A YORK woman who was badly injured in a car accident six years ago has rebuilt her life and set up her own business.

Animal behaviour therapist Jenny Thompson, of Haxby, started her Problem Behaviour Consultancy business earlier this year after dreaming of working with animals since the age of 16.

Miss Thompson, 29. has a BSC in animal behaviour science from Lincoln University, and last month graduated from a Masters course in applied animal behaviour and training accredited by Hull University.

Miss Thompson said: “I graduated in 2006, but before I could embark on my new career I was involved in a bad car accident. It was obvious that after this I would have to put my dreams on hold for a while. I have worked really hard to physically recover from this accident.

“My car was hit by a speeding driver three times over the limit. I had broken ribs, shattered knee and a punctured lung, to name just a few of the injuries I sustained. I have battled for the last seven years to regain enough mobility and undergone a series of operations in order to fulfil this dream.

“Not one to let adversity keep me down, I embarked on a new career which would allow me to heal from my accident while using my problem behaviour knowledge.

“I retrained as a lecturer and after doing that for several years, now felt like the perfect time to launch my business.”

Miss Thompson, who works specifically with dogs, cats and rabbits, is now urging people to spare a thought for their pets when planning their family fun over the festive season. She said: “During the Christmas period and winter’s cold weather it is important that we do all we can to keep our pets healthy and happy.”

Jenny’s tips to help your pets enjoy the festive season safely:

• Make sure that your furry friend has somewhere to retreat to, out of reach of children, if they become a little overwhelmed with the festivities and need time out. Try placing a chew toy or treats there a few days beforehand to familiarise them with their new hidey hole. Cats may be very grateful for a space which is higher off the ground

• Make sure to supervise all pets around the Christmas tree, especially house rabbits who will just love to chew your lights

• Be careful when opening presents that small parts are not left lying around as they could choke your pet. Ingested batteries can cause internal burns.

• Take your dog out for a walk. This will help them work off some of the excitement

• Try to avoid feeding your dog festive food. Turkey bones can cause an animal to choke and onions, raisins and chocolate are all poisonous

• Remember that fireworks may be set off over the festive season, keep your pets indoors and safe. We can put measures in place to help them cope and relax

• With the onset of the cold weather rabbits and guinea pigs should be kept as warm as possible, although avoid putting them close to radiators if you are bringing them in the house as they can overheat.

Providing them with extra straw and covering the front of their hutches with a blanket can help retain warmth in their hutches.

Remember to check water bottles every day to ensure they have not iced over.