Hello! My name is Sue Kelly and I am a dog walking business owner, a photographer, and an Earth Museum Global Storyteller. I’m also a wife and mum to two grown up boys and two rescue dogs. I love nature, dogs, travelling, history and culture.
I was very honoured to be asked to contribute a guest blog to celebrate International Women’s Day this year. I strongly believe in women supporting other women, and have been lucky to experience this support throughout my life, both in terms of friends, education and business.
I spent 30 years working in the Public Sector, mainly in services responsible for employee health, safety and well-being. By late 2018, I was burnt out and needed to move away from a corporate environment to improve my own well-being and long-term health.
In 2019, I launched my dog walking business, Sue’s Canine Care. I specialise in solo or 2:1 walks for dogs that wouldn’t thrive in a pack walk. I help busy, working dog owners, who love their pets but can’t always be there for them, and older, retired owners who feel their dogs need a longer walk than they can manage.
I’ve always sent my clients photos of their dogs taken while we’re out walking. More recently, this has led me to begin incorporating dog photography into my business offer, thanks to encouragement from my wonderful mentor, Ursula Kelly, and support from other women in her mentoring group. I’m currently exploring a new brand under the title ‘The Mindful Dogwalker’. We’ll see how that develops in the coming months!
What seems like a long time ago, I studied archaeology and anthropology at University. In 2016, I was incredibly fortunate to get the chance to accompany Dr Janet Owen on an expedition to Patagonian Chile and Argentina, to follow in Charles Darwin’s footsteps while he was there during his voyage on HMS Beagle. This was the start of a wonderful project that has become The Earth Museum (TEM), a not-for-profit heritage and culture organisation founded by Janet. Late in 2019, I was asked to join the all-female board of the organisation as a non-executive director, which is proving to be an interesting & exciting role. I’ve also contributed stories for our website, based on photographs and letters my Grandfather sent home as a young man.
So, what is The Earth Museum? Among other things, it’s a free virtual space for the generally curious, for history and heritage lovers, for virtual travellers and for creative educators. We use stories to connect & map treasures in museum collections with the people and places they’re linked with. We aim to bring together local and global heritage stories with UN Sustainable Development Goals and citizen curation to develop digital resources and a digital global citizenship programme.
Recent TEM projects and stories have included developing Taken Rapanui Heritage & Artifacts maps with the Rapanui Pioneers Society, mapping East Midlands Heritage with a group of local museums, mapping Ryde’s Heritage through Explorer Trails and Workshops, and developing curriculum resources for schools with Gosport and Farnham Multi-Academy Trust.
My personal and business journeys have taught me so many things. If I had to pick a few, they would be to:
● get outside and into nature whenever you can. This has a proven benefit for mental health and well-being, and has certainly had a hugely positive impact on me.
● be open to new opportunities in life and business; it’s never too late to change track if your current one isn’t enabling you to thrive.
● get help, advice and support from others; there’s so much experience, knowledge and goodwill out there!
To finish, a personal plea from someone who is passionate about dogs. If you’re thinking of getting a dog, please consider adopting rather than buying one. There are so many abandoned dogs needing homes and too many unscrupulous rogue breeders. In my experience, a rescue dog won’t necessarily have any more ‘problems’, and they have so much love and gratitude to give!
My business website - www.suescaninecare.co.uk
My daily walking adventures are my Instagram page - www.instagram.com/suescaninecare
My Facebook business page - https://www.facebook.com/suescaninecare/
The Earth Museum website - www.theearthmuseum.co.uk
Our Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/The-Earth-Museum-110504680408927/