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hero actionpetz

The small business with a big heart and a wagging tail in Wales

How finding a stolen staffy created an award-winning business

When Shelly Redding was out walking her dogs in spring 2014 Rocco, her staffy cross, was stolen from her by a man in the park. Determined to get him back Shelly initiated a campaign using local media and social media which was supported by numerous local dog charities.

12 days later Rocco was found as a stray, taken to Cardiff Dogs’ Home and the two were reunited.

Around the same time Shelly, a qualified nutritionist, was setting up her own business developing nutritional food for dogs. But following her experience she wanted to offer a safe place people could take their dogs for training and exercise. 

Her research found that there were no safe place to exercise dogs in the UK, so she developed a business plan, called it ActionPetz, secured a £20K start-up loan and opened her doors to dogs and their owners in June 2014.

Caring for Canines in Need

Shelly says, “Given the bad experience that gave birth to the business I wanted to give something back to dog charities from day one."

"They’d offered incredible help to me during my search for Rocco and previous volunteering work I’d done for the RSPCA had opened my eyes to the great need for rescue dogs to be exercised and trained in a safe environment ready for rehoming.”

So, Shelly made all ActionPetz facilities available to her local dog refuge centres including Cardiff Dogs Home, Hope Rescue, and Friends of the Animals RCT.

On top of this ActionPetz provides the venue for the Dogs Trust to deliver puppy training courses to its employees, volunteers and new dog owners. 

Raising funds for every good cause with paws

ActionPetz was the only Small Business Big Heart regional finalist to be nominated by a benefactor.  Vanessa Waddon, Founder of Hope Rescue explains why she put the ActionPetz forward for a Small Business Big Heart Award:

“Since Action Petz opened its doors it has supported local animal charities. This includes free play sessions for our foster dogs and free use of their Freedom Room for our more difficult kennel dogs.”

“Since Action Petz opened its doors it has supported local animal charities. This includes free play sessions for our foster dogs and free use of their Freedom Room for our more difficult kennel dogs.”

“They have let us use the venue for filming. They also run A.P.E.T.S. training academy and have provided free and discounted places (up to £2,000 in value) for our staff and volunteers on their accredited training courses. This has provided valuable learning and skills which is then shared with other volunteers.”

On top of this, every couple of months, ActionPetz hosts a charitable event including breed-specific doggie get togethers which raise funds for local rescue centres. There are also dog care item collection events which encourage the businesses’ customers to give food, blankets and toys to dogs in need.

Caring for Dog Owners facing Challenges

As a business ActionPetz provides a safe environment for exercising dogs which is great for owners who suffered similar experiences to Shelly, dogs who have social issues, and walkers with disabilities which make outdoor exercise impractical or impossible. 

Shelly simply says, “I just want to give something back and am lucky enough to be in a position to do so.”

Has your small business got a big heart like ActionPetz?  If so tell us your story by completing our short survey here and watch this space for details of the 2017 Small Business Big Heart Awards.




Jo Thornley

About the author

Jo joined Dynamis in 2005 to co-ordinate PR and communications and produce editorial across all business brands. She earned her spurs managing the communications strategy and now creates and develops partnerships between, and and likeminded companies.


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