If we had to rank the best dog walkers in Saratoga County, New York, there’s no doubt that Tim Pink would take the top spot. He is THE DOG WALKER.
The name might not ring a bell to some, so here’s a little giveaway – he usually walks around town accompanied by a group of dogs. Tim has been doing this since 2011, the same year he established Saratoga Dog Walkers.
Tim graduated from college with a degree in business, finance, and marketing. Like most grads, he thought of getting a 9 to 5 job at a marketing firm. At the time, his dog Bluff was still a puppy. He couldn’t leave him alone at home, and he knew he needed to hire someone to look after the pooch while he’s gone.
That’s when he got this idea: what if he became the guy who did that for others?
And that’s how Saratoga Dog Walkers came to life. Initially, he offered a slew of services, such as pet sitting and dog massages. But eventually, he chose to specialize in the pack program.
Tim now lives in Saratoga Springs, where he walks typically around 50 dogs five days a week with his assistant, Erin Prevost. He accepts all breeds and divides the packs according to dog size. He usually walks the larger pups while Erin is tasked to walk the smaller breeds. Once the pack walk is over, they drop back each of the pooches to their homes.
With so many dogs in line coming down the road, it isn’t surprising for the group to attract so much attention. During their strolls, people often do a double-take. Some would even come out of their cars and homes to get a glimpse of the action. Others would snap photos.
This has helped grow their business and their audience on Instagram, which has 17.7K followers at the time of writing. While their photos usually get many likes, there is a particular type of post that fans really love: class picture style images of the dogs.
It’s unbelievable how he gets all of them to sit still and pose for the camera. Clearly, Tim’s an excellent trainer!
Tim says that the process behind pack training is hard to explain, but it all boils down to building a relationship with the dog. Before a pup gets to join the pack, he meets with the dog and forms a relationship with him.
The getting-to-know stage involves observing if the dog is reactive to other dogs. He also assesses how much obedience training they’ve had. Once the pup is ready, he slowly introduces them to the pack.
Incredibly, the dog walker knows each dog by name. He often calls each of them during their walks to give words of praise. No matter what is going on, each dog will look up at Tim when called.
“It all boils down to reading their body language, seeing how they feel about it and what’s going on and taking it from there,” Tim told The Daily Gazette.
No matter what environment they’re in, Tim’s practical training means that it’s rare for the dogs to get over-excited or distracted during their walks.
The services offered by Saratoga Dog Walkers also made it possible for some of its elderly residents to still have the ability to keep a dog, like Rose Zacek. She first saw Tim in the park while he was training a potential member of the pack. Rose observed that the dog behaved far better with Tim that it did for its owner, and she was impressed.
Rose has always had a canine companion, and she hated the thought of giving up her six-year-old black lab Lexi even though she knew she can’t give him the activity he needs. To help her with that, she hired the dog walker to make sure he gets a good walk every day.
“Tim is the reason I didn’t have to get rid of my dog,” Rose told The Daily Gazette. “I’m going to hold onto Lexi as long as I can.”
Sometimes, it’s so easy to forget that dog walkers and other pet care workers play such an important role in our lives, especially for people like Rose.
Aside from dog-walking, Tim also offers cage-free boarding for owners who are going out of town.
Tim has a genuine passion for maintaining the well-being of these dogs, and that desire is what keeps the business – and the pack - running as it should.