Taxi for my dog please! Fleggs pet service launched
A PET-LOVING mother-of-three has packed up her office job to ferry dogs and cats around the Fleggs in her animal taxi.
Sue Eltringham, 50, says she fell out of love with her civil service career in Norwich and longed for the simple life in the sunny Norfolk countryside.
So she bought a farm near Hemsby and - inspired by her partner who is a Norwich cabbie - started a pet taxi company using a former police car.
Alongside the taxi service, Sue offers dog walking, dog day care, boarding at her farm and home visits for creatures of all sizes.
She says her daughters had reservations about her plans to begin with, but people in rural villages have been picking up their phones and business is booming.
“My daughters thought it was a bit mad to begin with,” revealed Sue. “They said ‘are you sure mum’, but they’re all totally behind me now.
“I’d had enough of my job and didn’t enjoy it any more - it was focused on saving money but I used to be customer facing and helping people.”
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She said she leapt at the chance to take voluntary redundancy when offered it last year, and started planning her dream job while serving out her notice.
After dismissing tearooms and a cleaning business as options, she settled on the animal taxi idea and worked for months to ensure its launch this month went smoothly.
Her youngest daughter Jenny, 22, designed the Coastal Villages Pet Care website and logo - based on her border collie Jack - and Sue has been running the taxi since the start of this month.
“It’s just a complete change and it’s so relaxing,” she said. “The only pressure is to get to somewhere and I would recommend it to anybody - it’s fantastic.”
The taxi is a former police car, fitted with two animal cages, a ventilation fan and air conditioning.
And so far Sue has driven it to collect a Jack Russell who is lodging at the farm for a fortnight, chauffeured some cats to the vets and picked up a Lancashire Healer to be walked among other jobs.
She says most calls have come from Martham so far, but a customer from Aberdeen has been in touch - asking her to look after his dog for three nights while he holidays in Caister.
And she says she is grateful to her cabbie partner Lance for giving her the encouragement to start the unusual taxi firm.
The couple share their Common Road farm nine-year-old border collie Jack, parrots Max and Harry and farm cat Casper.
And Sue says dog Jack enjoys meeting new visitors, sitting in the taxi to come and meet them.
He is sometimes “cheeky” and gets in the front seat, but is generally happier in the back as “he has to bark at all the cars going by if he sits in the front.”
She hopes to progress to an animal ambulance service one day and is open to caring for most species, including horses and reptiles.
“But I might draw the line at spiders,” she said. The service covers around 10 miles around Hemsby, including Acle, Stalham and Great Yarmouth.
For details, see www.coastalvillagespetcare.co.uk or call 07412 614001.