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Our Betty & Butch Dog Community Heroes: Josie Starling | BETTY & BUTCH®

Our Betty & Butch Dog Community Heroes: Josie Starling

Our Betty & Butch customers are at the heart of everything we do and so many of those in our dog community are absolute heroes. Over the years, we have been lucky enough to get to know plenty of you and your perfect pooches. 

As part of our Chorlton store’s 10th year, we will be interviewing prominent customers about their journey with Betty & Butch to learn more about their own dog journey. 

So many of our amazing customers do such inspiring charity work and we want to celebrate their efforts as our community heroes. 

Our first community hero is Josie who was our first ever customer at Betty & Butch! We interviewed her about her dog journey and what it's like being a member of the Betty & Butch family. 

What age did you get your first dog and what was their name?

I got my first dog when I started to work from home in my late 40’s. I did some research and discovered that a pug would fit perfectly into my life. They were quite rare back then and I had to travel to the Brecon Beacons to get him. He was a six month old fawn pug who had been discarded by the breeder because he had a damaged eye. A very kind lady took him in and she entrusted his care to me. We are still close friends to this day. She had named him Jason and it really suited him so we stuck with it. He soon became the talk of the town and literally everybody who met him adored him. I was smitten, of course, from day one. 

Josie, our dog community hero posing with two dogs.

Ten years ago, you became Betty & Butch’s first customer; it means so much to us that you continue to be part of the Betty & Butch family. What does it mean to you?

I could not believe my luck when Betty & Butch announced they were opening in Chorlton. Up until then I would trawl the internet looking for suitable harnesses, coats, food, toys and just about everything he needed. Being able to visit the store and try stuff on him was just brilliant. Nothing I bought online ever fitted. Finding a harness was a nightmare until Angel & Paul arrived in Chorlton. It has meant so much to me to have their support over the years. We have shared so many happy times and they were always there to help through the sad times too.

If anybody ever asks me anything about dogs I always say try Betty & Butch. If they don’t have it they will do their utmost to source it or offer an alternative. They genuinely love dogs you see. 

Yes, it’s a business and yes they have to make money but they are the most ethical business I know. It is always in the dog’s interest or they don’t sell or promote it.

A pug sat with Father Christmas at Santa Paws event.

Over the years you have done a lot of dog charity work. Can you tell us about your work and its highlights?

The highlight of my charity work has to be the rehoming of surrendered or abandoned pugs. Watching them flourish in their new forever homes is so rewarding. 

I also love the fundraising side of the charity. It has introduced me to some of the kindest, most generous people you could ever wish to meet. For every bad dog owner there are at least 100 good ones. 

Betty & Butch have always supported my fundraising. Holding charity events and donating prizes whenever I asked them to. That meant so much to me. To have their continued support. 

Pug in a sailor outfit.

Charity work can be emotionally difficult, how do you deal with being confronted with abused and abandoned dogs?

I have witnessed horrific, unspeakable abuse on my journey. There have been lots of tears and soul searching. There have been times when I literally could not believe the cruelty but through it all I focused solely on the dog. Putting their needs at the forefront. I have been told dogs live in the moment. I hope and pray that is true. 

I know some are scarred for life but most recover and the sense of true happiness seeing the transformation is all the reward I ever needed. 

Tell us about your current dog.

I currently have one old lady pug called Gertie. She is a wonderful companion and never ceases to amaze me. She is almost 15, has lost the use of her back legs and has her own wheelchair and pram but none of that bothers her in the slightest. She is very happy as long as she calls the shots and gets lots of TLC and as many treats as she can blag. 

I have sadly lost 3 pugs. Molly aged 3, Ida May aged 12 and Jason aged 12. They all have a big paw print on my heart.

Two pugs posing for a photoshoot.

Betty & Butch have always helped me with the loss of my beloved pets. They know it isn’t just a dog. They are part of the family. One of the fondest memories I have is the beautiful memorial service we held at the church across the road from the old shop. 

Duke was remembered too on that day as he is every day by his devoted daddies. 

Read more: Clocks Changing And What That Means For Your Dog

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