A PAIR of adventurers decided to start a new pet store after finding a friendship.
Kelly Stevens from Kelvedon met Oksana Snizhko from Kyiv while snorkeling in Egypt.
Both fitness enthusiasts – and recovering from the loss of their mothers to the same type of cancer – they found they had a lot in common, including their love of travel, nature and dogs.
Kelly and Oksana have decided to quit their jobs to travel and go on adventures.
During one trip, they acquired three dogs – a French bulldog called Freddie from the UK, a German shepherd cross golden retriever named Fluffy from Egypt and Winnie, a stray dog they found abandoned in a forest near from Oksana’s house in Ukraine.
While Freddie was undergoing surgery, Oksana researched the nutritional benefits of a change in diet.
This interest sparked the idea of starting a business offering premium dog food.
Called The Dogs Business, the company, based near Stowmarket, also offers a wide range of dog accessories, including dog beds and hand-knit dog sweaters made in Ukraine.
All profits from these sales are donated to Ukraine to support the country.
The company is also linked to the Ukrainian animal rights organization UAnimals.
Kelly said: “We have already met with many dog owners and they have been very interested in our help in choosing the right accessories and advice on how to transition their dogs to healthy eating.
“We have been very well received by customers and other retailers here at Stonham Barns Park.
“The trip to start the business was a bit rushed because of the war in Ukraine.
“We do what we love and we want to share with everyone our experience of traveling with dogs and their healthy living and activity.”
Oksana is also looking forward to returning to Ukraine when it is safe to do so.
She said: “We walk our dogs in the beautiful countryside of Suffolk and it reminds me a lot of my home country.”
“I am very lucky to have the chance to be here in the UK as a temporary resident.
“I am very grateful for everyone’s hospitality, kindness and government support.”
For more information, visit facebook.com/dogsbusinessshop.