It’s just another day walking dogs in the wilderness for owners Tami Egan and Zac Barrett of Happy Hounds: Outdoor Adventures for Dogs and No Whine K-9 in Fernie. Happy Hounds (HH) caters to dogs that are friendly, well-socialized, healthy, have up-to-date shots, are neutered, and travel well.
This dog walking business isn’t typical. They take their canine friends into the wilderness to romp together. Chaos could easily be envisioned but that’s not what occurs. If you’ve taken your dog to HH or spoken with anyone who brings their dog for their two hour adventure walks, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The dogs stick together all the time. Call it the pack mentality, or their training but it works. If a dog is new to the group and does not have a solid recall, the dog will be walked on leash until the owner and HH is comfortable the dog will stay with the group. It probably doesn’t hurt that the famous dog whisperer Cesar Millan is one of Egan’s favourites.
Egan and her partner are choosy with their walk locations. “We don’t want to run into humans,” said Egan. “But the rare time we do, people usually get it and the dogs are excited to say hello.”
Egan started the business three years ago looking for a change from eight years of bartending. She put a few different ads on “Our Fernie” offering services such as knitting lessons and dog walking. To say her dog walking ad took off would be an understatement. Within two months Egan was working full time with her No-Whine K-9 dog walking business. Egan and Barrett then purchased Happy Hounds when her friend put it up for sale two years ago.
Many of their clients’ owners work long shifts nursing or at the mines especially with driving time added on. By the time people get home from work it’s dark with the short winter days.
“Winter is our busiest time,” said Egan. “Our down time is in the summer.”
Other clients’ parents get HH to group walk their dog for the socializing.
Any business owner will tell you business diversification is a must and HH is no exception. Operating seven days per week has been one of the reasons for HH’s success, with many clients’ humans working four on four off rotating shifts.
Although they are not a kennel, they do offer a variety of services like two hour group adventures, private walks on leash for the less social dog, puppy play and holiday relief. They walk blind and deaf clients too. Dogs are picked up and dropped off at their homes. HH have multi-punch cards for regulars and 50 per cent discounts for a second dog from the same household. And the rumour is true, Barrett does take his fiddle out on the adventure walks in the summer.
“When people see me out with my fiddle and the dogs, they think I’m some kind of pied piper but I don’t think the dogs notice much,” said Barrett. They are having too much fun exploring.
If you are interested in having a dog-walking service, Egan and Barrett offer a no-obligation “Meet and Greet” to get to know you and your dog and find out what you need. Happy Hounds is a member of Pet Sitters International and fully bonded and insured.
As they head into their fourth year of dog walking and pet sitting, they’re still off and running with their four legged friends seven days a week. Like they say at HH, a tired dog is a happy dog.
To contact HH, call (250) 423-6695 or check out their website at www.happyhounds.ca.