Dogs have become the beloved family member—they add so much joy and companionship to your life and are happy to see you the second you walk in the door, lavishing you with yelps of joy, licks, and attention. But with so many people in the Maplewood and South Orange area working long hours in the City or running around with hectic schedules with the kids, it’s easy for your dog to not get the attention that he needs. And that’s where a dog walker comes in. This helpful service isn’t only for when you’re away on vacation, but can be a great daily aid in taking care of your pet. A dog walker can help bridge the gap in the day so that you’re best friend isn’t home for hours on end.
“Over the years having a pet has become more and more like adding to your family rather than just having this furry, funny thing running around for entertainment,” says Jessica Tuck of Peace Out Dog, a dog-walking and pet-sitting service in the Maplewood and South Orange area. “My clients consider their pets to be family, and you don’t leave family to pee on the floor for 12 hours—you find them someone to help them out during the day.”
Tuck has about 50 families in the area who she works for, with about 35 on the weekly schedule. She provides 30-minute visits, where they’re happy to do more than just walk the dog. “I have many cat clients and even one bird client,” she says. “For a regular midday walk while you’re at work, it’s usually just to get the dog out for some exercise and to relieve him/herself, but for a pet-sit 30-minute visit we will feed the animals, give any medication needed, clean up any mess made by the pet, water indoor and outdoor plants, take in the mail, feed the fish, turn on and off lights, and take care of any other pets in the household.”
Tuck’s 5 Reasons Why It’s So Important to Have a Dog Walker:
- Mental health. Staying at home all day for any animal including people is boring, and dogs are just as social as we are and shouldn’t be left to slowly sink into depression at home alone all day. “They crave interaction just as much as we do,” Tuck says. “Having a walker come by once a day can keep your dog in good spirits.”
- Physical health. Unless you’re dealing with a puppy, dogs know they are supposed to go to the bathroom outside—it’s what we taught them. So when a dog is left at home all day with no way outside to relieve themselves, they will be left with no choice to either hold it or go on the floor. “Imagine how humiliated you would feel if you were forced to go on the floor?,” Tuck says. “Never mind the physical damage of holding it for prolonged periods of time.” Having a walker come once a day will keep your dog healthy and won’t force him or her to be “naughty.”
- Exercise, exercise, exercise!! “My yoga teacher tells us all the time how much damage we’re doing to our bodies by sitting and laying around all of the time,” Tuck says. “It’s just not what our bodies were built to do. Dogs and all animals are the same way. Your dog needs to be playing and running around as often as possible.” Having a dog walker take your dog on a nice brisk walk during the day will keep your dog active, living longer and feeling healthier.
- A dog walker is your dog’s special friend. “Although I do have some dogs who couldn’t care less about my presence, most of them are so excited when I get there,” Tuck says. “I walk in and their faces light up because they know this is their time to hang with me. In addition to the walk, refreshing water, and whatever else we’ve been asked to do at that visit, we also just play and love the pups! Having a dog walker come daily is like setting up regular playdates for your furry family member!”
- 5. Routine. It’s important for all of us to be on some sort of routine and dogs are no different. “I have many clients who will let me know that they are going to be home for a few days, but that they would still like us to come and do our regular midday visits,” Tuck adds. “Having a dog walker come daily helps to keep your dog on a routine, which actually keeps your household on a routine. There is nothing worse than taking your dog out before bed and having them stare at you like ‘I don’t have to go!’ only to be woken up at 3:00 a.m. for the ‘LET ME OUT I HAVE TO GO NOW!!!’ backyard visit. Routine is good.”