Hi, I’m Christian.
In many ways, I’m a typical dog walker. I prefer my legs moving under me. Moments of stillness feel like an eternity. Being around animals is comforting and calming; an easy and fulfilling experience. But, being around humans can be a lot of work. My hands are calloused from years of juggling leashes, and my feet are tough and ready-to-go at all times. I wake up every morning thinking of the pets waiting to be tended to. The rest of my day is devoted to meeting their needs. Personally, I’m a worrier and always have been. I am constantly concerned and always put other’s needs before my own. It isn’t the greatest thing for my health, but it works out just fine for the animals under my care. This is one of the reasons I chose to become a pet sitter. My habits and preferences mold perfectly into it. I can be outdoors, keep active, and work hard helping families who appreciate what I do. I don’t have to second guess my actions. I am confident that my efforts are directed towards something positive and meaningful.
I started dog walking in college as an excuse to jog around town while earning extra money in the process. After adopting a puppy, I quickly developed the guilt many owners feel leaving their pets at home. It was rough. I hated the feeling knowing he was alone for so long. So, in 2007 I decided to take dog walking serious and make it my job to give him the best life I could. A year later, I had a pack of four who spent their days picking up clients in a cargo van to join us on our daily hikes. We’d come home at the end of the day and hang out in the yard while my rabbit ate grass between their paws. The rabbit was as much a part of the family as the dogs were. Shadow, my chihuahua, would protect him from guest dogs that were unfamiliar with family rabbit etiquette. Shadow was definitely the caretaker to us all. Our nights composed of recovery and deep sleep in preparation for the next day’s adventure.
(Lola, Bruno, Lady and Shadow)
This is how I lived most of my adult life. I escaped the busy world with a pack of 8 to 16 dogs and spent hours on trails. Our days were filled with fun and hard work. Each adventure different than the last. Buffered by the trees, the wind was always soft, the sun was mild, and the noise seemed distant. The pack followed me with trust. They knew I would challenge their focus and return them from the hike fulfilled. It took everything I had to get through those days, but it was exactly what I needed. My body and mind were stimulated while hanging out with a group of light-hearted dogs that became my family.
The benefits were obvious. They influenced me to stay on top of my game. The nervous and shy dogs forced me to pay attention to the subtle things; to be patient and gentle. If you get anxious, rush, and disconnect from the moment they will lose trust in you immediately. There is no way to help a timid dog through their fears without this trust. The high energy, confident dogs forced me to get out of my head and just be. They don’t tolerate procrastination or indecisiveness. In their minds, you either give them direction or get out of their way. They have better things to do than wait around for you to get with the program. This type of mind state could easily throw off the group’s rhythm and make the rest of the walk a nightmare if not managed properly. I had no option but to put my nonsense aside and be present. It was the best therapy I ever had, and I’m so grateful to them.
(Back in the day with the crew)
Over time, the pack shrunk in size. Some moved away. Others grew too old for the hikes. This is when I began exploring the idea of individualized walks. It was a strange concept to me. I believed a dog’s day was incomplete until they experienced a 3 hour walk through nature exploring and practicing concentration. Anything less than that was unacceptable. It took time, but I eventually gave in to the idea and was surprised to see how happy these dogs were. They looked just as happy as the pack I had. I was shocked. Its silly to look back and see how ridiculous my beliefs were. It was intense.
This gave me the opportunity to expand my services to other animals. Over the years I’ve had cats run up to my car to greet me, rabbits run laps around dogs to play, and owners fully devoted to them. I learned that this is how I best connect with people. If you want to have a regular conversation I might not be your best choice, but if you are deeply committed to making sure your pets are safe and fulfilled, we can really get along.
(Sady, Lady, Molly)
Today, I own and run Dusty Trail Dog Walking and Pet Sitting, LLC. I have used my years of pet sitting experience to create a company that is safe, professional, and effective. I no longer offer pack walks. It takes a certain type of person and a specific group of dogs to make these walks work well. The responsibility involved is something I would not want to put on any Dusty Trail walker/sitter or the pets in their care. We dedicate our time to caring for family pets with visits that are comfortable and attentive to each home. It’s what most pets thrive on. I might restart the pack walking program if the circumstances are appropriate, but for now I am having a great time doing what I do. I still walk the first client I ever had (Sady, 14 years old). She and her sister, Molly, join my dog and I for a stroll every morning. Lady is the last dog I have from my original pack. She and Sady have been through the whole journey with me. They keep the original spirit of Dusty Trail alive.
My clients are grafted onto my life. They are always on my mind, and I spend every day making sure they never doubt that. I’m honored that they’ve put their faith in me to manage this enormous responsibility. This isn’t a little hobby or side job I take lightly. It’s serious business and I am 100% dedicated to it
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Dusty Trail Dog Walking and Pet Sitting services the following areas: Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Clark, South Plainfield, Colonia, Rahway, Edison, Metuchen, Port Reading, Sewaren, Iselin, Avenel, Woodbridge, Fords, Hopelawn, Perth Amboy, South Amboy