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Sam and Rebecca at The Doghouse Cafe

Two University of Chester alumni, Rebecca Howell and Sam Walsh, have opened up a new dog café in Chester. Rebecca and Sam met while at university and wanted to provide a place for those who might be missing their own pets while away at university and anyone else that simply wanted to spend more time with some friendly dogs.

We caught up with Rebecca to find out more about The Doghouse Café.

  • What did you study at the University of Chester?
    I studied events management with a placement year. I started in 2018 and completed my placement at STUnii 
    Sam studied Graphic Design and started in 2017.
  • Tell us about your experience while at university.
    I absolutely loved my course and placement year. I thoroughly enjoyed doing my live event in my 2nd year as it gave me a proper insight into what it will be like in the future and how vast and exciting each part of the event process is from start to finish. 
    Sam spent his uni years working at the SUN when he wasn't at Kingsway campus studying graphic design. 
  • What inspired you to start The Doghouse Café?
    We both have a passion for dogs and since being young I always wanted a doggy day care or something to do with dogs. Sam visited a place similar in Newcastle 6 years ago and fell in love with the idea of a dog café, we then put both of our ideas together over the last few months and decided we had a solid plan and business idea. It then was inspired by then and we just had to find the right location which was easily done as we both fell in love with it the first time we visited and that's where it all began 
  • What’s next for The Doghouse Café?
    I am currently in the process of becoming qualified for a doggy day care, we will then open as one full time. We are also looking into doing a lot of events and puppy parties after our first one which was very successful the first week of January 2023. We have a lot of exciting things in the pipeline and for the future that we can't wait to share with everyone. 
  • Do you have any advice for current students/graduates who are interested in starting their own business?
    Take the step and do it, it's honestly worth the risk and I would never go back. Research is important and make sure you talk to the right people as well as get as many people on board with it. We couldn't have done the turnaround we did in just a month without help and support from friends and family. It's the best thing you will ever do to take the leap and wake up every morning knowing it's yours and just seeing it grow in front of you. 

The Doghouse Café is located on Godstall lane so be sure to visit with your dog companion and keep an eye out for exciting updates on their plans for the future!

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