The best part of my work is that I get to connect with people from all backgrounds and walks of life. When pet parents trust me to come into their homes and take care of their beloved furry friend, that really makes my day.
I know that everyone has their own wishes and needs (I know I do when it comes to the care of my Lewis) and I will do my best to cater to those needs, provided they are in line with animal-centric, empathetic care.
The care that I provide will be given according to the following standards:
Cats and dogs have very different psychological and dietary needs. Most cats would look at you as if you were crazy if you'd offer them a piece of carrot, whereas a dog would find it the most delightful and scrumptious piece of heaven in an orange jacket. In a dog's eyes, food is food.
On the other hand, many cats are the happiest when I come in, do my work and just sit with them calmly as they cuddle up next to me and get to know me in their own time. Dogs however, want a more intense interaction with me and their peers. Some want to run like it's the end of the world and others like to sniff the environment and other dogs. I will always try to bring the appropriate energy, interaction and treats for the respective animal(s) I'm taking care of.
You'll never catch me hanging around endlessly nattering to a fellow dog walker or staring at my phone whilst the group of dogs runs wild. I believe I'm at service to the animals that I'm taking care of and they need me as a guide (to get to the park safely), a buddy and team member. Moreover, dogs need to be able to be dogs, so I find it incredibly important for them to have the freedom to interact with other dogs in- and outside the team.
You might receive less Instagram-worthy footage at the end of the walk, but a better entertained pup!
The same goes for our feline friends; they thrive on human interaction, whether it is cuddles or play. This is especially the case when their parent(s) are away and I visit them once a day. Be sure to know that I'll treat them as I would treat my own lovely cat Lewis.
ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY & ETHICAL
In our individualised society, we often forget to see things from other humans' (and non-humans') perspective, resulting in a massive divide between rich and poor, humans and their natural environment, and humans and other species.
I hope to counter that movement, one step at a time, by keeping my (and our) carbon paw-print as little as possible and sticking to species appropriate practises.
A few practical examples are that I am the first and only (as far as I know) dog walker and pet carer in the UK that uses an electric cargo-bike. It's powered by myself with a little bit of help from Bulb, an electricity provider that only uses renewable resources.
The poo bags I use are made of maize starch, the treats I give are vegetarian where possible (dogs only!) and organic. This website is made available via Greenhost and my electronics have been recycled and refurbished.
When you ask someone to take your furry friend out on an adventure to the park or to come into your home to take care of her, you need to be able to trust that person to not only keep your animal safe, but also your home.
Starting with transport, my cargo bike has been designed to transport small children and babies in a city environment. I have altered the cargo box in such a way that it's safe for dogs to be transported in. This means it has seat belts and a protective hood with windows to keep all paws and noses within the box, away from other traffic participants and stopping the occasional rogue pup from jumping after a squirrel/scooter/moped.
I keep the keys to your home on my person when out and about, without any indication of which address it belongs to, and in a safe place when I'm at home.
And in the unfortunate event that something would happen with your dog or cat, I have over ten years of experience in veterinary care to assess whether I can help her myself or have to rush her to the nearest veterinary clinic.
I ask dog parents to equip their dog with a well-fitting harness. There are various reasons for this, such as safety during transport, but the main reason is that I find a harness to be the most ethical piece of gear for the dog. It limits the kind of micro-aggression on your dog's spine that a collar would give.
Finally, safety goes beyond your animal and home. It's also about our natural environment. I strive to keep it, other people and animals safe from contagious diseases and parasites by being a responsible pet carer and picking up dog poo at all times - no excuses!