Can you tell me more about yourself and your experience?
Hi, my name is Vicki and I would describe myself as a true animal-lover with cats and horses featuring heavily during my childhood and early adult years. Recently, two lovely rescue cats called Smithy and Bryn have been welcomed into my home. Whilst I'm relatively new to dog owning in comparison, having owned my beloved dog, Twix, for five years, I can honestly say I could never have a home without a dog featuring in it now. Their enthusiastic greetings, quirky habits and the sheer amount of love they bring is totally priceless. Having owned her since a puppy I am mindful of some of the common obstacles owners may face when it comes to dog 'parenthood'. We attended the Kennel Club puppy foundation class and have continued our training in obedience, life-skills, agility, parkour and scentwork so I am aware of some of the basic training requirements for all dogs and will always adhere to these under an owner's guidance. In addition to this I am canine first-aid trained yet clear when a vet's intervention is required. On a personal level, many years of working with children has afforded me patience, dedication and kindness that I will endeavor to continue when working with your pets.
Will you walk my dog on a 1:1 basis or must they walk as part of a group?
I will always follow your wishes when it comes to walking your dog alone or in company. If you have requested that your dog is exercised on a 1:1 basis then this is the service I will provide. If you would like your dog to progress to group walks after a settling in period, this can of course be discussed.
How many dogs can you walk at once?
For most dogs, we will do at least one 'trial' walk on a 1:1. If they are a suitable fit for group walks then a carefully-managed introduction to Twix or another calm dog is done prior to introducing them to other members of the group. The maximum number of dogs I am insured to will walk is six, but the correct combination of dogs is always paramount as this allows me to dedicate time to each dog and to be aware of their safety.
Will you walk dogs with behavioural problems?
I understand that all dogs are different and may not fit the conventional mould of the "happy-go lucky, loves everyone and walks perfectly to heel" type of dog. On our initial meet and greet we will discuss any behavioural problems your dog may have and many issues can be accommodated. However, mine and your dog's safety must be paramount and if your dog's behaviour seriously compromises this then it may not be possible to continue my services to you.
What happens if my pet falls ill or is injured whilst in your care?
I am always watchful of any changes to your pet's usual behaviour and will inform you of any concerns I have, however minor. In the event of an emergency, you will always be contacted immediately. Furthermore, I will ensure your pet is taken to a veterinary practice if you are unable to do this.
Can you provide references?
Yes, I can provide both personal and professional references on request. Furthermore, I am DBS checked and hold public liability insurance.
Are you available to look after my pet in their own home?
For cats and small animals who are likely to require one or two visits a day, this will not be a problem at all. For dogs, who will need a higher level of care, it is likely that I will be available for one-off evenings/overnights and stays of one to two days if booking is made in good time. However, with commitments to my own pets, it might be difficult to accommodate longer stays in your home, although it is always worth discussing this possibility.
What security measures do you have in place for any personal details or keys you may hold?
I take confidentially and security very seriously and understand it is a great responsibility to hold keys to your home. Your key will be locked within a key box and there will be no easily identifying features to link a key with your home (e.g your surname or address). Your details will be held within a locked cabinet away from your keys and will not be passed on to any other parties.
Do you walk my dog from my home or do they need to travel?
This is something we discuss during our initial meet and greet. Most solo walks begin from your home while group walks usually involve a short journey in a crated, air-conditioned van so that we can explore our lovely countryside. If your dog finds travelling stressful, we will discuss other possible options.
Will I be able to put a name to a face?
Of course! I will always perform a "meet and greet" at a convenient time for you (free of charge) before commencing any services. This gives me the opportunity to meet your pet, discuss their needs with you and to talk through practicalities such as access to your property. If you feel you need to discuss anything once my services have commenced, then I will always be happy to chat things through with you in person if required.
Will you send me updates on my pet?
Absolutely! Some owners are happy in the knowledge that their pet is being well-cared for and don't require an update each time, but for others a message and photos of their treasured pet can really brighten up a stressful day at work. Just let me know your preferences during our in initial meeting.