisle woman runs Bunny Beds – a holiday home for small pets.

She launched the business as a part-time venture to help cover the cost of any vets bills for her own animals. But it has since taken off, with up to 25 rabbits and 15 guinea pigs in her care during the busy holiday periods.

Vanessa, who lives with husband Alan in north Carlisle, said: “I’ve kept rabbits and guinea pigs for about 30 years. It started purely by chance – a friend had a rabbit they didn’t want, so I took it, then we got it a friend, then a guinea pig. Once people knew I kept rabbits they used to bring me ones that needed rescuing. It just grew from there.”

The business idea followed later. Vanessa, who is also a part-time child minder, explained: “I started looking after some for friends while they were away because there aren’t many places that take rabbits and guinea pigs.

“I had quite a lot of my own and someone suggested I turn it into a business. I thought it might help to cover any vets bills so I started it up.

“Now it’s 365 days a year. From now right through the summer it will be busy.

“I look after children before and after school, so the rest of the morning I spend cleaning them all out, feeding them, looking after them. I really enjoy it. I get a lot of regular customers so I know a lot of the rabbits and guinea pigs quite well. I’ve met a lot of nice people and a lot of nine animals,” she added.

Aside from those on holiday, Vanessa has eight rabbits, five guinea pigs, three tortoises, a cat, a parrot and two budgies. But although her house is anything but quiet, she says she wouldn’t swap any of it.

“I do really enjoy it. I just love them,” she added.

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