An animal lover who set up a business offering city dwelling dogs a break in the coutry has been backed by a star of the show The Apprentice.

Eddie Kirwan, 27, of Hemnall Street in Epping, started Eddie’s Doggie Day Care to enable urban dogs to run around outdoors while their owners are at work.

His close friend Robert Goodwin appears in the BBC 1 programme, which sees Loughton-based business tycoon Alan Sugar search for an entrepreneur to invest in.

Marketing manager Mr Goodwin, 26, who sends his one-year-old husky Walter to Doggie Day Care, based at Paddocks Farm near Epping, said: “I wouldn’t be able to let Walter off the leash in central London.

“If he sees a squirrel he would be off and not come back.

“But I know when he comes back from day care he will be tired and full of love.

“I see Eddie’s business having massive potential to expand and I would never say never to investing in it myself.

“These businesses are becoming widespread throughout the country and Lord Sugar would be able to see the credible business potential in dog day care.”

As well as a run around the farm, the service offers an agility course, trampolines, swimming pools and behaviour training.

The dogs are dropped back at home when their owners return from work.

Mr Kirwan started the business after volunteering at an animal shelter and now runs it with his partner Natalie Todd.

He said: “Seeing the conditions some of the dogs arrived in (at the shelter) made me determined to create a service which prevents dogs and owners getting into difficult situations.

“On documentaries you can see animals howl, cry, bark or pace up and down when left alone and their owners are none the wiser.

“Our hectic lifestyles don’t fit in with having a dog in the household, yet we are a nation of dog lovers.

“Customers find it funny when dogs wait at the door or look out the window, waiting for the doggy day care transporter to turn up outside.”

The next eppisode of The Apprentice is due to be aired on Wednesday at 9pm.