In 1990, John Ziegler hired a dog walker to take his 8-month-old yellow lab Merembe out on regular walks. The plan was to escort the rambunctious pup to Central Park, where she could enjoy fresh air and social time around other dogs and people. Just to make sure he was getting what he paid for, John followed the dog walker—and discovered that Merembe spent the entire hour cooped up in a tiny apartment while the walker went on errands. The indignation that any dog owner would feel at this discovery is what prompted John to found Biscuits & Bath, an all-encompassing dog-care company that strives for transparency, knowledge, and compassion in all they do.
A bounty of doggy knowledge backs every service at Biscuits & Bath, whether it's grouping dogs by size and temperament at daycare to balance safety and fun, or pairing groomers' image-enhancing brush-outs with checks for ticks, ear infections, and unusual basketball ability. True to the company's roots, each dog walker is bonded, insured, and thoroughly trained to take beloved friends on a daily romp. Dogs are kept safe from big-city hazards by donning two slip collars, a climb-spec harness, and a reinforced nylon leash, allowing the company to boast nearly one million incident-free walks in 2011. On-site veterinarian services give pups a checkup incentive with the center's play-filled environment, and overnight boarding services keep timid dogs at ease with constant supervision and flexibility with special requirements.
Like many other only children, Saran longed for a little brother or sister when she was growing up. She never got a sibling, but when she was 15, her mother did surprise her with a dog, Kiki. Kiki quickly became the sibling Saran never had, and even when she left her native country of Guyana to attend college in Florida, she never forgot the bond she'd built with her dog. Saran went on to earn an MBA, later ditching her corporate career to start her own business?a pet grooming and boarding facility named in honor of her now late canine companion.
Kiki's Pet Spa & Boutique hasn't just been a comfort to Saran's animal-loving spirit, but also to other pet owners dealing with socially or physically challenged pets. That's because the compassionate staff isn't simply grooming and minding animals. During boarding and daycare sessions, they're encouraging the pets' social development and helping both owners and pets adapt to the setbacks of injuries or degenerative conditions. Staffers can also come to your home for dog walking and cat visits, and they can arrange photo shoots or portrait sittings for when your animal is having a good fur day.
"A tired dog is a good dog," says Angi Aramburu, fitness trainer and mastermind behind Go Fetch Run, a unique fitness program where man's best friend becomes man's best exercise partner. The concept, which dawned on Ms. Aramburu after her successful stint instructing the parent-baby workout class Stroller Strides, shortens the leash between pet and owner in a series of intense exercises at scenic Prospect Park. In boot camps set at twilight and dusk, pairs form even tighter bonds in intense total-body conditioning exercises that take advantage of two- and four-legged dynamics. In strength training, agility, core work, and cardio exercises, panting partners take to the park's hills in training sessions that improve the temperament of both species with positive reinforcement. Like a Westminster Dog Show crossbred with the X-Games, the workouts also feature a "Down and Dirty Obstacle Course" where dog-owner teams slalom across pylons, hop rope ladders, crawl through tunnels, and jump through hoops. For those who shy from boot-camp intensity, Go Fetch Run also offers a weekly run/walk with the Woof Pack, which is broken into groups depending on the pair's desired speed.
Studies indicate that humans first domesticated wolves as long as 33,000 years ago. Over millenniums, these wild creatures eventually became dogs, the unconditional companions we know and love today. The dog walkers at NYC Pet Nannies work to improve upon this already ancient relationship with modern technology. Using a digital registration system, scanners, and GPS trackers, the staff provide dog owners with live updates about the location of their precious pooches during walks that last anywhere from 15 to 50 minutes. Automated emails, meanwhile, dispatch to owners’ inboxes along the way, keeping them in the loop.
Technology isn’t the only way they enhance the dog-walking experience, though. Before ever touching a leash, each walker must pass an intensive certification course, become bonded and insured, and beat a greyhound in a foot race.
Word of Jesse Brezina's dog walking prowess spread quickly, and soon Jesse found himself with a viable business on his hands. He's pulled together a passionate staff of dog lovers to take clients' four-legged friends on neighborhood jaunts. Staffers walk just one dog at a time, so owners rest assured that their pups' leashes aren't being tangled with a stranger's. The dog-walking staff stay overnight if needed, or escort pets to appointments with the groomer, vet, or interior decorator. Afterward, walkers text owners with an update on their pets' well-being.
School of Walk's pet-care specialists take dogs on walks when their owners are busy or out of town, limiting each walk to three dogs so that they can provide focused attention while teaching basic training commands. They can also schedule private, in-home training sessions for dogs and care for dogs, cats, birds, and other small animals overnight. When staffers visit homes to care for pets, they also water plants and collect mail for no additional charge.