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A couple who volunteered as foster carers for sick, stray dogs in South America are setting up a new pet sitting business in Finchley.

Launching in the Summer of 2016 Laura Waterman and Fernando Sanchez, of Lankaster Gardens, East Finchley, are beginning a new tale in their story as they embark on their own business together. Since launching Pet Sitting Finchley their customer base has grown beyond all expectations to include: Dog Walking, Dog Boarding, Pet Sitting and even looking after Ferrets!

The animal-loving couple, who met while working on a cruise ship to the Caribbean five years ago, have decided to turn their passion and experience of caring for sick and injured dogs into a career as pet sitters in the Finchley area.

Fernando and Laura

The pair will be offering dog walking, home visits and feeding, puppy sitting and vet taxi services, dog day care and boarding as part of their business.

Both grew up with pets in their lives, from dogs to hamsters and guinea pigs to goldfish, but had to put their attachment to their pets to one side while they went travelling in their mid-20s.

Laura, 28, explained: “For me, animals give unconditional love. I feel a really strong connection to them and I really enjoy their company. Even when I first moved out of home I couldn’t be without some pets so I got myself some house rabbits.”

The couple went on to spend a year in Australia and indulged their affection for animals by taking on dog walking jobs. They also spent a year in 29-year-old Fernando’s home country of Chile, where they fostered sick, stray dogs while they were recovering from medical treatment and waiting to be re-homed.

Laura said: “There were so many dogs on the street that need veterinary care and fostering while waiting to be found a new forever home.

“For a few months we cared for Suzy, an eight-month-old mixed breed, after she was left with a broken leg when she was hit by a car. She had to have lots of medication and her wounds had to be cleaned every day. We had to teach her how to walk again.

“She was such a lovely dog that Fernando’s aunt fell in love and adopted her. So we are still in contact with her, which is lovely.”

Laura, who has most recently worked as a nanny and volunteered as a driver for the RSPCA once a week, will be running the business full-time. Professional musician Fernando will also work in the business part-time.

She added: “Having worked as a nanny, I know how to behave while working in someone else’s home. I know what it means to be discrete and to care for someone else’s most prize possessions, their children and pets, as well as their property.

“We will provide a professional, personal service and care for each animal as if it is our own.”

The couple, who are fully insured, animal first aid trained and have valid DBS checks, will also be able to provide small animal boarding in their two bedroom apartment with garden.

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