Emily Robertson’s vocation could be the dream job.
The Hound Hub founder and internationally trained dog groomer spends her working day surrounded by local dogs in one of Wanaka’s emerging industries — doggy daycare.
With one dog to every seven people living in Wanaka, and one to three in Upper Clutha, there is a growing demand for dog support services.
Ms Robertson noticed the rising demand and opened the Hound Hub in February this year in a leased commercial space after initially working out of her garage.
It was a distant cry from two years ago, when Covid-19 hit and the uncertainty of lockdowns and restrictions changed her business overnight.
“It really was devastating. We would have had to shut down permanently,” she said.
Customers reached out and stayed in touch during that time, which made the difference, she said.
“One part of me was ready to walk away and another part wanted to stay because we had spent so much time building the business up,” Mrs Robertson said.
The business began in 2014, when she decided to take on dog walking jobs while working in hospitality. “Originally I was doing it as a side gig . . . it was just a bit of extra cash, and getting to spend time with dogs because my dogs were at home in the UK and I wanted that dog interaction,” she said.
The business grew gradually, leading Mrs Robertson to travel to Melbourne to study dog grooming. She became a qualified dog groomer in 2018. She has also completed a diploma in animal psychology.
“Every dog has their own personality . . they are so loyal, loving, and it’s unconditional love. Everything you give to them, they give to you 10 times back,” she said.