For this client spotlight, we are super excited to feature Parkside Pups in Brooklyn, NY! Parkside Pups is owned and operated by Michael and his wife, Clarissa. Together, with their team of pet care pros, Parkside Pups provides quality pet care to Brooklyn's furry friends. Their services include pack walks, private walks, drop-in visits, and pet sitting. Parkside Pups is fully insured and Pet First Aid certified, ensuring that all the pups they care for are always in safe, reliable hands. The pet parents of Brooklyn are lucky to have Parkside Pups in their community — this is clear from all the happy customers on Parkside Pups' Instagram.
Unlike many of the pet care professionals we feature, Michael's start with pets wasn't love at first sight. He was actually pretty scared of dogs as a child, that is until his mother brought home a sweet black lab named Josie. After keeping a safe distance for over a month, Michael finally gave in and gave his family dog a pet. That was the moment that would change Michael's life forever. As it turns out, he really likes dogs; in fact, he loves dogs! And that love has only deepened since that pivotal first pet when he was a boy.
The idea for Parkside Pups came together when Michael and his wife adopted their first rescue pup, Willy. Walking and training Willy became such an enjoyable part of Michael's life that people in the neighborhood started to notice them out on walks and ask for help with their own pets. There was definitely a need for quality pet care in Michael's community, and Parkside Pups was happy to meet it! So if you are in the Brooklyn area, and find yourself in need of exceptional pet care, make sure to reach out to Michael and his team. You can find more information about services and scheduling on the Parkside Pups website. Also, make sure to check them out on Facebook and Instagram!
Why did you get into pet sitting/dog walking?
My mother bought a black lab when I was a child because I was terrified of dogs. It took me six weeks to pet her, but once we clicked, I was changed forever, and my love for dogs only grew over the years.
I was inspired to start my own dog walking business when my wife and I rescued our pup named Willy. I spent a great deal of time training Willy and taking him out on long walks in the park. As my relationship with Willy developed, people I met in the park started to notice and began asking me to train or walk their dogs. Concurrently, I had been a teacher for about ten years, but had been recently looking for alternative career options. I knew that having a dog walking business would allow me to be my own boss, have a flexible schedule, and spend more time in the fresh outdoors with dogs! My wife Clarissa has worked in business for about ten years, and so I knew that together we could go for it. She truly is the mechanical part of this machine, and I am the driver.
What is the most fulfilling part of owning a pet sitting/dog walking business?
The dogs are obviously the best part of the job. Each day in the park always leads to new adventures...some are good, most are great! Getting to spend every day with the pups is therapeutic. I couldn't imagine doing anything else.
I am a very social person, and although I spend most of my days with the pups, I also get to meet a lot of new people. We always do an initial meetup with every new customer. This is one of my favorite parts because I really get to know the pup, and the customers get a great feel for what I am like as a walker, which helps build the bond between us. I also love to meet all the different types of people around Brooklyn. Parkside Pups definitely does that for me.
What is the most challenging?
Hiring good people while you are walking 18+ dogs a day has proved to be one of the biggest obstacles for me as a business owner. Throughout the years, I've led over 30 interviews. I currently have four walkers at the moment. Again, my wife Clarissa leads these meetings and has really helped me find the best people for the job, but it definitely takes hard work.
I feel very fortunate with our current team. The walkers come from all types of backgrounds and neighborhoods throughout NYC. My small team is made up of people who have a career, go to school, or just want to be active with dogs all day, but most of all, we share a love for dogs and care about their wellbeing.
Where do you see your business in five years?
In five years, we hope to see Parkside Pups continue to provide personalized experiences for each pup, and a committed and reliable staff. Additionally, I would like to see the company expand to other boroughs, expand its staff, open a brick and mortar location to expand services, and add a social responsibility component. Most of all, I hope that Parkside Pups will be a strong member of the communities of NYC.
What has Time To Pet changed the most about how you run your business?
Luckily for me, I had met other seasoned dog walkers prior to starting my business, who showed me the ropes. A few of them had recommended Time To Pet. Once I was on the platform, I never turned back. TTP has been a product I sell to my clients because it does everything people want. I have numerous clients who have complimented me on the app, as if I created it, it's that good.
I'm the first to admit that I am not the best at scheduling or tracking financials. Luckily, this app can do all that for me, and it allows me to keep it nicely organized. The structure of TTP helps me stay on track, set goals, and keep fluid communication with all my clients and walkers at all times. Without it, I don't think I would have had such an amazing year of walking.