A NEW dog café has opened in Whitehaven after the owner was inspired by the international success of other dog cafés across the world.

Leah Marie, 21, from Whitehaven, decided to start the business because she has two dogs of her own and found that she was limited in places she could go with them.

After seeing dog cafés and bakeries across her social media, she saw a gap in the market in Cumbria for a similar business. 

Leah started baking for her own dogs, Willow and Peppa. Once she got confident, Leah posted them on Facebook and had floods of people commenting supporting her.

Leah started her business from home, before her landlord said the shop was available to rent so she took the chance and created 'Willow's Bites'.

In Cumbria: Leah Marie was inspired by other dog cafes around the WorldLeah Marie was inspired by other dog cafes around the World (Image: Leah Marie)

Leah said: "Getting the shop open was such a stressful journey. I cried so many times thinking why the hell did I start this but now it’s all done I couldn’t be happier, it’s going really well.

"Worrying that things weren’t going to be finalised was a big worry, but we done it and I’m so proud of myself and my partner. Without him and my friend Laura who helps out and volunteers in the shop I couldn’t've done it all."

The shop and café offers a crafters' corner which has local small businesses crafts and pet friendly products such as Nylas Creations, Pets by Toni, and Pawsitivley Cute.

Willow's Bites will sell pet toys, tote bags and clothing as well as freshly made assorted cakes, homemade sandwichs and salad and a full pet-friendly food menu including pupcakes, doggy doughnuts, cakes and cookies.

The business will also offer birthday parties for all pooches! This will include a personalised birthday cake, personalised pup cakes for furry guests, and goodie bags.

In Cumbria: The treats available at Willows BitesThe treats available at Willows Bites (Image: Leah Marie)

Leah said: "The shop was busy the first two days extremely busy! I was getting up at 7.30, working in the shop all day, going home and baking for the shop for the next day until 3.30am because it was a sell out.

"People often complain that there is nothing in this town but we need to support small local business especially in this day and age.

"We have an amazing group of loyal customers already with still new ones popping in.

"Even if you don’t own a dog, popping in for cake and a cuppa always puts a smile on our faces, we love meeting new people so please do come down and support local."

Leah has big plans for her business. She wants to hire more staff in the local area and branch out and team up with vets and dog walkers in the area to provide animal support.

Willow's Bites is located in Whitehaven Market Place.