Any resident of Park Slope is familiar with dog walkers –
they’re seen every morning on the streets, in Prospect Park, strolling along
with a pack of seemingly disparate canine types, all somehow cooperating and getting
along with each other. [If human beings could only learn from dogs.]
dog walking is traditionally a ‘catch-as-catch-can’ business. Individuals
involved in more transient pursuits – acting, going to school, musicians, and
the like – sometimes dog walk for extra cash.
Geoff Lewit and Ryan DeLorge, college buddies, with their recently founded
Brownstone Dog Walkers enterprise, are bringing professionalism to the world of
walker who works for them will be subject to a stern regimen: no yakking on
cell phones when the dogs are being walked, no cigarette smoking, and no eating
on the job, either.
writer spoke to both about their business earlier in the week, and was quite
impressed by their earnestness and commitment to the dog-walking occupation.
born and raised in Park Slope, Mssrs. Lewit and DeLorge right now have
concentrated their efforts around our community. Needless to say, both profess
a love for dogs, and each has experience walking dogs for pay. Mr. Lewit, in
fact, worked for a dog-walking business that had up to 300 clients at one time!
Right now, as the business is launched,
word of mouth and flyers get the word out, but they assure the writer that
they’re “in for the long haul.”
the normal pattern of Brownstone is to walk the dogs between 10 am and 5 pm,
after which people are home from work. But, Geoff and Ryan offer early- or
late-walk options as well, and walks on weekends, too. Interesting fact: there’s
more business in winter generally than in the summer, probably due to the more
severe weather conditions.
mentioned previously, Brownstone Dog Walkers has set up some ironclad rules:
their dogs are never off the leash, a “safety issue,” according to Geoff; the
dogs do not enter Prospect Park either. Again, that’s to protect the dogs [and
handlers] from injury. They do offer, though, a “doggy fitness” package for
customers who need their pet to run and jump a bit. Also, if the owner insists
on his dog being walked alone, that can be accommodated as well.
potential customer contacts Brownstone, there’s an “interview” meeting in which
the dog walker – now either Lewit or DeLorge – meets and interacts with the
pet. Once that’s taken care of, the first walk is for no charge, another
attempt to deepen a relationship between walker and canine. After an actual
contract is struck, Brownstone will text to the owner what “business” occurred
during the walk, a very intelligent offering by the co-owners.
the ‘package’ offered is for a 5-day week, Monday through Friday. If the
contract to walk the dog is greater than 4 weeks, there’s a 10% price discount.
So far, even though their ‘practice’ is mostly young dogs, with their often
unruly, undisciplined behavior, Brownstone has not lost one customer.
and Ryan have thought of everything: for the interview leading to this article,
both showed up in identical brightly-colored wind jackets. Why? They and any
dog walkers that work for them will be easily identified as Brownstone Dog
Walkers, a tiny, but well-conceived, detail once again. I think these gentlemen
know what they’re doing.