A long time ago, my mother found her elderly neighbour sitting in the garden crying. Being a kind lady, she naturally asked her what the problem was expecting to hear that she missed her recently departed husband. Much to her surprise, Eirlys bluttered out “it’s the cats or the children”. My mother was totally bemused and waited patiently for the old lady to explain.
“Last night, Kirsty and Daniel came to stay and as usual, Sandals and Honey followed them to bed and curled up for a nice nap. Daniel woke me up in the middle of the night shouting Kirsty no breathe. I jumped out of bed and sure enough, Kirsty was wheezing and struggling for breath. I had to take her to A&E. After an hour or two, the Specialist asked to see me and told me that Kirsty was allergic to the cats. Now my daughter tells me that the children can’t visit unless the cats are got rid of!” At which point, Eirlys started to cry again.
At the time, I was a Consultant at the University of Edinburgh. No, not a medical consultant — a Sheep Specialist! How can a sheep specialist help a little girl with asthma you ask yourself?? Well, as an animal loving scientist, I had never heard of anyone who had an allergy to pets but I was curious and did some research. I discovered that allergic reactions to pets are quite common. The allergens came from the saliva, the sweat glands and the urine of dogs, cats and every other furry feathery friend you could think of. When the saliva and secretions dried, the allergen particles got into the air and remained there where they were they were either inhaled or got onto the people’s skin. The reactions — itchy irritable eyes, runny nose, stuffy sinuses, wheezing, asthma, eczema or hives.
When I dug a little deeper, I discovered that they were positively charged particles and even reducing the airborne load by 50% was usually sufficient for the patient to recover and live normally with their pet.
So, the next question, how do we get rid of these pesky particles?? I thought, hang on a minute, if the particle is positively charged then basic chemistry dictates that the particles are attracted to and combine with negatively charged particles and what you are left with is neutral. That was the beginning of the Bio-Life HomeCare range, my pet allergy solution. I mixed a negatively charged surfactant with ingredients that would clean and condition the coat to remove the allergens at source and then formulated a similar liquid that you could spray in the air. I made the stuff in the kitchen and sent a sample to Borth for Eirlys to try.
Her daughter took some convincing. She was convinced I was a mad Professor! Anyway, in the end she relented and let the children stay for an evening with the now cleaned cats and purified air. Great — no wheezing – no asthma. A fluke we heard her say but next time, she let the children stay overnight and she stayed with them in case of emergencies. No asthma.
A few weeks later, Linda rang me and said, do you think you could make some more of that stuff for mum to which I replied, of course. This went on for several years and then on New Year’s Eve 1999, one of my bright friends said “You know that stuff you gave us, it really worked. Why don’t you start selling it!”
By the end of 2000, I found myself launching the products on behalf of what was now my own company — Bio-Life — and my life changed forever. The best bit —- the thank you letters I get from grateful pets (and their owners) especially at Christmas and the pride I feel when I go to the local vet’s surgery and see my products on the shelf. By the way, just as well I invented them, my partner whom I met in 2002 turned out to be allergic to pets too and guess what – we have 3 dogs, a cat and 16 sheep.
For your happy ending, visit your local veterinary surgery
and get your magic “Furry Liquid”.
P.S. If you need advice, don’t hesitate to call the “mad professor” or my equally mad partner, we are always pleased to talk to you – and actually, we are pretty good at what we do though I say it myself!