'I've never been poorer - or happier': Woman quits property job to walk dogs

Rachael Bartholomew left behind a high flying career to take on a new business grooming and walking

Rachael Bartholomew left behind a high flying career to take on a new business grooming and walking dogs with Loving Your Paws. Joined by fellow dog walker Lindsey Wakefield. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

A pet-lover has ditched her high-flying career in property to start her own dog grooming and walking business after the pandemic made her re-evaluate what was important in life.

Rachael Bartholomew, 51, said she's "never been poorer" since she made the decision to say goodbye to her hefty salary — along with the posh car, bonuses and all the other cushy benefits being a partner of a property firm brings.

But the mum-of-three, who lives in Norwich's Golden Triangle, has also "never been happier" since she listened to the voice in her head telling her to pursue her real calling. 

Rachael Bartholomew left behind a high flying career to take on a new business grooming and walking

Rachael Bartholomew left behind a high flying career to take on a new business grooming and walking dogs with Loving Your Paws. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

For Ms Bartholomew, that was working alongside her favourite things in the world: dogs.

In December 2020 she left her fancy job in the city and went flat-out in her studies, gaining all the qualifications necessary to become a professional groomer, walker, trainer and pet-sitter.

That meant when the lockdown was lifted in May 2021, she was ready to launch Loving Your Paws — and already has dozens of loyal clients.

Rachael Bartholomew left behind a high flying career to take on a new business grooming and walking

Rachael Bartholomew left behind a high flying career to take on a new business grooming and walking dogs with Loving Your Paws. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Rachael Bartholomew left behind a high flying career to take on a new business grooming and walking

Rachael Bartholomew left behind a high flying career to take on a new business grooming and walking dogs with Loving Your Paws. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

"During the first year of the pandemic I was still employed while the majority of the rest of the firm's staff had been furloughed", she said. "That was pretty exhausting.

"I was working 14-15 hour days seven days a week, and trawling through 250 emails every time I logged on to my computer.

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"I wasn't in a good place anyway because earlier that year my own family dog of 14 years, my golden lab Chaos, had to be put to sleep.

"That was so tough for me because he was my best friend. I even get emotional just talking about it.

"And then to top it all off, I started the menopause. Everything was just piling up on me.

"It was then I realised I didn't need my fancy car, holidays or lots of money anymore. I just needed to do what I love, and do it well enough to pay the bills.

"Right now, I would say I've never been poorer. But I've also never been happier."

Rachael Bartholomew left behind a high flying career to take on a new business grooming and walking

Rachael Bartholomew left behind a high flying career to take on a new business grooming and walking dogs with Loving Your Paws. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Ms Bartholomew is one of many brave individuals who, over the course of the pandemic, have ditched job security for job satisfaction: another being trainee-doctor-turned-window-cleaner Davey Perkins.

Rachael Bartholomew left behind a high flying career to take on a new business grooming and walking

Rachael's new dog, a Springador named Alfie, is one of the most valued members of her family - Credit: Sonya Duncan


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