Downtown Pets has been in operation over 20 years in Lower Manhattan. In that time over 10 of our dog walkers have gone on to become dog trainers. Five of our walkers have become vet techs. Three of our walkers have become environmental science teachers. Many others have gone on to do animal friendly things with their lives too. We have a knack for hiring people who become lifers working with animals. Our walkers are serious about the happiness and health of your pets.
It’s hard to match the attention to detail we show your pets and your home. Hear from our happy customers.
Our aim is to have a positive, lasting impact on your pet’s lives. Let’s talk.
NYC Dog Walking Vision Statement
- Offer individual dog walkers and a personal approach.
- Your dog’s safety & happiness comes before anything.
- Have a positive & lasting impact on your dog’s life.
- Teach new dog walkers the basics of dog behavior.
- Provide creative solutions for the NYC dog owner.
- Provide excellent customer service to both our clients and their dogs.
NYC Dog Walker Services
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We subscribe to the positive reinforcement ideology of working with dogs. You may have seen these type of philosophies if you watched Victoria Stilwell on “It’s Me Or The Dog.” Our walkers frequently do continue training with content from people such as Karen Pryor and Ian Dunbar.
The Early History of Downtown Pets
Downtown Pets was founded by Josh Schermer on a cold Christmas morning, 2002. Josh was unemployed and living on his Father’s couch, pretty lost in life. He headed over to visit a cat that Christmas morning and it seemed pretty pointless to be out at 7 am on Christmas morning heading over to make twelve dollars. But when Josh walked into the apartment he found a very scared car who seemed lonely. Josh’s eyes lit up and that cat would sit snuggled on Josh’s lap for the next four hours (he was only supposed to be there 30 minutes.) After this visit, Josh knew he’d found the right job for him as an NYC dog walker and pet sitter. Downtown Pets was founded on a simple but powerful philosophy to provide the highest quality of care possible for pets.
Where did this philosophy reside from? Josh spent the summer of his 3rd-grade year trying to rescue a cat from an abandoned building. The day after he rescued the cat the building was blown up by a construction company! From that point forward Josh has seen himself as a protector of animals and that philosophy has been baked into the fabric of Downtown Pets.
How so? Downtown Pets was the first NYC dog walker company in New York City to attach dog leashes to carabiners on the dog’s body, so the dog can not run away if we dropped the leash by a mistake. From there we started using 2 forms of equipment with all dogs so if the primary equipment failed we’d still have control of the dog. We did this with our NYC pet sitter service too. Last on our list is using a leash with two clips so if one clip failed we still have the dog Josh has put a huge emphasis on being aware of blind spots on the streets and in apartment buildings. We try and control our surrounded environment. All walkers and sitters also become masters at both indoor and outdoor dangers to avoid and be mindful of.
The early days. Josh’s early dog walking route spanned over 7 neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan on a daily basis. From Chelsea to the West Village, to Wall Street, to Tribeca, to the East Village, to Chinatown and Gramercy Park. Josh questioned his sanity while he worked 100 hour work weeks spreading the word of Downtown Pets around Lower Manhattan. Without him knowing he was laying the groundwork for the largest dog walking company in New York City. Josh was an anytime and anyplace NYC dog walker. His days routinely started at 5-6am and ended at 10-11pm. Clients would call him short-notice on a Saturday night, Sunday morning and holidays.
Evolution of routes. Josh built Downtown Pets on a bicycle and the routes reflected that they were widely spread out and it would have been impossible to do them on foot. All early walkers at Downtown Pets rode bicycles. Over time we found dog walking applicants to be less open to riding bikes in New York City (understandably) and so we started to tighten up the routes so dogs were very close to one another. Like evolution, the routes began to reflect the reality of the walkers and walks got very close to one another increasing how much walkers made per minute.
Then the recession hit. The recession was scary and luckily we planned for it. About 10 months before the recession hit Josh increased our marketing dramatically and increased our rates too. Josh added new services ranging from grooming and nail clipping to working with sporadic clients and even picking up supplies for clients when they were sick, so the walker still made money that day. Josh also started promoting nighttime walks to clients without a premium fee added, and demand picked up greatly. We actually thrived during the recession but it was scary. One week we added 10 new clients, a crazy number, but in the same week, we had 7 clients end service because of the recession. During the recession both of our East Village routes ended, our Stuy Town/Gramercy route was hammered, our Soho route disappeared and all routes were hit in some form. Not all our clients lost jobs, but many of their friends did and they gave them extra income walking their dog. We made it out of the recession bruised but alive. During the recession, walkers would take any business they could, and sometimes walks would be very far from one another. Union Square and West Village South got hammered so we combined them to make one route. A widely spread out route made sense during the recession but made no sense to someone coming in after the recession.