o met seeking underwater adventure in Egypt, decided to create a brand-new business in the UK – called The Dogs Business – a walk-in pet shop, specialising in supplying nutritional food and accessories for dogs from top producers. Kelly Stevens, originally from Kelvedon in Essex, and Oksana Snizhko, who formerly lived in a town near Kyiv in the Ukraine, met while Freediving in Dahab.
Both fitness enthusiasts – and getting over the untimely loss of both their mothers to the same type of cancer – they found they had many things in common including their love of travel, nature and dogs.
Captions at end of press release …
Photography contributed (by Kelly/Oksana)
At the time they met they were both working full time, Kelly as a swimming coach, gardener and PT, and Oksana in the supply of consumables to the oil, gas and medical sector business in the Ukraine. They decided that life was also for living, not only for hard working, quit their ‘safe’ jobs to travel, doing things they loved, including Freediving, kite surfing and cycling. Over the months ahead, and while travelling, they acquired three dogs between them – French Bull Dog Freddie was from the UK, a German Shepherd x Golden Retriever Fluffy they took on in Egypt, and Winnie a stray dog from the Ukraine, that they found dumped in a forest in Ukraine near Oksana’s home.
Freddie underwent an operation for an injury and while he was recovering Oksana researched the nutritional benefits of changing his diet and adding natural healing products, that would help speed up his recovery particularly as he had developed an allergy to certain foods and lost his appetite. This interest in feeding dogs healthier food for better health and condition continued and the idea to start a business offering premium quality dog food was developed.
Alongside the food, the business also offers a wide range of dog accessories including dog beds and handmade knitted dog jumpers that are made in Ukraine during the war and already delivered to UK. All proceeds from these sales are going back to Ukraine to support the country during these challenging times.
‘Now we have a new business helping to provide quality food and accessories – including quality dog beds from the Ukraine – for dog owners from Suffolk and beyond. We have got to know many dog owners already and they have been very interested in our help to choose right accessories and advice on how to switch their dogs to a healthy diet and how to keep them healthy and happy.’
The business is linked to Ukrainian animal rights organisation UAnimals, which is one of the many charities helping to save animals from suffering during the war.
‘We have been made very welcome by customers and fellow retailers here at Stonham Barns Park. It is good to be able to talk to fellow dog owners and share tips and advice. We are setting up a website to support the outlet and we are developing our social media too. The journey to get the business started has all been a bit of a rush, because of the war in Ukraine. We do, what we love and we want to share with everyone our experience about traveling with dogs and about their healthy life and activity.’
Oksana is looking forward to going back to the Ukraine when it is safe to do so. ‘I miss my country very much’ she said, ‘and I want to go home to see my family but I am enjoying putting all my efforts into the development of our dog business for the moment which is like therapy for me in the current situation. We walk our dogs in the beautiful Suffolk countryside and it reminds me very much of my home country.’
‘I am very fortunate to have the chance to be here in the UK on a temporary residency basis. I am very grateful for everyone’s hospitality, kindness and the Government’s support.’
The Dogs Business can be found on facebook at www.facebook.com/dogsbusinessshop/
and Instagram at www.instagram.com/the.dogsbusiness/ and Twitter twitter.com/dogsbusiness2022 and on the official website when launched at www.thedogsbusiness.co.uk
Stonham Barns Park, one of Suffolk’s premier leisure, retail and holiday destinations.
It is a family destination venue to suit all ages. Other activities at the leisure, retail and holiday venue include The Suffolk Owl Sanctuary, The Bistro, The Golf Centre including Adventure Golf and FootGolf, The Teapot Pottery, holiday lodges, a caravan park, camping and glamping, Tumbledown indoor play barn and fishing lakes.