A veterinary nurse has opened the doors of her home to offer short breaks to a host of furry and scaly friends.
Mum-of-two Vicky Pedder has turned her hand to caring for exotic pets, setting up her own business and building lodgings to house them when owners are away.
Vicky, who has more than 18 years’ experience in veterinary practice, has also launched a new food range, VP Exotics Banquet Range especially for exotic pets.
She is hoping to roll out the pet food range for tortoise, rabbit and guinea pig, which is all handmixed from her home in Torrisholme, through local vets in the coming months.
It has been a busy but exciting time for Vicky, who has a Veterinary Nursing of Exotic Species Certificate; she launched the VP Exotics business after she and husband Graham adopted a little girl.
She says: “I built my nursing career in small animal practice and had a special interest in exotics, having also rescued or owned most species of small animals and reptiles in this time.
“I have studied extensively and this itself spurred me in to trying to bring affordable nursing care in to pet owner’s homes.
“Since our new family addition I decided to try and balance my wonderful family and my passion for animals. I’m hoping that after a very hard first three months and a true leap of faith that we are starting to see a positive response.”
The couple have installed a purpose-built animal lodge which houses rabbits, reptiles, guinea pigs, tortoises, giving owners peace of mind when they go on holiday.
There is also a new poultry area for boarding small groups of hens, a three-tier chinchilla home, vivariums, tortoise tables and small parrot facilities.
Vicky believes they are the first in Lancashire to offer such a service, and already have attracted clients from across the area and even further south.
They began the exotic pet boarding after recognising the huge increase in small animal and reptile ownership and realising the lack of options locally.
She adds: “I’m passionate about client’s pets and responsible pet ownership and hope this goes some way to improving animal welfare.
“The care is so specialised, a lot of my clients with rabbits were struggling to find lodging and I felt they deserved more in terms of quality boarding care.
“It was a niche opportunity. I am now looking to build a phase two for house rabbits.”
As well as the lodging and food range, Vicky is also offering a growing Community Veterinary Nursing Service, visiting clients at home.
She adds the food range has proven a ‘big hit’ with pet owners: “It’s about trying to improve the nutrition in animal feed.
“I’m developing the range to include different species and healthy treats in the future. So many problems encountered in our pets can be avoided simply through appropriate nutrition.”
And in her spare time, when she is not looking after her own pet family, including two tortoises, a royal python, six hens, two dogs, a parrakeet and an aviary of rescued birds of her own, she also visits local schools and nurseries with her snake and tortoise to engage children on animal care.
Vicky adds: “I have had to put in a lot of hours getting myself established, but I am really pleased with how it’s going. I still manage a few hours in practice, which keeps me refreshed but it seemed like a natural progression and I’m loving it.”
Visit www.vp-pets.co.uk, search Facebook for VP Exotics or follow them on Twitter @vpexotics