Pet carer service's appeal to survive after Covid and faulty van struggles
- Credit: Maccy G Pets
A Norwich pet carer is appealing for help to keep her business afloat after spending hundreds on a faulty work van and seeing customers fall by "at least 70pc" during the pandemic.
Tracy Eaton, of Maccy G Pets on Carrow Hill, had built up a good reputation after starting her service in 2019, but Covid meant bookings plummeted as holidays were cancelled and people stayed at home.
Ms Eaton was not eligible for grant support during the pandemic as she continued to do part-time social work having decided to leave the job full-time to start the pet business.
She said: "It's been really difficult and I had so many cancelled bookings. As a dog walker and pet sitter going into people's homes, I found not many needed me as everyone had to stay at home."
Her situation was made worse after buying a van for £950 in June 2020 which she felt was more suitable than her old Ford Fiesta for transporting customers' pets in.
Ms Eaton said she was "ripped off" after originally being told the van was perfect for her, as she has subsequently had to fork out more than £1,300 on the faulty vehicle.
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Ms Eaton said: "I had built up a good reputation and do not want to lose it because my van broke down, which would lose people's trust and mean I don't have a business.
"My wedding was also cancelled three times so it really was a rubbish year, but I feel like I have got through the worst of it and can pick myself up."
Known for her pet taxi, Ms Eaton has looked after a range of animals including snakes, guinea pigs, rabbits, cats and dogs.
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She has set up a crowdfunding page to cover the cost of a replacement van which will allow her to continue her work. So far, nearly £850 of the £2,500 target has been raised as bookings start to pick up again for the summer months.
Customer Laura Bemrose, who has continued to use the pet service during the pandemic as both herself and her wife are key workers, described Ms Eaton as her "hero" during Covid.
She said: "Why should a lockdown hero, now suffer when she has gone above and beyond for her local community?"
The crowdfunding page can be found at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/maccygpets-rebuild-covid