Westside Dogs LA now takes pooches and pet parents on socially-distanced strolls

By Holly Jenvey

In a sign of the times, Westside Dogs LA is now walking humans, too

Westside Dogs LA has been serving communities of furry friends since 2014. In the midst of the pandemic, the dog walking service has not stopped their operations but has added new pledges to ensure safe and fun social distancing guidelines.

The “Pledge of Social Obedience,” which Westside Dogs shared in an email to The Argonaut a few weeks ago, reads:

• Keep at least six feet of social distance between ourselves, other dogs and their humans, unless their scents prove irresistible.

• To unconditionally love you, even when you resume your workaholic schedule.

• To not give into separation anxiety and make chew toys out of your Jimmy Choos.

• To never throw shade on postal carriers or Grubhub delivery drivers again.

• To not share frisbees, tennis balls, fetching sticks or tug toys.

• To not sniff the crotches of humans we don’t know.

• To never touch or lick the faces of strangers, even if they offer treats.

• To…ooh squirrel, squirrel!

Sincerely,

The Westside Dogs of LA

“We wanted to have people not so stressed out,” said Cary Tepper, co-founder of Westside Dogs LA.

The pledges were made to make light of the strains of the pandemic, but also highlight the dog-walking service’s new safety precautions, including branded masks, gloves, wipes and leashes for staff to provide clients with a contactless experience. Staff are also provided with a backpack filled with this equipment, as well as a first aid kit.

The company — which is certified in pet CPR, a member of the National Association of Pet Sitters and winner of the 2016 Expertise award for Best Dog Walkers in Los Angeles — is known for taking dogs on “Pawventures” (two-hour-plus outings around the community to engage in social activities), but is now offering a special walk for homebound humans a well.

Westside Dogs LA has started meet-and-greet walks with their human clients. Tethered together by a six-foot leash (two three-foot leashes joined together), walkers get to know their clients and their dogs in an outdoor setting, instead of the home, on a socially distanced walk. The staff get to know the dogs’ routes and neighborhood while the owners get to go on a walk as well!

Aside from encouraging socially-distanced socialization between humans, the meet-and-greet walks and pledge were developed to nurture a healthy state of mind for dogs. Tepper said that since owners are home all the time these days, dogs are prone to developing anxiety. Taking them on walks helps them get out of the house and gain socialization with new people.

Tepper also said that even though Westside Dogs LA was hit hard by the pandemic, they are still actively serving the communities of Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Venice, Santa Monica, Brentwood, Culver City, Inglewood and Westchester, and that clients are easing back into using their services. They also have seen how much their clients have missed them over the past few months of lockdown. Tepper and his company have been keeping in contact with owners, some of whom they consider family, by posting their dogs on the company’s Instagram page @westsidedogsla. Other clients have reached out by text.

“They love us because we’re a very social, family-oriented boutique company,” said Tepper. “Sometimes clients would shoot us a text message of their dog.”

For more information or to schedule a walk, visit westsidedogsla.com.

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