A PUG-mad paramedic who launched his own pet product business says it has gone from strength to strength, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Michael Gaga-Hale, 25, set up TopDog Harnesses in 2019 after securing a Government business loan.

The business sells reversible harnesses which have been designed in-house, with the sales helping support good causes.

TopDog was inspired by Mr Gaga-Hale’s two pugs Alfie and George, who are the superstar models of the brand’s new products.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, business has boomed, with the firm offering discounts for key workers and developing new products along the way.

Topdog harnesses

Mr Gaga-Hale, who also works as a full-time paramedic in Colchester, said: “During the first lockdown we saw our sales increase massively - I think people had a lot more expendable income at the time.

“We also ran an NHS and key worker promotion, which was hugely popular. Now we offer a discount to all NHS and emergency service staff through the BlueLight card website.

“With the boost in income, we were able to launch new products such as our Poop+Treat bags. We launched four new harnesses, meaning we could support even more charities.”

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For each harness the business sells, £1 of the price goes to a different charity.

So far, the firm has raised £1,091 for Bubblebecca Pug Rescue, The Pink Ribbon Foundation, Mind UK, Thrive UK, Make-A-Wish UK, Stonewall UK, The British Bee Charity, and Suffolk Animal Rescue.

Topdog harnesses

Mr Gaga-Hale, who lives in Colchester, said: “I’m proud to be able to use TopDog to help support other small businesses during this pandemic.

“All the profits from the business are reinvested to design and create new products.

“Thankfully Covid hasn’t affected the way we operate too much.

“I take extra precautions when packing orders, but due to the transit times parcel are safe.

“Working as a paramedic, I often get track and trace notifications to self isolate but thankfully all our customers have been really understanding of the delays.”

He added: “We now also have contact-free collections for Colchester residents, so they can save on postage costs.

“Unfortunately, due to Covid we were unable to attend the All About Dogs Show but all being well it’s rescheduled for this year in Chelmsford.”

Mr Gaga-Hale has provided an exclusive discount code for Gazette readers.

Use the code COLCHESTER15 on the website at topdogharnesses.co.uk.

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