In The event of an Emergency – Call My Dog Walker!

Red Bank, NJ Dog Walker

Michelle Orr Motzenbecker is a Certified Dog Walker, is registered, bonded & insured, is certified in pet first aid & CPR and is an active member of PSI & NAPPS. Michelle owns & operates a dog walking business in Red Bank, NJ called Time To Go Pet Care LLC where she does one on one and small pack walks as well as in home pet sitting and pet taxi services.

Recently, I was driving in the car and I heard an Onstar commercial where a man was having chest pains while driving and he told the dispatcher that his dog was in the car with him and he wanted to make sure that the dog was taken care of once help arrived.

This got me thinking about my dogs, “What if we were in a car accident? What would happen to my dogs?”  My husband and I take them all over, to parks, the beach, out for ice cream on occasion, etc.  I decided that I should have some kind of information about them in the car in case of an emergency.  With that said, I created an information sheet and I encourage other dog owners to do so as well if you take your dogs on car rides.

The information sheet should include your pet’s name, a description (if you have multiple dogs) any special care needed, and who to contact if you or your family (depending who is in the car) is injured or incapacitated. Make sure it reads that those contacts will pay for the dog’s care, and not to take your dog to a shelter. This way, if you are ever in an accident and not able to take care for your dogs, at least you know someone will be contacted.  Listing three contacts is a good idea.  Be sure to include names, addresses, phone numbers, and your relationship to that person.  You can laminate the sheet or put it into a plastic page sleeve so that it stays protected.

The obvious people to include as an emergency contact would be your significant other, a family member, or a neighbor, but why not include your dog walker?  Your dog walker knows a lot about your dog and he or she has access to your home as well as your dog’s veterinarian information plus a release form for veterinary care.  Your dog walker may also be versed in any special needs or protocols that you have in place with your dog, whereas your neighbor or a relative not residing in the home with the dog may not.

When I meet with a new client, I usually tell them that one of my goals as their dog walker is to make their lives easier, having a dog walker as an emergency contact is just one more value added service.  I have a dog walker from another company that I use for my dogs when the occasion arises that I need to be away from home for long hours, and she is listed as one of my emergency contacts.

No More Homeless Pets a Viable Possibility ?

Sari Reis is owner of Mission Valley Pet Sitting Services, a San Diego dog walking company.

In the August issue of “Pet Age” magazine, Cathy Foster, the managing editor, wrote an interesting article titled “Are Dogs Disappearing?”, addressing the issue of the diminishing number of puppies becoming available for sale in retail outlets. Ms Foster suggests that this potential shortage is due to new laws and restrictions which are driving commercial breeders out of the business. Since responsible breeders do not sell their puppies to pet stores, I read this to mean that the “puppy mill” and “backyard breeders” are the ones being affected.

The article goes on to quote Patti Strand, the national director of the National Animal Interest Alliance. “We have a big concern that there will be a huge decline in the number of dogs coming available …”  “People who are producing new dogs are quitting in record numbers. The future is inevitable.”

Due to new laws like the one in Pennsylvania that restricts the number of intact dogs a breeder can have on hand, and rules that “require commercial breeders to double cage sizes, eliminate wire flooring, provide unfettered access to the outdoors, institute twice –a-year vet checks, and follow a host of other regulations”, some breeders are opting to go out of business and there is a general environment which is discouraging commercial breeding of dogs altogether.

Pennsylvania, Illinois, New Jersey and North Carolina have active legislation on the books to set new standards for commercial breeders and more states are doing the same. Jerry Kreider, a commercial breeder and board member of the Pennsylvania Professional Dog Breeders Association states “Animal rights activists want to use Pennsylvania as an example and slowly go state by state to enact similar laws.”

Over 4 million healthy adoptable dogs are euthanized in this country every year due to over-population. People seeking dogs for pets can locate them on and in hundreds of shelters and rescue groups across the country. If people want puppies there will always be an abundance of reputable breeders to produce the healthiest, happiest puppies and will sell their puppies directly to the public. As far as retailers are concerned, I say, make your money selling food, accessories, treats, toys, clothing, crates….etc.

Another thing working in the animal’s favor is that public sentiment is changing. As more cities start passing legislation banning the sale of pets in retail outlets more people are choosing shelters for their next pets. According to a recent poll 54% of people surveyed said their next pet will come from a shelter or rescue group. Only 8% said they planned to purchase from a pet store.

Michael Maddox, vice president of government affairs and general counsel for the PIJAC had this to say,” along with breeding restrictions and mandatory spay/neuter laws, bans on the retail sale of pets have far-reaching implication.” I certainly hope that is true and that one day in the not-so-distant future, there will be “NO MORE HOMELESS PETS”.

Marce’s Pet Services

I am a 20 year resident of Euless. I’ve had many satisfied customers over the last 4 years. I’m very reliable. I would love the opportunity to care for your pet! I’ve also passed a background check.
References available upon request. Insured through PSA.

Handing out Magnets in San Francisco’s Dolores Park

Dolores Park in San FranciscoThis past weekend, we were in San Francisco, California, and we spent time promoting and meeting with dog owners and dog walkers. Online marketing is great (and we sure do a lot of it), but meeting directly with dog owners to make sure they know the website exists is equally important to me and to the continued success and growth of

When we landed in San Francisco, I was surprised at just how chilly the temperature was (at least partially due to the constant fog that hangs over the city). Usually when I fly out West or South, I leave the cold confines of New York City, and I head for the warmer temps. This trip was different because it has been a chilly summer for Northern California. It was 90 degrees and humid when I left,  and it felt like it was in the mid 50s or low 60s in San Francisco.

Enough about the weather.  One of my favorite parts of the trip was going to Dolores Park, a park near the Mission neighborhood with magnificent views of the city, and far enough away from the fog that people were out sunbathing and playing with their dogs. Before hitting Dolores Park, we had a quick burrito lunch at Pancho Villa followed by ice cream at Bi-Rite (salted caramel).

As we walked to the Park with our ice cream, we were handing out magnets to dog owners. A few people recognized the site and many didn’t. It was cool to be able to let these people know what is and how it can help them. We were able to hand out quite a few magnets, and I am sure they now adorn the refrigerators of dog owners throughout the city.

One thing I noticed in San Francisco is that dogs aren’t required to be on leash. In New York City, there is a law that dogs can be off leash in city parks sometime after 9pm (I think) through 9am.  I don’t know about you, but I am not willing to let my curious puggle off leash after dark, and having her back on leash by 9am in Central Park seems very early. I understand why it’s necessary, but I like the fact that the laws seem more liberal in SF.

We spent the weekend handing out magnets in various parts of the city, putting magnets in pet stores, and making sure they were visible to dog owners. This was a great opportunity to promote the site and visit with dog walkers in San Francisco. Thank you for being so welcoming and hospitable! is #1

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If you want to have a successful dog walking service and allow clients to find you online, your website will need to finish high in the results of the major search engines. Otherwise, your company won’t be seen. currently ranks #1 on Google, Yahoo and Bing for the search term of “dog walker!” In addition, it ranks right at the top on Google and Yahoo for the plural search term “dog walkers!” Not too shabby for a website that has been online for under a year.

Listings that come out at the top of the search engine rankings are the most likely to be clicked on by potential customers, and they are the best way to make sure that your dog-walking business gets noticed. This area used to be a relatively small niche, but now the arena is exploding online.

You can use sponsored listings so that your company will appear at the top of search engine results, but these are usually listed off to the side, not in the “general” results. They will be clicked on, but sometimes people who use search engines a lot have a tendency to click on the “natural” results. There are companies available online who can assist you in handling all your needs as far as set-up, management and reporting of results with pay-per-click advertising.

Regardless of the type of business that people are looking for online, you want them to be led to your site, if you offer what they need. But most websites are simply online brochures, if you don’t have high search engine rankings. To push your business to the top of the search results will enable you to transform your site into a hub for business. It will also tactically position your site to generate more sales for your company, as compared to other types of advertising.

If you don’t want to use sponsored listings, you’ll need to use the services of a company who can position your website skillfully in the top order of the “natural” listings. They will use keywords and key phrases that describe your business and services, so that more people will click through to your site.

Since ranks so well in search engines, we get a lot of traffic. In fact, we’ve received well over 6,000 visitors in the last month alone! A listing on can help bring your company business, and just one new client a year with a few walks will probably pay for the listing.

Sign up today!

Services Offered by Dog Walking Companies

If you have a much-loved pet in your house, there are probably many times you want to be there with him but cannot be, due to your own busy schedule. There is no reason you have to cancel or change vet or grooming appointments, if your dog walker offers that as part of their service.

Traditionally, most dog walkers did just that – walked dogs. But as we’ve become busier, many dog walkers have branched out, and are offering other services, especially to consistent clients.

If the weather is bad, perhaps your dog walker can just take your dog out to do his business, and then play with him inside, with his favorite toys. There can be quality time spent even if the weather is a factor. This is also a handy time for your dog’s caregiver to clean out your dog’s crate or kennel, if you use them.

It may also be convenient for you to schedule grooming or veterinarian appointments during their normal business hours, even if those are also your normal hours of work. If your dog walker offers this service, they can take your dog to his appointments, so that you’ll have more quality time to spend with your dog, when you get home.

Your dog walker will also likely be more than happy to spend some play time with your dog, especially if you are out of town or working long hours, and cannot spend the time with him that you would like to. Your dog walker may also be available to walk your dog along with one or another of your neighbors’ dogs, as long as they get along, so your dog can have some canine companionship.

Ask your dog walker, too, if they will top off your dog’s water bowl or bucket, and feed him if you will be especially late in arriving home. All these things will make your absence less stressful on your dog.

Dog Walker Marketing: Pet Store Bulletin Board

bulletin boardLike every other business, marketing is very important for dog walkers to find business. Word of mouth advertising is probably the best way to get new clients, but sometimes this isn’t possible, especially when a dog walker is just starting out, recently relocated, or has just a few clients.

Because many dog walking professionals use the same local pet stores for their dog and pet supplies, pet store employees generally refrain from recommending a specific dog walker for fear of losing business from others. Additionally, many like to use their counter space by the register for their own promotional advertising or point of sale items, and they don’t allow dog walkers from putting cards or other marketing materials.

One of the best ways for dog owners to find a dog walker is through the bulletin board found in most pet stores, either in the front of the store or in the back. Pet stores offer these bulletin boards to give all dog walkers the same opportunity to market their business without favoritism. This is a great way for dog owners to promote their business, but there are a few things dog walkers need to remember when using the pet store bulletin board:

  • Either use business cards, magnets, or pieces of paper with tear offs to advertise your business. The bigger the paper, the more likely it is that someone will post something over it or take it down. It’s not polite to try and monopolize the entire board, and many pet stores won’t allow this.
  • Make sure whatever marketing collateral material you use has your name, business name, phone number, email address and website on it. This information should be easily readable, especially by people who may stand a few feet away.
  • Bring thumbtacks or tape to secure your marketing material to the bulletin board since these are scarce and some stores won’t provide it.
  • Don’t put your marketing material on top of someone else’s.  It’s generally considered rude, and you wouldn’t want someone else to do the same. Likewise, a person may remove yours if it’s on top of theirs.
  • Don’t remove someone else’s thumb tack or advertisement. If someone blocked yours, it’s probably best to speak with the store manager. Nothing would be more embarrassing than to be caught red handed vandalizing someone else’s advertisement!
  • If you want people to take your business card, create a little pouch to hold additional business cards so that people know to take one. You might want to fortify this with extra tape so it’s strong and doesn’t break when people pull out your business card from the pouch.
  • If the bulletin board is behind glass, ask the store manager if you can put your advertising on it before removing the glass or moving it. There may be a fee or a reason for the glass, and you don’t want to upset the store manager by doing it yourself. Likewise, don’t put your marketing material on top of the glass, since that’s a surefire way to have it removed ASAP.

Visit all the pet stores in your area and post your marketing material on those that have bulletin boards for this. You’ll want to visit the store when you can to make sure your advertisements are still in place and/or to refill your business card holder. This is a great way for locals to find out about your business – and the best part is that it’s FREE!

Image: Flickr