George & friends was founded in September 2015 by Paul Ahmet-Thomas, who swapped a successful career in the kitchen with a much more rewarding life looking after dogs.
Paul grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, in a family of animal lovers and remembers always being surrounded by animals of one kind or another. Trips to the beach with the family’s pack of dogs were particularly memorable and put him in good stead for a career working with dogs.
Paul moved permanently to the UK in 2004 and set about creating a life for himself here. He missed being around animals though, and his desire to have a dog of his own was particularly strong. After many years of saying ‘if only’ and stalking mini-Dachshunds on the streets of London, Paul & his husband decided that they were ready to become pawrents and so, it was that in November 2014, George came into their lives and changed everything.
Paul is currently training with the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT) in order to better understand dogs and the way the interact with each other.
Anya, Assistant Manager
Anya joined us in the summer of 2018, soon after we moved into our HQ at Hackney Downs Studios.
Anya had been a volunteer dog socialiser at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home for ten years, before starting work at George and Friends, where she had training on dog behaviour, lead walking and dog training.
She grew up walking family and friends’ dogs on the South Downs and misses owning her own dog now in London. She is studying part time to be an animal osteopath so she can continue working with and helping animals, particularly dogs and horses.
Having experienced living amongst many street dogs in Thailand where she worked as a teacher for two years, she recognised the need for dog rescue homes in developing countries and started taking part in running races to raise money for Soi Dogs (Street dogs) and has since run the London marathon for Animals Asia, a charity close to her heart. Next Christmas she is hoping to return to Asia to work at an animal sanctuary. She has recently rescued a cat from the Mayhew Animal home and is hoping to rescue a dog to join her on her boat in London.
She is so pleased to have joined Paul, George and his friends and is enjoying meeting the colourful medley of hounds in Hackney. She looks forward to meeting more dogs and their owners.