Green Dog Walking in The Telegraph – Importance of dog’s routine

Green Dog Walking made it into The Telegraph on Friday with an interview by owner, Joe Thomason about the important of a dog’s routine and how our services help provide that. Read the full article here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/pets/essentials/dog-walker-benefits/ We are a nation of animal lovers. There are 8.5 million pet dogs, living in a quarter of UK households. There are, however, times – from office hours to holidays or family commitments – when it is impossible to give a dog the walks and attention it needs. That is where a dog sitter or walker comes in. Healthy dogs crave and need routine: continuity of care, environment, exercise and diet. Our pets merit more than a holding cell. The optimum care situation, be it just for a couple of hours or for a relatively long stay, is more akin to that of an extended family. No one knows that better than Joe Thomason, who set up the London-based Green Dog Walking three years ago. Mr Thomason, 25, now owns seven liveried vans, employs 15 uniformed staff and looks after about 200 dogs a day, with briefs that range from two-hour walks to overnight stays. “Our clients rely on us every day,” he says. “And they’re from all backgrounds. Most are just normal, hard-working people. Many prefer to use a service like ours rather than a more impersonal kennel because we are more like an extension of a dog’s immediate family, a club you sign on and stick with.” Mr Thomason adds: “A change of environment can unsettle a dog so we are at pains to replicate their routine and diet. When dogs board with us, either at our garden flat in Hampstead or with one of my employees who has similar outside space, it is generally a maximum of three or four per night. They can roam free in the living room, the bedroom or the hall – it’s up to them. Mr Thomason comes from a farming background in Kent, growing up with six Border collies. Working with dogs was a vocation. “Dogs are very therapeutic to be around – they’re always happy, there’s always something new on a walk that will make you laugh and they all have such characters – this job is almost like being a teacher. “It’s great exercise and a brilliant lifestyle but a huge responsibility too. With a dog service, the client doesn’t see what goes on. They have to be able to trust that the people caring for their dogs are doing the right thing.” “Working dogs like beagles or labrador retrievers need more exercise but all dogs need green spaces and exercise – we give them all a proper walk. On average, one walk will last about an hour-and-a-half, roughly three miles. “If dogs are boarding with us, we feed them at 8am, or at whatever time they’re used to, then we let them out into the garden. We head out into the countryside at 9am. Our vans are fitted with crates. “We break for lunch for an hour, then we have group training and games in the afternoon. Dogs need to be mentally stimulated. Our daycare pets are dropped back at 5pm while the others head home with us for the night. It’s a structure that works.” “We have permits to walk in the royal parks. We are fully insured and all have canine first-aid training. Any responsible company will have that – but customers should always check.”