Becky didn't want to bore friends with endless photos of pup Buddy, so she created K9Nation - just for dogs!
Like many puppy pawrents, Becky Baker felt overwhelmed when her Cockerpoo Buddy came into her life.
At the time, Becky, 33, from Wakefield, was living alone and had always dreamed of having a dog of her own.
But when she was faced with the struggles every new puppy owner has – the sleepless nights, toilet training and the guilt of leaving him – it inspired her to want to help other new pawrents.
So she came up with the idea of K9Nation, a website and app for dog owners offering a one stop shop to find advice, useful services and furry friends too.
The service launched earlier this month so we met with Becky and Buddy, now two, to find out more…..
Gorgeous pup Buddy!
Look at that smile!
So how did the idea come about?
I had the idea when Buddy was a puppy. We’d had dogs in the family when I was growing up but I’d never had a puppy of my own.
I was living on my own when he arrived and I think it’s fair to say nothing can prepare you. He was a lovely puppy but into everything.
He’d whimper at night and even if I tried to have a shower he’d cry for me. I tried to crate train him and would often find myself waking all through the night just to check if he was okay or needed to go out to the toilet.
I’d read books about what to do beforehand and tried to follow all the ‘rules’ but when some things didn’t work I felt like a bit of a failure.
I joined some Cockerpoo support groups on Facebook and got loads of helpful advice and tips that helped me through.
At the same time, like any dog owner, I felt conscious that I was always posting photos of him on my social media and was probably being a puppy bore!
So that’s where the idea of a social network for pet owners came from.
Dogs of all shapes and sizes are welcome at K9Nation!
How would you describe the website and app?
It’s like a social media platform where you can also search for services in your area, so if you need a vet, dog groomer or walker you can find recommended people nearby.
Each owner and dog has their own profile, just like we do on other platforms, and has their age, gender, breed, their gotcha date and a little bit about their personality.
People can say if they like chasing balls or carrying sticks and fun things like that. The idea is that you can find like minded friends for your dog.
There’s also forums where owners can chat about anything at all, so it’s an ideal place for support and advice.
Buddy and Becky enjoy a wintery walk as we chatted to them at Dunham Massey in Cheshire
Is it like Trip Advisor for dogs?
A little bit yes. If you’re going away for a weekend, then you can look up walks, dog friendly hotels and pubs and things to do.
So if you’re unfamiliar with an area it’s really helpful to find hidden gems. You can find details for vets too in case of emergency.
Other dog owners can leave reviews and recommendations so it means owners are sharing their local knowledge to ensure owners have the information they need at their fingertips.
Becky loves sharing snaps on her own social media platform knowing no-one will ever tire of them!
So it can help humans find friends too?
Yes, I think if you’re moving to a new area it’s a really good way to meet people and friends for your dog too.
And you can use it in the area where you’re currently living if you’d like to find new people and dogs to go on walks with.
We’ve only just launched but I’m hoping that there will be lots of people who arrange group walks who will register and welcome new dogs and owners into their community.
Ultimately, it’s about making dog ownership as fulfilling as we can!
Is there a charge?
No, it’s free for users. Pet businesses who wish to register can choose from a range of packages and we have a really affordable Bronze plan which is £4.95 per month.
What are your plans for the future?
It’s entirely self funded and I have put all my savings into launching this and I’m looking forward to seeing the site develop.
I’d love to work with animal charities and use the site and the app to help dogs who really need it.
We provide contact links for organisations like Dog’s Trust and RSPCA and contact details for dog wardens, plus advice on what to do if a dog is lost or found.
I want K9Nation to be as helpful as possible and it’s all about enabling owners to make the most of the time they have with their dogs.