By Poppy Huggett and Isobel Williams

A mum who quit her air hostess job to work with dogs has launched her latest venture – an ice cream van exclusively for pooches.

Emmie Stevens, 36, opened Poochies Pupsicles on March 31 – and says business is booming.

Based in south London, she is making the van available for hire – and is planning to hit the road this summer.

Emmie, a mum-of-one, left her cabin crew role 15 years ago to work as a groomer after realising dogs were her “niche in life”.

She first hit upon the idea of the ice cream van four years ago after visiting a tradeshow, and has now made it a reality.

The menu includes stacks of options including a Doggy Mr Whippy which comes with a gravy bone and doggy sprinkles, and Pupsicle bites which is six different flavoured ice bites.

Emmie, from New Addington, near Croydon said: “This is a very unique business, there isn’t anything out there currently like me.”

The inspiration for a dog-friendly business began when Emmie adopted her pet Doodles from a puppy farm.

The mum-of-one explained that she went through a “troubled childhood”, such as being bullied at school and found it hard to socialise with humans.

Emmie said: “I gave Doodles a chance – he was in a complete state when I got him. But when I took him on, he changed my life.”

After rescuing Doodles, she and the pooch headed to dog events across London, and before she knew it, she ended her career as an airhostess and took a new role on as a dog groomer which she has now been doing for 15 years.

She added: “I realised this was my niche in life – I wasn’t a people person.

“I then realised dogs are for me – they’re very loyal, loving, and deserve to be spoiled.

“I offered one-to-one service for the dogs at my clients houses and was so busy, but I then got a mobile dog grooming van.”

Emmie’s business was so successful she opened a cage free dog grooming shop, and eight years later, she now has a three-year-old boy, eight dogs, and a brand-new ice cream van for dogs.

She said: “I saw normal ice cream vans stocking dog ice creams – it wasn’t just me being over the top with my dogs – dogs are like people’s family now.

“I am very over-the-top with my dogs; I dress them up, they have their own bedroom, shoes, buggies, and dresses – some dresses have cost me £60 per piece.

“So, I wasn’t sure if I was just wanting to spoil my dogs, but even a normal person will want to spend a little money to give their doggy an ice cream”.

After researching ingredients, figuring out what would appeal to humans, and what would taste great for dogs, Emmie decided it was time to buy an ice cream van, and make her dream a reality.

Emmie says she plans on taking Poochies Pupsicles to the surrounding areas, such as West Wickham and Bromley, and will cover special days further afield, such as in Dartford and Lakeside.

The van will also be up for hire in case of any grand openings or pup parties where ice cream might be needed.

Emmie added: “In the summer I’ll be going around the roads, selling to my current clients and new ones.

“We will be pulling up by the side of doggy parks, and then deep into the summer we’ll be doing dog events like Paws in the Park and the Detling Show Ground.

“This is a very unique business, there isn’t anything out there currently like me.”

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