Charlie Ilsley’s mother sets up dog-sitting business in Reading

A heartbroken mother started a dog-sitting business to pursue her son’s dreams and make sure his name lives on after his tragic death.

Toni Ilsley of Emmer Green has set up Charlie’s dog’s place in memory of her 13-year-old son Charlie, who died in December following a five-year battle with cancer.

Charlie was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, the most serious brain tumor found in children at the age of eight.

He had undergone countless surgeries and even more trips to the hospital to help get rid of this cancer, but sadly passed away last year.

Charlie had been to Mexico for potentially life-saving treatment and had returned home to England.

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Toni explained that his death was “so unexpected”, adding: “We got off the plane and he died.”

She explained, “It went so fast and it was a huge shock to all of us.”

However, she said, “He didn’t suffer which is the best thing.”

Since Charlie passed away, his mom Toni has worked tirelessly to start a business in memory of her son.

Charlie’s Dog Place will provide dog boarding, day care and dog walking services to locals.

The company has been installed in Toni’s garage which has been completely renovated in recent months.

Charlie’s dog’s place

Speaking about the reasons why she decided to start her business, Toni explained that her teenage son worries about what he will do when he is older.

She said he loved dogs and had his own couple, Eric and Ernie.

While in Mexico, he visited a ranch that also rescued dogs.

One day Charlie turned around and said, “I’ll take care of the dogs.

Toni said: “It marked me and I knew I really had to do it for him.

“It’s something he wanted to do.

“He absolutely would have loved it.

She also explained that she didn’t want Charlie to be forgotten, adding, “It’s a good way to keep her memory alive.”

Toni’s garage has been converted and is now the home of the business.

Charlie dog square

Charlie’s dog’s place

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Inside there is underfloor heating and there will also be a TV.

Toni said, “I want the dog to feel like he’s in someone’s front room.”

Earlier this year, she held a competition where the children drew their dogs and the winner won an Easter basket.

These photos were hung on the wall inside the office.

On the other wall are Charlie’s fingerprints and the beads of courage from his treatments.

Charlie dog square

Charlie’s dog’s place

Toni said there were “a lot of treasures in there”.

Starting May 3, Toni said her daughter Jess will take reservations before the businesses open on June 1.

In anticipation of the opening, Toni said: “I’m really excited.

“It’s really moving, a lot of things take me by surprise.

“I still cry every day.

“I miss him so much.

“Some things trigger you and some don’t.

“I don’t know what I’ll be like on opening day.”

She added: “I lost my best friend and he’s in my head 24/7.

“It’s a huge hole and it will always be there.”

Toni thinks Charlie would have loved the business but said the only problem was he wanted to keep all the dogs.

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