Boston dog walkers offer other services
Kay McDonald, owner, Cambridge Critter Sitter and Dog Walker, Bedford, Mass., cambridgecrittersitter.com
Mary Walsh, owner, Monumental Dogs, Charlestown, Mass.
What's the benefit of working with a dog walker on a regular basis, even when the owners are in town?
McDonald: "If people leave for work, it's good for them to have a break in the middle of the day."
Walsh: "Because people are very busy, and they can only walk their dogs in the morning and the night."
Bishko: "Dogs are social. They enjoy being out and interacting."
Do you work with all dog breeds?
Walsh: "There are lots that I haven't walked, but I haven't turned any away."
Bishko: "Yes, I do."
How do you charge for the walks and what's the cost?
McDonald: "A 30-minute visit is $16. That's for one dog."
Walsh: "It's $12 for 30 minutes and $15 on the weekends."
Bishko: "For a half-hour, it's $18, and for 20 minutes, it's $13. I work out a rate for people that buy a lot of walks at once, too."
Do you work with more than one pet at a time?
McDonald: "We do groups of four dogs."
Walsh: "I like to walk three at a time, but sometimes I'll walk four."
Bishko: "If someone has two dogs, I can walk them at the same time. But I wouldn't walk Mr. Smith's dog and Mr. Jones' dog at the same time."
Do you work with other household pets?
McDonald: "Yes. Cats and others."
Walsh: "Cats and the occasional bird."
Bishko: "I don't do exotic things, but I do cats and fish."
Do you provide other services besides walking?
McDonald: "We generally have house sitting for existing clients."
Walsh: "I've done feeding, medication and the occasional insulin shot. I also water plants and take in mail."
Bishko: "I do medication, feeding, mail and plant watering."
What distinguishes your company's dog-walking services from the rest of the pack?
McDonald: "We're more comprehensive in coverage. We don't miss visits, and we don't shortcut people."
Walsh: "I'm located right in the town, and people can drop in if they lose their keys."
Bishko: "I specialize in solo dog walks, and I do behavior modification."
Do you have any funny stories or memorable experiences from your dog-walking service?
McDonald: "A burglar tried to break into a home while our walker was taking a dog out. Luckily, the walker locked the door on the way out, and the burglar couldn't get in."
Walsh: "I walk a 2-pound Shih Tzu. It's so cute that I'm scared it's going to cause a traffic accident because people keep braking to see the dog."
Bishko: "I'm a writer, so I keep a journal. But I write it in the dogs' perspectives. I try to remember every experience."