A WOMAN who was devastated after being told she could not have children moved to the Lakes to look for a new life - and is now an established business owner.

After several miscarriages and finding out she could not have children, Caroline Denholm got a dog called Fernie who 'brought her out of herself' and later set up Fernie's Choice - an online dog boutique down in Brighton in 2015.

As she and her husband had been visiting the Lakes for the past 10 years, they decided to find a business in Ambleside and get established in town to start a new life.

Ms Denholm rebranded the premises at The Old Toll House and opened a pet shop called Paws by the Lake in April 2021 after 'falling in love' with the area. 

"When you are going through IVF you are hoping it is going to work and that thought will fill your day and your time, but when you are told you can't have children it is difficult - every woman thinks about having a family and children," she said.

"I thought what have I got to lose? It will not get any worse than this, but all of a sudden the sun goes out. Even though something tragic happened something really good came out of it."

The Brighton-born businesswoman explained she worked for seven months 'without a break' just to develop her dog knowledge for her shop.

"It has taken over my life but it is probably one of the best moves I have ever made, apart from getting married and getting my dog," she said.

When asked about the business's success, she explained it is going well, despite the cost of living crisis.

She said: "The business is good. Last year there were less than two million visitors in the Lake District because of the train strikes, the weather and obviously the cost of living crisis but generally, it is good."

For more information visit Paws by the Lake's website here.