Canine fans will now be able to dine out with their dogs after a South Tyneside mum decided to follow her dreams.
Jan Leighton has always wanted to be her own boss and have her own cafe - but one with man’s best friend at its heart.
Today, the former department store assistant is turning her dream into a reality by opening up Pooches Cafe in Westoe Road, South Shields.
The venue aims to provide a place where people can relax and enjoy a snack and a cuppa while their canine friend enjoys a meal too.
The mum-of-three from South Shields, said: “I’ve had the idea of opening up a dog cafe for a number of years now but it wasn’t really the right time to do it.
“Then in January, I was working for a department store and I just had enough.
It’s always been a dream of mine to run a cafe for dogs and it’s something I’ve done on my own- so you could say I’m now following my dream.Jan Leighton
“I had seen the empty shop before and had mentioned it to a friend and we had been going to go into partnership, but she was offered another job.
“I didn’t think twice, I just thought yes I’m still going to do it.
“It’s a massive challenge but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Since January, Jan has been reading up on how to run a successful business and seeking advice from friends and family.
She added: “I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve never run my own business but the feedback I’ve had has been really positive.
“I just felt it was time that there was somewhere, where people can go, where their dogs would be just as welcome too.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to run a cafe for dogs and it’s something I’ve done on my own- so you could say I’m now following my dream.”
Already, Ms Leighton is hoping to one day open her own dog grooming service to compliment the cafe business after renting a second building two doors away from the cafe.
It is a project she is working on with her 18-year-old daughter Hannah Bell.
Ms Leighton, who has owned dogs all her life and was a former dog foster carer, said: “I have lots of ideas of what I would like to do with the businesses and how they can work together.
“In the future I hope to be able to put on grooming and pamper parties for dogs, and events for specific breeds.”
Pooches Cafe will be open Mondays to Saturdays from 9am until 5pm.
For details about the cafe follow Pooches Cafe on Facebook.