Alex Beuselinck has worked in the entertainment industry for the last ten years. Starting off as an actor in Musical Theatre and then progressing as an agent for actors who worked in TV, Film and Theatre. He was prepared to leave that behind follow his passion with dogs and set up The Urban Dog Walker with friend David who initially trained in horticulture.
Q. Can you tell us a bit about your business?
A. David and I set up ‘The Urban Dog Walker’ with the aim of providing a good, reliable dog walking service for North London. Having used dog walkers ourselves, primarily for our rescue Lurcher Lucy, we know all too well how useful it is to have access to a good dog walker.
For us making the change into setting up ‘The Urban Dog Walker’ was done out of love rather than anything else. Having spent a lot of time in the ‘rat race’ we wanted a major lifestyle change which would allow us to work with our passion.
It was a massive change for both of us and it really is a fantastic job. There is nothing better than being out with the dogs, seeing them happy and enjoying themselves on their walks.
There is nothing better than being out with the dogs, seeing them happy and enjoying themselves on their walks.
One of our clients refers to it as ‘dog club’ which it really is, as we all meet up every day, go out together and enjoy all the nice parks and woodland that North London has to offer and it feels great knowing that the dogs have had lots of good exercise and stimulation.
Q. Do you have any animals yourself?
A. We have a beautiful Saluki/Whippet cross called Lucy who we adopted from Evesham Greyhound and Lurcher Rescue. They really do fantastic work there and I would urge everyone to check out their website and see what they do.
I feel strongly that people should look into adopting a dog as there are an unbelievable amount of dogs that need re-homing who would make wonderful pets. I think people have the impression that rescue dogs come with a lot of baggage which is simply not the case.
Dogs get re-homed for all sorts of reasons, be it a bereavement or simply a change in family circumstances. Please consider giving these dogs a home and a second chance in life as there are far too many ending up without a family of their own.
I think people have the impression that rescue dogs come with a lot of baggage which is simply not the case.
I also have tropical fish which I have been getting into lately and my parents have a Tortoise called Toby who they’ve had since I was a child.
Q. Is it difficult running a small business in London?
A. It’s not inherently difficult running a small business in London. With dog walking most of our customers work full time and so in London there are a lot of people who need help whilst they’re out at work. I would imagine dog walking would be harder further away from a large town or city as the demand would reduce but in London there is no shortage of dog owners who work full time.
The main problem with running this type of business in London is getting around. There is a lot of traffic which can slow things down and trying to find somewhere to park when collecting and dropping off the dogs can be very difficult especially when you’re trying to avoid getting a parking fine. The fact that there are two of us really helps though.
Q. Has your business been affected by dog legislation? Notably the Dangerous Dogs Act?
A. We haven’t really been affected by dog legislation. To be honest I don’t envisage the Dangerous Dogs Act being a problem as we are very selective with the dogs we take on.
We only really like to walk calm, well behaved dogs and so we don’t take on every client that gets in contact. We are lucky in that we have built up a really good group of dogs who are well behaved and who all get along well. We also like to keep the walking groups small so that we can give the dogs the attention that they need and we also try to avoid other dogs where possible.
We initially do a trial walk and then if we do take the dog on will try to group them with other dogs of a similar temperament. Any dog that joins our group really needs to be able to fit in with the other dogs without changing the group dynamic. If not then it won’t really work for us in the long term.
The main reason for this is that it’s important to us that our current dogs all enjoy their walks and it’s counter productive to bring in a dog that upsets the dynamic of the group.
Q. What advice would you like to say to people looking to run a small animal business?
A. It is fantastic working with animals every day and is often preferable to working with humans however you really need to be motivated by passion rather than money.
I would also recommend being organised from day one in terms of accounts and record keeping. Make sure you are fully insured and try to get a CRB check for your clients peace of mind if you are letting yourself into their home.
Most importantly, always make sure that the animals welfare is the top priority.
Visit www.theurbandogwalker.co.uk for more information and be sure to leave a comment!