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Take a paws if you think we're barking; Ever heard of birthday cakes for dogs, shirts to fit your favourite pooch and slimming classes for over cuddly canines? Catherine Jones and Lydia Whitfield discover the businesses which cater for the every whim of our fabulous four legged friends.

Byline: Jones;Lydia Whitfield

POSH Pooches, proud purveyor of handmade cakes and biscuits, promises to cater for any canine occasion, be it a birthday, Christmas or passing dog school.

And it should be no surprise to a nation of dog-lovers that, despite a full-blown recession, Posh Pooches' confectionery is selling like hot cakes.

The idea of Sarah Johansen, Posh

Pooches also offers a dog boutique selling designer clothing and accessories, plus a dog-walking service with named routes such as the Molly Matilda and the Maisie.

"The cakes can be tailor-made for any occasion," says Sarah, who gave up a pounds 30,000-plus job as an insurance broker in London to start the business.

"It's an idea that has come from America where it's very big." Posh Pooches offers carob-dipped bone-shaped biscuits and kennel-shaped granola cakes. Penarth-based Sarah took 18 months planning the business, which combines her passion for dogs with wanting to help people rushed for time.

Sarah says: "We are in a recession and some can't necessarily afford to pay pounds 5 for a half-hour dog walk but it's two-sided. It could be good for some people and for other people an added expense they don't need.

"People are more scared of losing their jobs so they put in longer hours or double shifts or have two jobs and don't have time to walk the dog." Sarah plans to sell the "designer end" of dog clothing, including an Australian brand currently stocked at Harrods and Harvey Nichols.

"One design is called 'Savile Row', which is a collar like a shirt collar," she says. "It's not so much Paris Hilton but that kind of style. Prices will be around pounds 15 to pounds 20. There may be a recession but people still want to find something slightly different."

Fully insured Sarah, who has of herown, says she is not for the kind of person who, money gets tight, skimps on for the family pet.

She offers a night- visiting service, off care for an event such as a match, and a free consultation to meet the dog and "parent".

So why do dogs deserve such service? " They give us unconditional love what do we really give them back? They do everything we tell them to and, at the end of the day, what's a home-baked treat that dogs go absolutely go mad for?" she said.

"I still haven't had children but I keep increasing the number of dogs I have so there's obviously something to be said for it. My husband and I say 'Come to mummy and daddy'.

The dogs aremy children and I think a lot of people feel that way." More at www.poshpooches-cardiff.co.uk..

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Sarah Johansen with one of her dogs and some of her hand-made biscuits and cakes
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 15, 2009
Words:466
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