As more Americans fall in love with dogs, more products and services that might – or might not – be useful are available. That stroller Fifi and Pierre have been riding in on their walks– get rid of it, and let Anita Broderick take the dogs out for real exercise.
“Your dog might be small, but it’s just like any other dog. They instinctively crave physical activity, mental stimulation and canine companionship,” said Broderick is owner of Little Paws & Big Adventure dog walking service.
Besides fire hydrant stops, she said, dogs have a need to be walked, but dog owners don’t always have time for long walks. Broderick said without walks the animal might not be getting everything it needs to be physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy.
“That’s why Little Paws and Big Adventures does the walking for you during the work week, leaving less on your plate and more time in your day,” she said.
Broderick walks dogs weighing up to 30 pounds. She picks the dog up at the client’s home for one of two daily walking sessions: in the morning, 9 to noon, or afternoons, 1 to 4 p.m.
Dogs are safely transported to walk sites inside her vehicle in individual crates or, for those who are crate-shy, tethered to the seat belt.
Dogs go out two to five times a week, for about three hours a day, including a hike of at least an hour. Broderick walks three to four dogs at a time and gives them close, personal attention.
“Some dogs do well inside a building in doggie daycare with a big group of dogs, but some dogs don’t. This is another way for them to be social with a smaller group of dogs,” she said.
She charges $22 for a one-hour hike including pick up and drop off. There’s an $11 fee for each additional dog from the same family.
Broderick is a professional dog walker certified by dog*tech, a Sixes, Ore.-based company that puts walkers through a rigorous training program.
To become certified, Broderick passed a hands-on practical exam including walking multiple dogs on- and off-leash in challenging situations while demonstrating an ability to maintain voice and leash control and keep the dogs safe.
She also passed a written exam showing an understanding of dog behavior; pack management; dog body language; recognizing early warning signs of discomfort, fear, and aggression; managing inappropriate dog play; and leash manners.
Broderick received first-aid training and certification specifically for dogs through PetTech, a Carlsbad, Calif.-based pet healthcare company.
She is insured through Kennel Pro, a Lansing, Mich.-based company that specializes in insuring dog walkers, sitters, clubs, trainers, handlers, breeders and other dog related operations.
She is also a member of the International Association of Canine Professionals.
Professional walkers pledge to use only humane training approaches. They do not jerk leads, use electric shock or shout at dogs.
“A professional dog walker provides fun and exercise for the animal and peace of mind for clients,” Broderick said.
A longtime dog lover, she owns Didi, a miniature poodle, and a dachshund named Scout.
Originally from New Jersey, she worked as a research librarian for a major pharmaceutical company and slowly came to realize the job wasn’t right for her.
“I decided I wanted to do what I think is really meaningful and how I wanted to spend my day,” she said about becoming a dog walker.
After a walk, she checks the dogs for ticks and wipes them down.
“I think it’s a wonderful service. It’s not for every dog, but for a lot of dogs and owners, it’s a good fit,” Broderick said.
For additional information go to www.littlepawsbigadventures.com or call Little Paws & Big Adventures at 201-506-1727.