So it's been a crazy year so far especially with Covid-19 completely affecting the whole world.
Bizarrely this is this first year where we never booked any holidays away and we have usually planned them at least a year in advance.
With all the madness that went on we decided to shut our business for 9 weeks as we didn't want to take any risks at the time not only with our health but our customers too. A few dog walkers decided to carry on as normal but for us it's never just been about the money, sometimes in cases like this you need to weigh up the options and with little known at the time about coronavirus we thought it was safer to stop working.
The start of lockdown was pretty crazy with queues for food shopping (luckily we had enough toilet roll beforehand), businesses closing and only being allowed out once a day to exercise.
So what kept us sane during this time ??? Having dogs.
I really do think if it wasn't for having Snoop and Poppy during lockdown it would of probably sent us crazy. Granted you could only exercise once a day but Vanessa and I took it in turns to take the dogs out morning and afternoon and then there's just them being around while we were stuck in the house. Pets really do make a difference to people's mental health and we couldn't imagine not having dogs around us.
Dog Walking is easy right???? I would say so yes.
So running and setting up a dog walking business is a piece of cake???? No not if it's done correctly.
It seems every week there's a new dog walking business cropping up in the areas we cover. Then again how hard is it to walk dogs. I mean all we do is pick the dogs up and walk them it's as simple as that.
When I look around when I'm out walking or looking at other dog walkers Facebook pages I get very frustrated and worry.
I worry that customers either don't want to ask certain questions or maybe they just don't realise what goes on.
For instance if I was to say to you what are the 2 most important things in your life? What would the answers be??
For me it's always the same answer. My wife and my 2 dogs.
So if I employed a dog walker with my dogs being 1 of the 2 most important things to me I would have a lot of questions to ask. I'm going to make it easy for you just in case your not sure.
1. Is your business insured and do you have a DBS?
2. How is my dog being transported, are they in a cage and or safely clipped into something? And if they are in a cage will they be the only dog in it?
3. Will my dog ever be left alone in a vehicle while you provide other services?
4. I am paying for a 1 hour walk. What reasons if any would you cut their walk short?
5. If we agree a time my dog is walked will this be the same time give or take 5-10mins?
6. You as a walker state you only walk 4 dogs at a time however I see photos of 6 or more on the walks. Why is this?
7. Do you at any time let the dogs jump out of the vehicle with no lead on to run around lanes where cars come and go?
8. If you are ill or sick and need time off work where do I stand with my dog being walked?
Off the top of my head these are the questions that need to be asked.
I would also be interested to see if the dog walker was professional enough to have a list of paperwork ie contracts, terms and conditions, vet release forms etc. This type of thing shows they are a proper run business and like all bases covered.
Dog walking isn't just about walking dogs, it's alot more than that. However I am afraid to say alot of walkers these days just see 4 dogs to walk and see £40 an hour.
Please Please Please if you ever employ a dog walker make sure you ask questions and keep your eyes peeled to what goes on.
Never ever should dogs be allowed to jump freely out of vehicles and run onto football fields before a walker has even got their boots on.
Dogs should never have to be squeezed into 1 dog cage with 4 or 5 other dogs.
Walks should never be cut short just because the walker has taken on so many puppy visits or has so many dogs to dry that they won't get to their next customer in time unless that 1 hour walk is cut to 35mins. Or if the walker cannot be bothered because it's raining.
And never ever ever should dogs be left unattended in a vehicle while the walker provides a puppy visit or they cannot be bothered walking that dog.
Yes this is a controversial post because many many times I've heard 'But walkers should stick together'. NO
Good walkers should stick together.
A customer recently mentioned to me that they took their dog to see their local vet because the dog had a gunky eye. The appointment was over within 5 minutes and they were charged £40 for the privilege of the vet telling them 'It's nothing serious so just bathe it several times a day'.
My first thought was 'This is absolutely scandalous' but then there's absolutely nothing you can do about it. Our pets are special to us and from previous experience with Snoop and Poppy we have paid out our fair share in vet fees. Several times over the years we have seen them limp, get a gunky eye or just lately Snoop's neck appeared very red and our first thought is 'When do we take them to the vets' and secondly 'How much is this going to cost'.
Consultation fees at most vets are extortionate these days ranging between £25 and £40 just for a quick 5 minute appointment and these people are meant to be caring professionals but alot of the time they only seem to care about how much money they can take from you.
Yes I understand it's a difficult and highly important job but surely a line has to be drawn somewhere ie depending on the severity of the issue but no it's pretty much a flat fee of up to £40 to get in the door whether Fido has a weird looking spot or a gash in his leg.
We recently changed vets because we were not happy with a few things that were going on and the level of professionalism wasn't what we expected. The waiting room was cramped, the treatment room was also the same and the dogs just didn't seem happy anymore. That and every time we visited there seemed to be a new member of staff on duty and others who we had seen previously left the company.
They had a health plan where you paid a monthly fee and received things like vaccinations, flea treatment, worming products and 1 free consultation a year. When we first took it out we thought it was a pretty good deal but then we thought 'Hang on a minute once we get that 1 free consultation we still have to pay around £30 a visit'.
Luckily for us a big brand new shiny vets hadn't long opened just abit further away and after abit of research we decided to move to them. And the added bonus was they also have a health plan for a monthly fee which although it is a little bit more expensive you get free consultations with your monthly payment, as well as a whole host of other benefits.
Changing vets can be a daunting prospect because you want someone you can trust and someone who will take great care of your pet but it also comes to down prices. The prices continue to go up but does the level of care also improve to accommodate it?? Personally I would say no and something needs to be done about it.
So if like Vanessa and myself you just love to take your dog everywhere you go it can be a challenge finding where they can and can't go.
Just the other week while on holiday we visited Keswick in the Lake District which is said to be one of the most friendly dog places to visit.
The array of shops, pubs and restaurants they can go in far out ways the ones they can't.
However once back home its always very difficult to find where dogs are welcome and what makes it harder is some places that are dog friendly like The Works (the book, art and stationary shop) don't actually have a sign to say dogs are welcome.
We love taking Snoop and Poppy to pubs when we go out for a meal or drink but for this we have found a very good website called doggiepubs.org
This gives you a good idea of where they can join you all around the UK and also other information like whether the pub sells food and sometimes a review of what it's like.
When it comes to shops and other establishments unless there's a sign or your prepared to ask it's very very difficult to know.
Local social media groups are always a good way to find out but then again if like us you love to travel around you don't really know.
The only shops I am aware of local to me are Go Outdoors, The Works and Pets at Home. If you can add to the list feel free to let us know.
Something that does annoy me is not allowing dogs on the Metrolink trams.
Yes I understand people will say dogs are dirty or dogs can be dangerous but seriously so can humans. I would much rather share a tram with my dog than alot of humans.
First of all when it comes to photography I certainly am not an expert and I'm sure there are many people who take better photos than me.
Photography for me has always been a side hobby and I love to try and capture the dogs personalities for all to see, however taking photos of dogs isn't as easy as it seems. I can take up to 100-150 photos in a 1 hour walk but that doesn't mean I just stand there taking photos in that full hour (with cameras these days you can take 6 a second).
You might think taking great photos of dogs isn't very important but I believe its the little things like this that makes all the difference. To me a blurry mess of a photo of a dog doesn't capture anything.
So here's my guide to taking great photos as a dog walker.
KNOW THE CHARACTER OF THE DOG
I will use Snoop our eldest Springer Spaniel as an example.
Snoop used to be the most photogenic dog you can imagine and would just pose until her heart was content. I'm not sure if over time she's got fed up with the camera pointed at her knowing full well it's going on Facebook for everyone to see but now it's pretty impossible unless you know her character. Poppy our youngest Springer Spaniel when the DSLR comes out she wants to lick the lens.
So every dog is different and you then need to work out what to do which brings us to the next part.
PLAN HOW TO TAKE YOUR PHOTO
So with Snoop her I'm refusing to look at you with that camera pointed in my face has a weakness, she is a Springer after all so if you have a ball on you she will do whatever you ask of her. She will sit, stand, speak and probably do somersaults especially for her Chuckit ball.
Lately what I do now to get great action shots is when Vanessa and I are on walks together we stand 30 metres apart and with Vanessa bribing the dogs with treats I then call them towards me and 90% of the time they come charging to me.
Something else that looks great when you do this is to lie down on the ground to a dog's level. It's surprising how much better photos look when you do little things like this.
CAMERA BEING USED AND IT'S SETTINGS
This is where it starts getting difficult.
When dogs4walks first started I would take 95% of my photos with an iPhone 5s which was pretty terrible. On the odd occasion I would use a Nikon DSLR and the difference was unbelievable, however with a DSLR they are not cheap and you also need a pretty good lens too.
I then eventually bought myself a secondhand Samsung S8 phone and this has a very good camera on it, especially with it having manual settings so you can make adjustments yourself.
Settings is where it can all go wrong and it can be very daunting at first. Yes you can leave all cameras in auto mode but depending on the camera's capabilities this is where you can end up with great or terrible photos.
The main things to think about are the speed of the object in this case a dog is moving, the light (are you in the woods with not much natural light or is it pretty overcast) and the sun which can play a big part in taking photos.
Most of my photos for action shots are with a shutter speed between 1/800sec and 1/1500sec.
Always try and take photos with the sun behind you otherwise you're just going to end up with a very dark photo and with the sun shining on the dog it will help a lot more with the light.
When on group dog walks this isn't something I think about too much but sometimes I do like to get a bit arty with my photos so you could use things like long grass to your benefit with dogs charging or springing through it. Maybe you want your dog lying down next to some nice flowers or with a hilly scenery in the background.
These are a few things you can think about when you're out and about.
So these are just a few things that can help you in taking great photos of dogs.
Here's a few pics I have taken for you to see for yourselves.
As dog walkers we see alot of different types of dog food from raw, kibble and tins of meat being fed to the dogs we walk.
When we got Snoop our first Springer Spaniel we were none the wiser and started feeding her Bakers dog food (yep we really did start as bad as it can get). However we soon realised there were issues feeding Snoop this with sloppy poos the main issue.
It was then we started looking into a better quality dog food because after all your dog is a member of the family and deserves to eat better. After some research through various sites and Facebook groups alot of people kept saying 'Raw is best'. Maybe it is but the way we saw it is we didn't have the storage facilities for this and we also spend alot of time going out on long walks where we wouldn't want to risk taking raw meat with us, plus it's awkward when you go away on holiday.
So we decided we were going to stick to kibble and it was time to find something that was not only a good quality but also a reasonable price.
We then came across a fantastic website called www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk/ and we were amazed at the amount of detail looked into dog food.
So out of curiosity I wanted to read and see how bad Bakers dog food was and something that made me laugh was reading 'It would be like feeding your child Mcdonalds every day'. See here for yourself how bad it is.
We then got thinking that maybe vets know about a good quality food so maybe its worth talking to them. Upon visiting our vets we saw they sell a very well known brand of dog food so went to the All About Dog Food website and took a look into it, which was a shock to say the least. Not only was it very expensive but the rating of it was pretty average so it was time to start spending some time looking into it ourselves.
Eventually we found a decent food and over the years we have changed over a few different brands of kibble and are now happy Snoop and Poppy are getting a decent quality food with a price we are happy with.
We all love our pets and would do anything for them however we believe the type of food being fed to alot of dogs really needs looking into more. If you are concerned or even a little interested I can highly recommend spending some time having a look at the www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk/ website.
It's been awhile since we posted anything on our blog and our only excuse is we have been very very busy at dogs4walks.
Vanessa has just celebrated her 1 year anniversary with the company and work in the last few months has really taken off for us. So much so that with all the enquiries we get weekly alot of them have been passed onto a great dog walking friend of ours Helen at Lots of Walks Dog Walkers.
It's always great when you can have someone your completely trust to pass work onto.
Which brings us to the title of this post 'How do you choose a dog walker?'
We have never used one and in all honesty I would really struggle in deciding who to choose. Just recently I shared a post on a local Facebook group where I aired my views on a few things I've seen since starting this business. Which in fact got deleted because apparently it's not the right thing to do.
Apparently everyone in the dog walking business should stick together and support each other whether you agree with their methods or not. With some of these methods being letting dog's running around a lane where car's come and go, walking 10 dogs at a time with only 1 walker being in charge or only walking dog's for a period of 5-45 mins when they are supposed to be walked a full hour.
So how would I choose my dog walker.
Firstly I would try and find out what the walker was interested in. Alot of dog walkers will say they love dogs and walk in all weathers.
To me that doesn't give enough information about the person I would be choosing. Some businesses may just happily stand around in a field or make a 10mins walk last an hour (this would send me mad).
So for me in my spare time I go out hiking the hills or other areas and take the dogs with me. Just last weekend Vanessa and I took our dog's for a 9 mile walk on our day off. That's how much we love walking and how much we love our dog's.
Holidays is another thing. Where do we go and who goes on the holiday.
Well the 4 of us go away Vanessa, Reece, Snoop and Poppy. We haven't had 1 holiday away where our dogs didn't join us. WHY???
Because they are part of the family and we love them exploring with us.
We don't want to go away without the dogs and spend a holiday drinking or laying in the sun. Dogs are our life, that's how much we care about them.
I want my dog walker to feel the same about their dogs as I do.
What else would I look into is reviews. Now this is a hard one because who knows if the reviews are real. Yes I've seen some businesses get their friends and families to rate them 5 stars even if they don't own a pet.
It doesn't take much for a look into this part and understand whether some are just from family and friends or are real.
Another big one for me is even if 100 people on Facebook say their dog walker is amazing doesn't mean its true. They might just be friendly with loads of people on Facebook and talk a good game.
A major part for me would be honesty. Does your dog walker tell you everything that goes on whether good or bad. Or is it all 'Oh yes he was such a good boy today on his walk'.
My customers want the truth and I will tell them. I don't beat around the bush and I want my customers to know this. Hence another reason for this post owners need to know what can go on out there because we are looking after their pets.
There's also things like and this is a big one for me. After the walk ends what happens? Are the dog's just thrown in the van and off they go, are they left to walk around and in between cars while others are being dried.
Or are they tethered to the vehicle so they cannot cause issues and be dried safely.
Safety in this line of work to me is a major factor as I would hate for anything to happen to my dog let alone someone else's.
Choosing a dog walker is hard hence we have always made our life choices including jobs work around the dog's so we never needed one.
As I've said apparently I shouldn't post things like this but this is where we are different from others. We have and always will tell you what goes on.
It's not jealousy (why would it be?? we are pretty much full to the brim with the dog's we walk).
So if you get to the point where you need to choose I hope you make the right decision.
Well nobody can say that we haven't had a summer this year and we are only just into August.
As a dog walker I also spend a lot of my time on social media sites looking around groups and pages that are dog related. Whether it's local groups trying to promote our business or other groups that business owners like us look for advice.
A regular topic in the last few weeks has been about walking dogs in the hot weather and mainly the dont's regarding it.
Every other post was how dogs should not be walked between the hours of 9am and 9pm, they shouldnt be walked on tarmac and should never be left in vehicles.
And people in our profession being the target of alot of these posts.
While I agree walking dogs in the heat can be very dangerous, people like us who not only care about our own dogs safety and treat them like family we also have the responsibility of our clients pets and feel exactly the same way and would never want to see any harm come to them.
Have we walked dogs in the hot weather?? Yes
Have we been sensible about it?? Without a shadow of a doubt
It's like alot of things in life these with everyone seeing the bad in every situation.
So as dog walkers what have we done at dogs4walks to protect your pets from the hot weather??
We bought something called a hozelock around winter time mainly to hose the dogs down when out in the mud so they would be dropped off at home relatively clean. Then we thought 'Hey this can also be used as an alternative' so before the walks started and with the owners permission we gave the dogs a gentle shower.
We also incorporated more walks in shaded areas, didn't throw balls, took dips in the river as well as taking plenty of water out with us. Plus as usual avoiding tarmac areas.
We saw several posts about cutting walks short or only providing home visits but in all honesty we only cut 1 walk short by 15mins.
The way we see it providing home visits when all dog walkers are short on time would mean other dogs losing out as well. We can walk up to 4 dogs each in the morning with each dog paying for 1 hour. If the walks is between 11.45am and 12.45pm how would this work??
We know as long as we are sensible there is no need to keep cutting the dog's time short.
Safety is paramount to every animal we care for.
We do not and will never let a dog wander around on a lane where traffic comes and goes no matter how good off lead they are. And we will always ensure your pet is as safe as possible when we experience hot weather like we have seen.
Last month Reece proudly did a big walking challenge and raised money for multiple sclerosis.
The challenge was to conquer 10 peaks in 10 hours and a total of 17 miles starting just outside of Keswick.
Before the challenge started Reece said he would be happy to beat the 10 hour mark by just 1 second and that's what he set his goal at. However what he achieved on the day was pretty remarkable. He was initially hoping to walk it with Poppy our youngest Springer Spaniel however due to her being out of action for 5 months and needing physio on an injured shoulder he didn't have her to help pull him up the hills.
The day started with the alarm set for 4am and trying to consume breakfast at that time of the morning was already a challenge in itself. A nice bowl or 2 of porridge and a couple of banana's and we were set for the 30mins drive to the start.
Some friends were over again from Florida and they had amazingly brought a whole team of other friends with them to join us all.
In total there were 11 of us and we started the walk around 6.45am and luckily for us the weather was pretty cool and dry.
Reece initially started with the team however after half a mile decided to go off at his own pace and never looked back. The views were absolutely superb and at the halfway point he was feeling fantastic and managed to get to Buttermere in 3hrs and 15mins without barely stopping.
From the halfway point at Buttermere though is when this challenge really took its toll and he had to push very hard to keep going with some severe ascents and descents.
Possibly the most bizarre moment was when he only had 1 mile to go and waited for a couple of cars to pass on a tight section of road. One of the drivers pulls up beside him and says 'Hi Reece, do you remember me?'
Low and behold it was someone he used to work with in Trafford over 4 years ago.
With a big push for the finish he managed to cover the 17 miles in 7hrs and 29mins and was ecstatic at the end.
If anyone else feels like taking part in the event next year then he can highly recommend it. There is even a shorter version available which he did last year.
Have a look for yourself at: www.10in10.org.uk/
#10in10challenge #5in5challenge #10in10challenge,everyday10in10,no curealwayshopeultra
So it's been awhile since we last wrote a blog so we thought we would update you on the latest goings on here at dogs4walks.
Since Vanessa joined us we have now started taking on more doggies which means even more fun for us all. Newest recruit is a gorgeous little rescue Yorkshire Terrier cross called Jack. His owners had been following the dogs4walks Facebook page for a few months and loved seeing all the fun photos so much that they decided to start using our services. We have only been walking Jack for 1 week but already we have seen a remarkable difference in him and how he's interacting with other dogs which is amazing to see.
We also have Henry a long haired Jack Russell who's owner recently moved to the area. His owner after only a couple of weeks has been delighted with the service we have provided for him and his dog.
Next up is the mad little Shi-Poo in Rocco the Rocket. This little bundle of joy wants to be friends with everyone and everything. It's never a dull moment when he's around and he has a smile I don't think can be matched from any dog.
We have also started providing puppy visits to not 1 but 2 at the same household in Jackson a Basset Hound and Reggie a Bulldog. There's nothing better than a visit to see these 2 during lunchtime.
Now I thought I had seen a dog do tricks before but in Bramble the Jackapoo he mesmerised us on our meet and greet. For the first 2 days we really were not sure if he was going to come out of his shell when we picked him up for his walks but come Day 3 that little waggy tail was going crazy. I swear he hears our vehicle coming down the road and he's one excited doggie.
Next we have the little mini Dachshund with attitude in Harry. If you don't throw that ball in time he's going to let you know about it. He's the only one who gets picked up for sloppy kisses every now and then. He has a soft spot for Vanessa and I swear she prefers him over me at times lol.
The ball mad cutie Cocker Spaniel in Bella had our hearts the first second our eyes met her on the meet and greet. We spent an hour at the meeting with her until we finally decided we better get home to see our own dogs. She might of been the most shy and timid dog we took on at the time but now there's no stopping her. Just make sure a ball or 2 is at the ready.
Last but not least it's another Cocker Spaniel called Bella with a butter wouldn't melt look about her. That is until she decides to wallow in the dirtiest muddiest puddle she can find hahahaha. She has the smile and eyes that will tell you she's an angel. Then before you know it splosh she's up to her neck in mud.
So if you see us with any of these awesome dogs then come and say hello.
We currently have spaces for 1 hour group walks for dogs who live in the Sale, Northern Moor, Brooklands and Ashton upon Mersey areas. Fully Insured and DBS Checked for a service that you can trust and that your dog will have plenty of fun on.
Have a look at our reviews, all from customers that use or have used us and see our amazing photos (our customers words although we do agree) with lots of happy dogs.
So dogs4walks is now twice its original size with my wife Vanessa joining me in November.
After 18 years working for the same company she was made redundant and spent the last 8 years working from home. After our initial panic of 'What do we do about our dogs now' who had been her companions in her office and kept her sane all day what could be better than joining the business. This way we both now get to spent plenty of time with our dogs and everything has worked out great.
Onwards and upwards.
So to our surprise we have been rated as one of the 3 best rated dog walkers in Manchester. A fantastic start to the New Year for us which makes us very happy.
Considering we have only been running since February 2017 and the number of other dog walkers in the area I would say this is quite an achievement.
It goes to show we must be doing a great job and not only are our customers seeing this but also companies that rate local businesses like ours.
Have a look for yourselves to see us on the list of Three Best Rated.
This is how they go about it:
You deserve only the best in life. Three Best Rated® was created with a simple goal to find you the top 3 local businesses, professionals, restaurants and health care providers in any city. Our employees Handpick top 3 local businesses. We check business's reviews, reputation, history, complaints, ratings, satisfaction, nearness, trust, cost, general excellence using our 50-Point Inspection. We display only businesses that are verified by our employees. You can call it "Due Diligence." or "Common Sense." We call it "Hard Work." Our website is updated on a regular basis for quality and latest business information.
I love taking photos wherever I go. Whether it's photos of the dogs I am walking or photos of the night sky.
When I started in this business it soon became apparent that I needed a better camera phone instead of dragging my Nikon DSLR everywhere. So I upgraded my iPhone 5s to the Samsung S8 and I have to say I am not disappointed. It's not only me that has noticed the difference in the quality of the dog photos I am taking. So I thought I would share some with you and see what you think.
A bit of a change from my usual blog about what we have been up to lately, and instead it's about something that I would say is that disgusting part of my job. Dealing with fox poo.
I have 2 Springer Spaniels who both used to be a nightmare for rolling in it but thankfully apart from the odd occasion we have been pretty luck lately (you watch both of them roll in it tomorrow haha).
Our youngest Springer has a routine she goes through where she will sniff it a few times, then proceed to sniff and circle it. If you haven't caught her at this point then its too late and shes going down in the poo. However with her its not guaranteed shes going to be covered in it because as her shoulder goes down she generally misses it.
However the older one prefers the taste of it (YAK!!) and there's no warning to her shoulder rubbing in it so its very difficult to stop her.
I currently walk a Bichon Frise/Maltese a pure white one and boy is she a roller. You name it and she will roll in it (the smellier the better). Thankfully her owner is a total star and she has no issues when she gets home covered in anything smelly.
So what is it that alot of dogs seem to love about fox poo?? To me the smell is like nothing else and it smells like a chemical and the worst part is actually getting rid of it. I remember the first time one of our dogs rubbed herself in it and she went straight in the bath which as soon as the water hit her fur the smell was 100 times worse. It was then time for Google and low and behold we had alternatives to the regular shampoo which wont touch the sides.
The cheapest and most surprising option which most households will have is ketchup. So we tried it and after a couple of washes it actually worked , but this was just abit weird for me so it was onto option 2.
We found out that Pets at Home sold a special shampoo weirdly called 'Fox Poo Shampoo' and its a god send.
Since I started dog walking though I thought there's no way I can keep bathing dogs all the time so back to Google I went and I found on Amazon some special wipes 'Animology Clean Sheets' which have a rough side to remove most of the poo and a smooth side to wipe over the fur and to be honest they are pretty good.
However this doesnt answer my initial question.
Why do dogs love rolling in fox poo? If you know why and have ideas how to stop it then let me know.
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So its been a while since i wrote a blog and i thought i better get back into it.
It's that time of year where people are looking at booking their summer holidays and breaks away which is great for me because it means people need their cats and kittens looked after.
Last week we visited a house which had 4 cats to see, with one of them being 21 years old. It was quite funny because apparently the cat was previously their neighbours who was obviously a Manchester United fan because the cat was called Eric after Mr Cantona.
The funny thing was the cat was actually a female. Then again we have a dog called Snoop who i called after Snoop Doggy Dogg so i guess i cant really laugh too much.
Over the last weekend we also got to meet 2 stunning Maine Coon cats who also had very different names to most others we have met. These 2 were called Fatty and Fink and i have to say they were absolutely lovely and it was so nice to be able to look after them.
Fatty was possibly the size of my youngest springer spaniel and he is possibly the furriest cat i have ever seen.
A new dog has joined us as well who we are providing dog sitting for. A very happy little girl called Tallulah who is a Dachshund, a breed you do not see very often around here. I remember when we got our first springer we barely saw any others unless we ventured further afield. Now they are getting a little bit more popular in our area.
We still have availability for more group dog walks and currently have an offer on where if you book 4 or 5 regular walks per week i will provide the first week for free. So if you need a trustworthy, friendly and reliable person to walk your dogs who is fully insured and DBS checked then please contact us.
You can check out our genuine reviews on Google or Facebook to see what some of our customers think of the services we provide.
So after I did my walk for charity on the Saturday I was still feeling very stiff come Monday, although to be honest it’s probably a better option to be out walking as opposed to sitting around and seizing up.
Now what I cannot work out is how dogs seem to recover from exercise so much quicker than humans. My springer spaniel did the charity walk with me and spent most of it on lead apart from a couple of moments where so ran around like a possessed beast. While on the lead she was also pulling me a 12 stone man up the hills.But come Monday she was desperate to be out and about and running around like she hadn’t really walked 11.3 miles at the weekend.
My eldest springer spaniel has had 3 major leg operations in 2 years yet her recovery from all of them was insanely quick. After 2 months of recovery from a cruciate ligament operation she was back to doing what she loves best and that’s running around. She was also putting full weight on the leg within 24 hours of the operation.
Me on the other hand took 5 days to start feeling like I hadn’t been hit by a bus.
This week on our walks we said goodbye to Rio whos owners were back from Glastonbury. He has been an absolute pleasure to walk over the few days we had with him and lets hope we get a chance to walk him again.
The weather also took a massive turn for the worst so we spent a lot of time walking in the rain which meant the washing machine and drier in the dogs4walks household was in overdrive.
It’s funny how some dogs see the rain outside and immediately think ‘There’s no way I’m going out in that’. But then they don’t seem bothered by jumping in the dirtiest smelliest puddle you can imagine. That and the dog walkers worst nightmare which is ‘Fox Poo’.
Yes we had the delights of that this week and if you have never smelt it let’s just say ‘You don’t want to’.
dogs4walks has been running now for 4 months and I have to say this is one of the best decisions I have made in starting up a dog walking and pet sitting service. I have some amazing customers and get great joy in knowing that they are happy with the service I provide. If someone said to me 4 months ago the business would have been doing this well I would of said ‘I will take that’.
It’s taken a lot of time and effort to promote the business and if you want to be successful you need to keep up with promoting the service you provide. Luckily my wife has helped me out a lot especially with posting flyers in the local area and I have received a lot of helpful advice from a friend who runs Northampton Dog Walker.
We are still looking for custom so if you need a dog walker in Sale, Northern Moor, Northenden, Wythenshawe, Gatley or surrounding areas as well as pet sitting then you will not only be able to take advantage of some of the most competitive prices in the area for a fully insured and DBS checked dog walker, but also you will be guaranteed that your dog will be having fun and lots of care and attention or your pet will receive an amazing service for pet sitting.
So check out our website or Facebook page to see and read about our days out and about.
For a few years now a good friend of mine who does alot of amazing work for www.projectchange.org/ (A charity who launch new projects and support programs that are dedicated to building orphanages, schools, and rehabilitation centers in Africa) has been trying to convince me to take part in a challenge in the UK.
The challenge which is detailed here is an annual event near Keswick in the Lake District and you can take part doing 1 of 2 walks. The first which for now is beyond me is a gruelling 10 hills in 10 hours otherwise know as the 10 in 10.
The other option and the one I finally decided to tackle is 5 hills in 5 hours otherwise known as the 5 in 5.
Now like I mentioned previously this friend of mine Anne Reinstein who resides in Florida has been coming over to the UK with her husband who originates from Keswick for the last 3 years to take part in the challenge.
After a couple of years of her trying to persuade me I finally gave in this year at the very last minute. Well just 24hours before the closing cut off point for entries.
And even better I decided to do it with my youngest springer spaniel Poppy so if I got left behind at least I would have some company.
The event is all for a great cause in Multiple Sclerosis UK and you can read more about the challenge and why it was set up here.
So instead of driving up to Keswick on the morning of the walk myself, my wife and 2 dogs drove up the night before and foolishly had the idea of camping out for the night in a small 3 man tent albeit at a very picturesque campsite.
I think I amassed a total of around 3 hours sleep that night, partly down to nerves and partly down to the fact that my wife was snoring and the dogs wanted all the room. Oh and my inflatable mattress decided halfway though the night to giveway and deflate.
The adventure was in full swing.
We were now onto the morning of the walk and after a quick breakfast and packed everything in the car we headed off to the Swinside Inn where the 10 in 10 was starting to pick up Anne’s husband Paul who I met the year before. It was the a short drive to Buttermere for the start of the 5 in 5 and WOW what a drive it was. The scenery was amazing and even though most of it was on a single track road with shear drops off one side you couldn’t help but admire the views.
We arrived in Buttermere in good time and my wife and eldest springer said their goodbyes (yes my dog can speak) and left us raring to go.
Even more exciting news was while we were waiting a mountaineering legend arrived that being Sir Chris Bonington who at 82 years old was also doing the 5 in 5.
After around 40 minutes of waiting Paul and I decided to get moving and the walk begun. Paul mentioned to me several times about the tortoise and the hare and how we would both have good and bad periods throughout the walk (neither of us had really done any or much training).
Within the first 10 minutes my nerves had disappeared and I noticed Paul was breathing quite heavily. As he had already given me the go ahead to go at my own pace I carried on and when I turned around some 5 minutes later he was already some distance away.
I thought maybe it was because Poppy was pulling me at some speed that eventually I would blow up but I felt in the zone and decided to go with the flow.
That was the last I saw of Paul until he finished the walk.
Like I said before the challenge was to walk 5 hills in 5 hours and I would have been very happy to achieve 4 hours and 59 minutes but the more I went on the more I noticed I was on for quite a remarkable time considering the lack of training. I even got to some points on the course where I was jogging and determined to catch people in front of me.
I have to say the whole walk was absolutely amazing and the work from the organisers and marshals was fantastic.
Poppy and I finished the walk which was noted on the website being 11.3 miles in 3 hours and 48 minutes which I was blown away by.
After some socialising with some lovely people after the walk we then drive the 2 hours and 15 minutes home to relax and have a much needed nights sleep.
2 days after the walk my legs are in bits and ache like they’ve never ached before, but I am now determined to get fitter and next year push myself to achieve the 10 in 10.
Next years date has already been set for Saturday 23rd June 2018 so if you want to do something for an amazing cause then go on sign up and give it a go.
You can see alot of photos from the event on the 10 in 10 Facebook page.
Here are some of my photos from the day.
Wow that was certainly a hot one this week, so we made sure the dogs got the chance to have plenty of opportunities to cool down.
This also gave us a very funny moment with Alfie in our little cool down pool at home. You have to see the video on our Facebook page.
Dexter was back this week after a week away from us and we also had a new dog in Rio join us while his owners are away for a few days. He fitted in with the others dogs really well and had a great time playing and chasing around the other dogs, so hopefully we get another chance to walk him again some day.
One thing i did notice was how all the dogs react differently around water. In the 7 dogs i walked last week only my springer spaniel Poppy was the one who just loved jumping in. A few would paddle but most didnt feel to comfortable around it. Whether different dog breeds are more natural swimmers and are not bothered by water would be interesting to know.
I know our 2 springer spaniels had abit of a scare when they were puppies so it took a couple of months for them to get confident enough to go near water again. But once they saw other dogs having a great time they soon became obssessed by water, so hopefully after another few months of trying we may see some more of our dogs getting used to it.
Please check out our website if you need a dog walker or cat sitter as we provide some of, if not the most competitive prices in the area for the services we provide
Here are some of our photos from the last week
After a 2 week holiday for Alfie he was back in the pack today and was happy to see everyone.
Hes such a character and when you don't see him for a few days he greets you and the other dogs with such a cheeky face.
Although for the whole of the week we were also missing Dexter as he was enjoying his own adventure and staying with his owners friends for the week.
But all this doesn't stop us at dogs4walks and we had some fun times over the week. None more so than a trip around Styal and Manchester Airport plus finally they have opened up alot more of the area around Styal and the Quarry Bank Mill. It's alot more accessible for people to walk around there now and as it's so nice it's well worth it.
Jess was also with us for 2 days which gave us some more time to see how she copes off lead and she did really well. It was also the first time she met Alfie which was funny to see. They both loved playing around together and socialising.
The weather was also pretty good for a few days which is nice although nothing compared to what it's been like since Saturday.
So we start onto another week at dogs4walks.
We still have spaces available for group dog walking and cat sitting if anyone is looking for either. You can take a look at some of our reviews here to see how happy the owners are of the services we provide.
So its been a long couple of weeks for us at dogs4walks so there was no blog last week but here's a recap of what we have been up to.
After the Bank Holiday I decided to get the dogs back into the groove with an awesome 10 mile walk around Styal Woods and the Manchester Airport Runway 2 Trail. This certainly got them running around whether it was chasing squirrels or having a race to be the first into the water.
At the end of the week we had our 1st new dog join us who is the one and only Frodo Baggins (yep you did hear me correctly). What a belting name for a dog.
Frodo is a 12 and a half year old terrier cross and is a friend of Alfie the Pug who I walk (hes currently on a 2 week holiday). So I have had the pleasure of walking Frodo for a week while his owners enjoy a break.
I also had a week of cat sitting for some cats I've seen before in Cali and Leo. These 2 cuties are a joy to be around and are so funny when they are playing together.
Also at the end of the week Marley the Staffy/Boxer cross stayed with us for a couple of days of daycare. We went out of our way to make sure he wasn't left alone too long after his owner was let down. There's nothing worse than when you make plans for your pet and somebody lets you down. But then that's why I decided to get into this line of work, to provide a top quality service and go above and beyond what people expect.
The Sunday morning I was up at 5am to go and pick Marley up and he spent the day with us.
Also on Sunday I decided to have some fun with my 2 Springer Spaniels. It seems to me that every walk we go on at least one of them will find a ball. And without realising they all add up and we put them in a bag and forget about them. So while the weather was nice I decided to get the bag and have a look at how many we had. As you can see in the photo we have accumulated quite a few.
So onto the week just gone and not only did we have a new dog to provide daycare too all week (that being Dexter's best mate, we also had another new dog join our walks).
We had Red a Pointer for daycare for the week and WOW what a crazy week it was. Him and Dexter are a right pair together. I was pre warned of the antics they get up to while together and they didn't disappoint. I have never seen another dog hang off another's ears so much. It was as if Red wanted to suck the side of Dexter's face several times a day.
Pippa the pocket rocket was also back from her holidays so Wednesday was full on fun while she was with us. And then our 2nd new dog of the week was a puppy Labrador cross called Jess who has endless amounts of energy.
It was quite a challenge keeping her on the lead for her 1st walk with us and on a few occasions I thought I may end up going for a dip in the River Mersey myself.
On Friday we gave her some off lead time and got a chance to practice her recall which with treats went really well.
And now we get ready for another week. It's going to be fairly quite in the house due to Dexter being away for the week, however we have Alfie back with us this week.
If you need a dog walker or some cat sitting then feel free to contact us. We offer some of the most competitive prices in the area and we really do push the boat out to provide a 1st class service for you and your pet.
Areas we cover are Sale, Sale Moor, Northern Moor, Northenden, Wythenshawe, Gatley and surrounding areas.
Our reviews on Google and Facebook will give you an idea of how happy our customers are.
Its been a busy week for dogs4walks this week. As our customers ie the pets and their owners are the Number 1 priority we always try to go above and beyond what is expected of us.
So if someone asks us to provide an extra service at the last minute or they would like us to rearrange plans to suit a pet we will always try to accommodate them.
This week was a 7 day week for us, but when you are doing a job you love it makes it all the more enjoyable.
We had a new dog join us for dog walking this week called Marley who has already fitted in really well. It didn't take him long to make new friends in the group and it has been a pleasure taking him out for walks.
On Tuesday dogs4walks decided to venture further afield for a 'Going The Extra Mile' trip to the Peak District. The extra miles turned into a total of 9 when Dexter and Poppy joined us and we all did the Kinder Trespass Trail. We couldn't of gotten any luckier with the weather, although trust me to forget to put on any suncream and i ended up lets say a nice shade of red.
The trail was really beautiful and definitely a walk worth doing. For more information about the trail take a look here.
Or for some of my other photos on that day have a look at our Facebook page.
Wednesday is always a joy as we had Pippa joining us again for the 2nd time. I've never seen a little dog with so much energy and shes a great character to have around. Going to miss her this week as shes going away on holiday with her owner.
The only downside to this week has been Alfie the Pug who has a poorly foot so hes not been able to join us this week on our dog walking. So instead i managed to fit him into some dog sitting just to make sure we haven't forgotten him. And he certainly made sure he got plenty of attention. Dogs are great at giving you 'look at me I'm so poorly and you need to give me attention and belly rubs look'.
Towards the end of the week we started our cat visits to see Cosy and Anwen who we have looked after before and it was lovely to see them again. And then it was a first time visit to see two of the most gorgeous kittens EVER in Cosmo and Pascal. These two little bundles of joy were an absolute pleasure to spend time with. Days like this it doesn't bother you working weekends and a Bank Holiday.
If anyone needs any cat sitting then feel free to contact us.We can cover Sale, Sale Moor, Northern Moor, Northenden, Wythenshawe, Gatley and surrounding areas.
We also have spaces available for dog walking as well and it would be our pleasure to spend some quality time with them.
You can see our daily posts, videos and photo updates on Facebook as well.
Sale in Cheshire has a variety of different places you can take your dog walking. Whether its Parks, Canals, Water Parks, Rivers or Woods you are spoilt for choice. There’s even a couple of dog friendly pubs as well.
One of the most popular places in the area is Sale Water Park which is a great place to take your dog for a walk and even better if it likes to swim. There is a path around the whole of the water park with the exception of one part where you have a choice of either crossing some stepping stones or a slightly longer detour where you will end up walking along a small lane.
There is plenty of parking which is free and also The Boathouse Restaurant and a small café in the area.
Walks around Sale Water Park can be as short as 30-40 minutes if you just want to walk around the water or you can always add on lots of other trails and then the world’s your oyster. You could be out walking for several hours. Then if you want to stop for somewhere for a drink and bite to eat with your dog you have the option to go to Jacksons Boat right alongside the River Mersey.
My only disappointment with Sale Water Park is the amount of litter everywhere and Bank Holidays are even worse for it. There are a couple of waste bins in the area although these soon get filled and don’t get emptied as often as they should.
Another popular place in Sale for dog walkers is Worthington Park. It’s a nice little park to meet other dog walkers and has a nice concrete path all the way around it. It’s great if you trust your dog to not venture too far from you unless you have adventurous/nosey dogs like one of mine then my only worry is the several roads that are around the edge of the park.
You can also take a stroll along the canal if you choose and then you have the chance to visit another dog friendly pub called The Bridge Inn. This pub has gone through a couple of renovations in the last year and has certainly been done to a very nice standard.
There are a few other small parks in the area like Walton Park but it wouldn’t be my choice of places to go for a dog walk.
If you need to get some pet supplies while in Sale your options are either a small independent pet store in the centre of Sale, the supermarkets in town or slightly further out there is a Pets At Home store not too far away in Baguley or Broadheath, Altrincham.
http://www.dogs4walks.co.uk for a dog walker, cat sitting and other pet services in Sale, Northern Moor, Northenden, Wythenshawe, Gatley and surrounding areas.
I have to say i have probably the best job in the world. You may disagree with that but right now i wouldn't want to be doing anything else. I mean where else do you get a welcome like you do when you go and pick up a dog from its owners house to take them out on a walk???
This week on Wednesday it was hilarious.
We had a Bichon Frise/Maltese cross puppy join us for a walk called Pippa and WOW is she is a bundle of joy. The energy from this little pup is AMAZING!!!!! A real little pocket rocket.
Due to having some spare time on my hands this week Alfie, Dexter and Poppy also got a treat and had some extra walking with me. Rather than them being at home and i would much rather give them the joy of some free walk time so they can have a good run around.
Dexter took a trip with me on Thursday for some 1 to 1 quality time for a walk i love which was around the outskirts of Quarry Bank Mill and Manchester Airport. Without taking a trip there yourselves its hard to believe the amount of steps on this walk, especially with alot of it following the River Bollin. So the dogs get plenty of changes to cool off in the river when its humid in the woods, plus you get all the smells of the woodland and other wild animals.
Also Alfie, Poppy and Dexter had a longer than usual walk around the full section of Manchester Airport Runway 2 Trail. Plenty of off lead walking for them all to have a good run around, a nice dirty muddy hole for Poppy to have a bath in before dive bombing in the pond abit further along.
Only downside to this week was poor little Alfie the Pug having to take a trip to the vets with something possibly stuck in his foot. Even though Alfie showed no signs of any issue its never nice to see any animal having any issue. So hopefully Alfie makes a full recovery asap.
Good luck for your check up at the vets tomorrow Alfie.
I hope everyone enjoyed the fairly decent weather this weekend. By the looks of it we are in for some scorching weather this week.
For an awesome update of the Manchester Weather take a look at Martin's forecasts
Have a great week everyone
Well there's been no complaints this week with nearly the whole time spent enjoying the sunshine. So where better to spend it than finding places where the dogs can go swimming.
They cooled off in the River Mersey and Chorlton Water Park earlier in the week before taking a trip to Styal for a gorgeous 2 hour walk around The Carrs and River Bollin (one of my favourite local places to go walking).
Even Alfie decided to get his paws wet again which is fantastic especially considering he wouldn't even walk through puddles when he first joined us on our adventures. Poppy as usual managed to find some other poor dogs ball in the bushes (that's 4 this week) so she was very happy, and Dexter had a great time chasing around a friends dogs.
We also welcomed Tara the English Bull Terrier who spend a day with us. Her owners were quite apprehensive at first when i took Poppy my little Springer Spaniel to their house for a meet and greet as Tara can be very excitable. Plus due to her breed they hadn't had too many opportunities to socialise her with other dogs because alot of people they saw didn't want their dogs near Tara which is a shame for her.
As expected Tara was all over Poppy but within 5 seconds Poppy made sure that she wasn't accepting it and Tara backed down. This is all part and parcel of socialising dogs and even though Poppy is a little 3 year old dog she did exactly to Tara what any mother would do to a pup.
Tara joined us on a group walk and got the chance to meet up with a friends dog walking group so had plenty of socialising and was not one bit of bother at all.
So all in all it was another great week at dogs4walks.
Next week we will also have another dog joining us on a Wednesday which we cannot wait for.
If you would like your dogs to join us on a walk then feel free to check us out. We limit our dog walks to a maximum of 4 dogs which gives them a chance to socialise well but also i can interact with them and they never feel left out.
We also provide cat sitting and cat visits as well as other pet services.
I posted this on my Facebook page last week and wanted to share it with people.
I pass the gentleman's house every day several times and cannot stop thinking about him. No photos of dogs/pets having fun this week because this is more important.
Last month I received a phone call from a local man who needed his dog transporting to the groomers. A gentleman in his late 70's with a blind 15 year old arthritic dog.
No problem i thought and i provided the service for them.
The gentleman was very friendly, had lots of stories to tell and loved having someone to listen too. Your typical grandad type and it was a pleasure spending time with him.
He mentioned his dog needed it's booster jabs soon and would contact me so i could take the dog for him.
Today he rang me.
Except this wasn't a call i was prepared for. He said it was more than likely to be a one way trip to the vets.
He asked if i was busy and i left what i was doing and drove to his house. Already the poor man was in tears.
Ben the dog was all he had left in his life.
Upon being told the vet was ready for us i asked the gentleman if he wanted me in the room with him. He replied 'If you want too'.
After some checking over of Ben his owner decided enough was enough. The dog hadn't eaten for several days and he didn't want to see his boy suffering.
I had spent probably 90mins in this mans company in 2 meetings and was told by him 'Reece you are a good friend'. He shoved some notes in my hand to which i refused but he wouldn't have it.
God knows how hard it must be for him to go home to an empty house and like he said at the vets he hopes his dog has gone to doggie heaven.
We are Reece & Vanessa and this is the dogs4walks blog where you can read about what we have been up to and things of interest to us that are dog related.