My name is Stef and I started Stretch Their Legs with my partner Ben following conversations with fellow dog owners, friends and animal lovers. I had been working in offices as an administrator/office manager for the last 17 years and felt it was time to do what I wanted to do. I have always been an animal lover and have owned dogs, horses, mice, degus, hamsters, cats, guinea pigs, rats, rabbits and a pygmy hedgehog.
I began house-sitting when working for an environmental consultancy. My boss at the time asked if I would look after his smallholding while the family were on holiday. This involved looking after 2 cats, a tortoise, 2 horses, up to 4 ponies and either sheep or pigs depending on what they had at the time for up to 2 weeks at a time. I slept at the property and spent my weekends there - normally poo-picking! I also hacked out the horses and monitored their anaerobic digester.
For another colleague, I looked after their elderly Staffordshire Bull Terrier, cats and gerbils. This involved staying overnight at the property, feeding and administering medication as required. They also rehomed a Rottweiler that I looked after as well.
Before adopting my two Romanian rescue dogs, I boarded a friend’s deaf Springer Spaniel for a few days. This included walking her and taking her to work with me.
I am also a Trustee for SOS Romanian Rescue South West, a charity that rescues and rehomes dogs from Romania. This cause is close to my heart as the charity rescued my two dogs
Molly is Waffles’ (our first dog) sister. She came over at the same time as Waffles but went to another family. The family was not a good match for Molly and she came back to the rescue. When we saw she had been given up we adopted her so she could be reunited with her sister.
Molly is very different to Waffles in personality and looks, she is incredibly playful and loving at home but is a nervous dog outside. She was very afraid of men when we adopted her and it took a long time for her to trust Ben, she now loves him and goes crazy when he gets home from work. She can still be very wary of men she doesn’t know and does not like to be touched by people she doesn’t know. Molly is reactive, especially to certain other breeds of dog (with the exception of spaniels - she adores spaniels) but this is improving.
She has come so far from the traumatised dog that came back to the rescue. Molly is my soulmate, she loves lie-ins and is happy to have a pyjama day when the weather is miserable!
Ben is a full-time software engineer/web developer/all-around computer genius. He designed and built my website for me and deals with all the technical aspects, including fixing my sprayer. He is a keen runner and is hoping to start canicross one day.