Himara Van Haevermaet, of Petsonality.
What does your business do?
My business primarily offers consultations for dogs and cats with behavioural problems, which very often are a symptom of an underlying illness or stress in the environment.
I also offer one-to-one training sessions in which the pet is taught to understand basic voice and hand cues which provide an effective means of communication between pet and owner.
Where are you based?
I am based in the South Side of Glasgow, however I only visit clients in their own home.
The reason for this is because it is necessary to observe the pet in the environment where the troubling behaviour is occurring, as diagnosis and treatment will be carried out there.
How did you get started?
Initially, after discovering my passion to work in the animal behavioural field, I developed a business plan with the aim to set up my own consultancy business.
I wanted to let pet owners know that these problem behaviours are quite common and to show them that there is help available for them and their pet.
The business plan, my logo and website were all developed and ordered using a simple Netbook at home.
What is your background?
I graduated from Glasgow University Veterinary School in 2008.
Since then I have lectured in pharmacology, worked in a small animal clinic and volunteered with an organisation called TAPA (Tsunami Animal People Alliance).
My interests lay in the welfare of pets and the behaviours they exhibit, so I went on to complete a Masters in Clinical Animal Behaviour at Lincoln University last year.
What is your top tip?
Invest time getting to know your clients and people in your field.
People are more likely to use your services if they have had a chance to engage with you in person or, on the recommendation of others.
How long has your business been running?
Since May this year.
Has anyone helped you get started and how?
My adviser David Hughes, at Jobs and Business Glasgow, has been instrumental in helping to make my business plan a reality.
I have also been helped by Business Gateway; the workshops, events and expert advice it offers have been a massive help and specifically, the Women Into Business team, who host informative and supportive monthly networking events.
What was your first deal?
A case that involved sudden redirected aggression between two male house cats.
Who was your mentor and is your inspiration?
While I was doing my Masters, I was mentored by Professor Daniel Mills, the UK's first Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons' recognised specialist in veterinary behavioural medicine, who remains a massive inspiration to me.
Where do you plan your business to be in five years' time?
I would like to have produced a published guide for owners of dogs and cats, which would outline the right approach to behavioural therapy and seek to point them in the right direction when they are first working with their pet.
I also hope to see my business thriving in Glasgow as more and more people come to realise and appreciate the wonderful benefits that come with a happy pet and a healthy relationship with pet and people.
Business Gateway Glasgow www.bgateway.com 011 276 5333
Jobs and Business Glasgow www.jbg.co.uk
APBC (Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors) www.apbc.org.uk