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Meet Alexis

Hello! I'm Alexis, the owner and operator of Dog Friends. I'll be the one walking all the dogs, feeding all the cats and answering all the emails! 

I've been working in the pet care industry in Toronto for five years and know it's going to be my life time career. I grew up with a mature, handicapped Cocker Spaniel and was the kid that all the neighbours had take care of their pets while they were away.

I picked up a dog daycare attendant/dog walker/boarder position while in university and what was supposed to be a part time job turned into my passion. The position was a great opportunity to be totally immersed in learning how to read dog language/ behaviour, the fundamentals of training and how to keep in control of large groups.

I wanted to broaden my education and next went to work as an Animal Care Attendant at the Veterinary Emergency Clinic in the ER and Surgery departments. It was there I worked with fearful, ill and newly rescued animals-- a job I loved-- working around their anxieties and gaining their trust so they could be the most comfortable. I learned so much about the Fear Free approach to care and of course invaluable knowledge about pet health. It was amazing work but I missed the outdoor adventure of dog walking, leaving the VEC with a confidence in my abilities and strength after many overnight ER shifts survived. I then joined a smaller scale dog walking company where I spent every day with the same dogs, building awesome relationships with them and their parents-- able to work closely on each dog's growth and see amazing results! I spent my free time working on those popular pet sitting apps, setting myself out from the hobby sitter crowd. It was through these experiences that I cemented how I'd like to run my own business, bringing together all my gained knowledge to give each pet a positive and safe experience with a focus on compassion, accommodation and working towards personalized goals through positive reinforcement.

Turkey!

All boarding dogs will have a chance to hang out with Turkey! He's a rescued feral kitten that I met in 2016 when a friend of mine fostered him. He became my bed buddy while I was visiting and I fell in love. I thought he had been adopted shortly after but a year later when I was ready to adopt, he was still available! Turns out he had been returned multiple times when he hadn't opened up fast enough and developed a persistent ear infection. I scooped him right up and never looked back. With some patience and socialization help from boarding dogs, he overcame his wallflower habits and became the most confident boy!

 

His ear infection was a different story though, no treatments working and really taking a toll on him along with his newly diagnosed FeLV. After 2 years of frequent illness and close calls, I finally was able to swing a much needed ear canal removal. Lucky enough I was working as an ACA of Veterinary Surgery so it was my own team doing the procedure, I was even able to prep and roll him in myself. He recovered perfectly and has become the happiest and healthiest guy, finally learning to play and meowing like he never has before!  

 

He LOVES visitors and meeting new dog friends he can nap with. He's very welcoming as long as dogs don't chase him, take his cues when he doesn't want to play and can share resources (beds, water). Catch him at boarding meet and greets, rolling all over your lap!

and Max!

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Maxie is the newest addition to the Dog Friends family, joining me in Spring 2020! He was originally a longterm boarding client but when he needed to be permanently rehomed, I was very lucky to be given the opportunity to adopt him. 

 

Max is a happy 2 year old golden doodle who's my total partner in crime. He joins in on nearly all group walks and is an enthusiastic roommate to all boarding dogs. He loves being outside and could walk forever but at home, he's a chill cuddle bug with bursts of playfulness. He and his cat brother Turkey are total buds, cuddling up and even getting into gentle play together!

Just like every dog, Max has something to improve on and it's excitement reactivity, meaning he gets over excited, barking and jumping when he sees a new dog on leash. We're working on this with counter conditioning which is showing improvements but it's a slow progress. Apologies if you ever have a happy barking Max trying to say hi to your pup! Once he's familiar with a dog, he no longer barks and is a very calm boy when meeting up with friends. 

 

Max loves having dogs over and is comfortable with a large range of personalities and energy levels. He's very good about sharing his toys and beds,  especially if it means a new tug of war buddy! He's also very understanding of shyer dogs and happy to give other's their space! All new boarding consults must include an outside meet and greet between Max and any potential dog boarders so they can get to know each other calmly on neutral ground. 

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