Dog home alone?

Real walks for dogs who love exploring...

Are you a local?
Yes, I’m a Westmere local and have lived in Ponsonby, Herne Bay and Grey Lynn for the last 12 years. I love its walkability, its distinct neighbourhoods, ‘hidden’ beaches and parks. My favourite café is Kokako in Grey Lynn.

How did you get into dog walking?
I got into dog walking to get more balance and flexiblity into my day. I’m a keen hiker and I’ve always loved the outdoors and dogs and have long had an interest in dog behaviour and training. I’ve learnt a lot from trainers that I’ve worked with both for my own dogs and a foster dog. Dog walking allows me to be outside in great company and it gives me the time and flexibility for other pursuits - I also practise architecture part-time.

Do you have any favourite breeds?
Each breed has its own special quirks and peccadillos - and I’ve loved getting to know the breeds I was less familiar with. I really notice what drives each breed - the schnauzers are really alert, eyes on everything, the Jack Russells are nose dogs and sniff everything. Poodle mixes and border collies love a ball. But of course being a griffon owner, I do love a griffon!

Do you offer pickup and drop off service?
Yes, I do. My service includes pick-up of dogs in my custom-fitted-out, air-conditioned van so that we can get to a variety of parks, beaches and reserves - generally all within a short drive. Having said that, there are some neat walks and tracks woven in and around the immediate neighbourhood, too.

How would you deal with any emergencies?
I am trained in pet first aid and have a pet first aid kit on board, and I ensure that I have vet details and information on any health issues or breed-specific sensitivities to hand for all my clients. It’s also really important to constantly be watching the dog's body language and get familiar with what each dog reacts to.

Are there any challenges in building a relationship with the dogs?
Some dogs are really devoted to their owners, and reluctant to leave their side at all. This is pretty special, but can also make it challenging for both owners and dogs when workloads become heavier or family situations change. In these cases, I take the time to gain the confidence and trust of the dog/s in small steps before we get into a regular walking routine. My clients know that having a well exercised, stimulated dog goes a long way to heading off a lot of behavioural issues. Having a trusted dog walker to share the load with when life gets busy can definitely make things less stressful.

As I’m local, I live close by to many of my clients, so I sometimes drop in to feed their dogs if they are going to be home late, and I have been known to pop over with a spare key when someone gets locked out!

Did you grow up with dogs?
Yes, I’ve grown up with dogs. We had Labradors, German Shepherds and Jack Russells, but at the moment my household consists of ‘Friday’ the griffon, ‘Alfie’ the border collie x Lab and Gigi the Tonkinese cat. Alfie is shortly to have his TV debut featuring as the presenters' sidekick on a classic car show called ‘Start Me Up’ (DUKE, Wednesdays 9pm from 1 May).

“Karolina has been an absolute treasure in helping walk our 9-month-old Freddie. Being a schnauzer, he was typically shy and unsure in the beginning but she was amazing at how quickly she won his trust. He now is very happy to see her when she arrives for his walk. She has helped me out immensely with walking him on a regular basis and a great support when I am away. It's so nice to have someone who Freddie is happy with and that we can trust. Her walks are always varied and fun and her communication is excellent, so glad we found her." M. Suvalko

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