In those quiet moments, when life's burdens seem overwhelming, the gentle nuzzle of a four-legged friend or the serene embrace of nature can offer a profound touch of comfort. I'm Claire Chapman, and these moments of connection and tranquility inspired me to create Woofs and Wellness®.
Based in Northamptonshire, our unique approach to wellness is deeply rooted in a love for dogs and a passion for wellbeing. Through this venture, I've developed a global community that enhances the wellbeing of both owners and their dogs, offering an innovative 360-degree experience. But before I delve deeper into the essence of Woofs and Wellness, I'd love to share with you my ‘why’.
Life is a series of chapters. Some are filled with sunshine, while others are clouded with storms. After university, I was deeply committed to primary school teaching, a profession that allowed me to nurture young minds. However, a challenging phase in a toxic work environment led me into one of the stormiest chapters of my life. Overwhelmed by anxiety and depression and completely confined to my home, I felt lost and was very unwell.
But every storm has a silver lining. Mine was my now 8-year-old Cockapoo Charlie Chapman. He isn’t just a pet; he is my anchor, my silent therapist, and the very reason I found the strength to venture outside again. I began to share my journey to better mental health on social media to hopefully support and inspire others whilst battling my own struggles.
It was amidst this tumultuous period that the seeds for Woofs and Wellness were sown. Inspired by the comfort I found in Charlie's company and becoming acutely aware from the daily messages I was receiving on social media that there was a real need for a new approach to wellbeing, I began to envisage a platform where others could access and experience the same healing. I had a desire to create a community that I simply could not find for myself but knew would help; a space where mental wellbeing was prioritised.
Starting Woofs and Wellness was a leap into the unknown. While my passion and personal experiences fuelled me, I needed direction and expertise. That's where the BIPC Northamptonshire came into the picture. Their webinars, covering everything from PR to intellectual property, were invaluable, all of which I could do from the comfort of my home. But it was James, a Business Advisor at BIPC, who truly made a difference. His insights, combined with his empathetic guidance, were instrumental in refining my vision and giving me the confidence to move forward with my ideas.
So, what exactly is Woofs and Wellness?
Beyond being a wellness platform, it's a sanctuary and a community. Through initiatives like our #ShareaSmile and #SundaySniffs® which we run on Instagram and also through our website, I've fostered a space that prioritises mental wellbeing in a friendly, non-medical, and engaging manner. Our comprehensive ‘Everything’ membership offers a plethora of resources, from doggy yoga classes to special guest workshops, a private chat room and our renowned ‘Calm Now’ area which delivers just that. But more than the services, it's the stories of transformation from our members that truly define us. Stories of individuals finding solace, community, and tools to improve their mental wellbeing, no matter their location or starting point.
World Mental Health Day is a poignant reminder of our collective journey towards better mental health. This year's theme, "Mental Health is a Universal Right," resonates deeply with our mission at Woofs and Wellness. We believe that everyone, regardless of their circumstances, deserves access to tools and resources that promote mental wellbeing. Our commitment is to make the journey towards mental health a little less lonely and a lot more enjoyable. Our motto, "Where there's a Woof, there's a Way," encapsulates our belief in the healing power of companionship and nature, emphasising that mental wellbeing is indeed a universal right that we all should enjoy.
Looking ahead, the horizon for Woofs and Wellness is bright. Collaborations with charities like the RSPCA, radio appearances, partnerships with pet-friendly florists, and a thriving business directory are just the beginning. And as I reflect on this journey, I'm filled with gratitude for BIPC Northamptonshire's unwavering support.
In many ways, our mental health journey is like tending to a garden. At times, we face droughts of self-doubt, where the soil of our mind feels parched and barren. Weeds of negativity might sprout, threatening to overshadow the beautiful blooms of our potential. But just as every gardener believes in the promise of spring, we must believe in our ability to flourish. With the right care, support, and belief in oneself, even the most withered plant can blossom into its fullest potential.
Woofs and Wellness acts as the gentle warmth and sunlight that nurtures the garden of our minds. Through the companionship of our four-legged friends and the awe of wonder of nature, we're reminded of the simple joys and the healing power of connection. It's a testament to the universal right to improved mental health, making it accessible and relatable for everyone.
I've learned to be the gardener of my own mind, nurturing it with positivity, surrounding myself with a supportive community, and most importantly, believing in the possibility of brighter days. Charlie, my Cockapoo, has been a constant reminder of the unconditional love and joy that life can offer, even in its darkest moments.
To everyone reading this, remember: Your mind is your garden, and you hold the power to make it bloom. With the right tools, such as those offered at Woofs and Wellness, and a true belief in yourself, the world can transform around you.