Do you care about the welfare of animals and pets in need, but you’re not sure what
you can do?
Well, doing something as simple as treating your dog to a new toy or bag
of treats can help, according to Launceston-based business Paws for Thought.
Owned by animal-lover Chris Reynolds, accompanied by his rescue dog Freddie, Paws for
Thought is a pet shop based on Northgate Street, offering all kinds of goodies for your pet.
Chris, who previously owned a larger business before pursuing his plans to go travelling in
South East Asia, witnessed the plight of street dogs and elephants used for entertainment.
When Covid hit and his travels were cut short, Chris got home and took inspiration from his
own rescue dog Freddie, a sweet little terrier with so much love to give. Freddie, plus his
experience abroad, motivated Chris to use his business skills and passion for animals to
help shelters both locally and across the world.
“I wanted to do something for the animal shelters,” Chris told Launceston Life. “When Covid
came around, many people found that they couldn’t keep their pets anymore, so the animal
shelters were overwhelmed.
“That’s why I created my own Community Interest Company - Freddie’s Friends Foundation.
The ethos was to buy as many products as I could in Cornwall for the shop, and the
proceeds from the profits would be distributed to 12 animal shelters.”
The shop, Paws for Thought, is a space for pet owners to buy treats, dog wear, cat treats
and toys for their beloved animals at home. The shop is dog-friendly too, so customers are
welcome to sit in the socialisation area next to the main shop space, enjoy a coffee with their
pooches at their side and watch the world go by.
From sales profits and customer donations, since it first started in September 2021,
Freddie’s Friends Foundation has already donated in the region of £600 for the 12 animal
shelters they support. There is also a pre-loved basket in the shop customers can donate to
and take from and customers are welcome to make a donation to the shop's charity box they
think appropriate for the item they are taking.
Using his business skills to generate proceeds, Freddie’s Friends Foundation is supported
by many local businesses, among them a pet portraiture artist and the Red Chair Cafe. Chris
also works with Paws2Freedom, a dog rescue initiative based in Altarnun, and Nowzad, a
British charity working to help animals abroad, including Afghanistan and Ukraine. A recent
appeal to help Ukrainian pets saw his shop become overwhelmed with amazingly generous
contributions from the local community that in turn, got their way to Nowzad.
“There is a lot of cruelty in the world, but also many animal lovers,” Chris continued. “Part of
Freddie’s Friends Foundation is also to work with other animal charities and organisations.
I’m currently arranging for a local groomer, vet and trainer to do a morning here once a
month, providing basic advice to elderly folk or vulnerable people with animals at home.”
Before taking the shop in Launceston, Chris started with a stall in Plymouth Market. He
remembers an encounter with an elderly lady in a mobility scooter very well.
“This lady also had an elderly dog who was obviously not getting the exercise it needed,” he
said. “The owner became very anxious about it, and so did the dog, so it was a downward
spiral which sometimes results in the owner giving up the pet.”
Fortunately, the lady received some help from a neighbour, who offered to take her dog out
each day. Chris hopes people in Launceston and beyond can do the same for any
vulnerable people they know with pets, building on the already strong sense of community
spirit that the area has.
“Wouldn’t it be nice to get the community together to look out for folk, to pop in and take their
dog for a walk if they can’t do it themselves?” Chris added.
Paws for Thought is based opposite the Central Methodist Church in Launceston,
open 10am-4pm Tuesday to Friday and 10am – 3pm Saturday.