People

Walking pooches

Walking pooches

Her love for animals, and dogs in particular, led to 35-year-old La Lucia mother and British expat Rachel McCann developing an occupation she says most people find rather intriguing. We took a walk around the block with Rachel and her pooches.

What started off as a trade exchange between Rachel and her beautician friend (she would walk her dogs in exchange for treatments), inadvertently turned into a permanent job. The self-confessed animal lover moved to Durban with her husband nine years ago. The dog walking snowballed after a few word-of mouth referrals and Rachel landed herself a full-time dog-walking gig. On weekdays, after dropping her kids at school, Rachel visits up to four homes each morning, and walks at least 15 dogs a week (two at a time) for up to 30 minutes each walk.

What do you love most about being a dog walker?
The privilege of spending time with all these gorgeous pooches. Seeing their excitement when I arrive to walk them is just priceless! I love them to bits, together with all their individual personalities. I would love to have lots of animals and dogs of my own if I could, so walking other people’s dogs helps keep that need in check!

Where did your love and passion for dogs come from?
I grew up with dogs and pets in my home, and my paternal grandfather was a vet. I am also a passionate equestrian, which goes hand-in-hand with loving dogs. Dogs are so incredibly loving, intelligent and perceptive. They amaze me on a daily basis! I would be lost without them.

What are some of the challenges you face as a dog walker?
I am a dog walker because I love dogs and animals, plus it keeps me fit! However, I am in no way a professional dog trainer or dog behaviourist. All of my knowledge is based on past experience and training my own dogs. I have to be careful of how some dogs may interact with other dogs or people in certain situations. When I first meet a dog to walk, I find out as much information as possible from the owner so that I know of anything I should avoid or be more cautious of doing. Some of the bigger dogs can get very over-excited (and strong!) when they see another dog. I try to find appropriate routes to minimise any potential conflict. I expect the dogs that I walk to behave nicely, as the majority of the walking I do is on public roads. I am quite strict, but the dogs respect that and are generally very well behaved. They each have their own quirks and, through trial and error, I work out what is most effective for us to have a happy and harmonious walk. The weather can be challenging at times, but, because I’m British, I’m not overly fussed about cold, wind and rain. It’s really rather normal for me! Dogs need to go for walks regardless, and very few are actually bothered by bad weather anyway. I have a good rain jacket and I towel dry the dogs once they are back home, if they get wet.

What are some of the misconceptions you feel people have about dog walkers?
I don’t think that there are any misconceptions as such, however a lot of people laugh initially or don’t believe me when I tell them what I do. It’s not something that people take very seriously as a profession, yet they are quite intrigued by it at the same time.

You must be extremely fit walking dogs on a daily basis. Do you monitor your daily step intake? Yes, I’d like to think I’m quite fit! I actively monitor my steps, but I do wear a heart rate monitor with a GPS tracker when walking the dogs. I walk between 5000 to 10000 steps per day and average around 25 000 per week.

Details: 082 813 8987

Text: Monique De Villiers-Delport | Photograph: Melissa Mitchell Photography, melissamitchellphotos@gmail.com

 

 

Get It Magazine (Ballito/Umhlanga) August 2018


View magazine
 

WIN a pair of Sweet Pea sandals

We have two paris of Sweet Pea sandals valued at R600 a pair to giveaway…

 

Unforgettable spoil

Imagine winning a night at the five-star Fairmont Zimbali Resort for two people? Well now you can! The prize includes a one-night stay for two people, including dinner and breakfast…talk about an unforgettable spoil!

 

WIN tickets to The Spring Floral Affair at The Oyster Box Hotel

We have a set of tickets to the Spring Floral Affair at The Oyster Box Hotel taking place on 6 September…

 

Winter skin

Beat the cold weather skin blues with the Placecol Vitamin E Silk Elixir. The rich, yet remarkable light serum soothes redness and irritation and drenches the skin with moisture. Placecol at the Ballito Junction are giving away one of these must-have serums valued at R420!

 

Hip hydration

The exquisite high-end swimwear boutique Beach & Beyond now also have their own in-house Beauty Bar at the Ballito Lifestyle Centre where they stock a wide range of accessories and products. Win this fabulous Kopari Coconut Multitasker Kit, valued at R895!

 

WIN a trip to The Victoria Falls Safari Club

We’re giving away a three-night trip for two people sharing at The Victoria Falls Safari Club, including breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners (including one at The Boma), a guided tour of the Victoria Falls for two people (excluding park entry) and return flights and airport transfers.

 

July spoil

The warmest, most luxurious blankets imaginable…

is a national brand of premium free magazines available in centres across the country.

Click here


to see other Get It magazines in the network.