Posted 33d ago
The new shop in Chesterfield features a live painting studio (Image: Barkworthy Dog Emporium)
A compassionate couple has opened a new store that includes a live portrait painting studio that features their beloved dog Kira, who passed away.
Anthony Foster, 58, became the shop’s resident painter after he and partner, Carole, 61, decided to set up Barkworthy Dog Emporium in Chesterfield to provide bespoke services for canine customers.
In the past year, the couple sadly lost two Alaskan Malamutes, Kira and Bailey, at the age of 9 and 7, to illnesses, which prompted the couple to think of better ways to “improve dogs’ lives”.
Kira and Bailey-inspired logo design (Image: Barkworthy Dog Emporium)
As a dog lover and already co-founder of Sled Dog Rescue, Carole transformed her online-exclusive gift shop into a brand new, independent dog-friendly store driven by the mission of offering natural treats and specialised remedies for pets.
Carole said: “Opening this shop was like a revelation after losing Kira and Bailey. It just got us thinking about what we could do to improve other dogs’ lives.
“We put the two dogs on our logo, as well as a portrait of Bailey in Tony’s studio near the front of the shop, as a way to remember them.”
Tony's studio with Bailey's portrait hanging on the left side of the wall (Image: Barkworthy Dog Emporium)
Tony took up wildlife pastel painting as a hobby, but commissions started coming in after he painted a portrait of Kira.
He said: “We set up a small studio in the shop near the big window, and put up some pictures of dog portraits that I've done on the walls.
“People can see me working on a piece of painting live, so they’ve become interested in wanting their own pets immortalised in the same way.”
With six years of experience rescuing sled dogs “notoriously for suffering from multiple health issues”, Carole said losing Kira and Bailey made the couple decide to apply their knowledge to a greater cause - helping other dog owners.
Carole said: “Kira’s condition started with arthritis, so I've researched as much as I could, and we had our own natural supplements for a couple of years.
“It gave me the insight into how you can help dogs with just with diet and natural remedies, rather than going straight into the pharmaceutical route.
“Bailey was a rescue. He just fell asleep and didn’t wake up. It’s absolutely heart breaking for us. And because we’ve been through that, we now include a section in the shop for memorials so customers can buy a sympathy card and rainbow bridge frames for dogs that have passed away.
Inside the dog-friendly store (Image: Barkworthy Dog Emporium)
“If we can just pass on a little bit of advice, then it's worth it.”
Tony and Carole adopted Nishka, a five-year-old Alaskan Malamute, this summer, and she’s since become a chief taster at Barkworthy Dog Emporium, sampling treats for fellow canine customers.
Carole said: “I think the timing of getting Nishka felt like fate. It almost seemed like somebody had sent her to me because she needed me, and I needed her.
“She obviously gets spoilt a lot. When I get new products, she tries them out for me to see if she approves, which is lovely.”
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