Dog owners beware: Avoid Rocket Dog Walking in Echo Park and Los Angeles

posted in: Business, Opinions | 121

The following story was submitted to us by a concerned resident of Los Angeles who participated in this incident involving Rocket Dog Walking. It involves Echo Park because Rocket Dog Walking flyers have been seen in the area, from Echo Park Avenue to Angeleno Heights, and beyond, including neighboring communities like Silverlake and other Northeast LA areas.

As a matter of fact, we published a blog post about having spotted these flyers some time ago, wondering if the owner or his clients would come and leave comments or reviews. Well, they came, eventually. Other people who learned about this incident also started a Yelp profile for the service.

A Dog Rescue Story

I was fortunate enough to be party to an exceptional dog rescue! While at the checkout at Gelson’s on Hyperion, I heard an announcement over the P.A., “…black sports car…check on your pet…windows are rolled up.”

When I headed outside to help the manager look for the car, I saw that it was parked right next to mine. Had they been there when I pulled in? There was a frantic woman waiting by the car–the amazing lady who found the dog, and who reported it to the store to begin with. I have no idea how she saw the black pup inside.

The car was a sleek black Jaguar, with black seats and a low black rag top, parked in the hot sun, with the windows rolled completely up. How could anyone leave their animal locked in a car like that?

When I looked in, I saw a gorgeous black lab hunkered down in the driver’s seat (the only place to sit as every other space, including the passenger seat, was full of bags and camping equipment, which made me wonder where had the dog been able to sit while they were driving?).

Rocket Dog Walking Echo Park
LAFD was waived to help panting dog.

The lab was panting quickly with her tongue lolling out. It had been at least 20 minutes since the announcement–how long since the dog had been left in the car? When I joined her, the lady had already called 911. We waited for a little while, trying to figure out how to proceed. How long would it take for the cops to arrive?

In the meantime, several store employees and passers-by came to investigate. I was most relieved to hear a nearby gentleman state that, if it came to it, he’d bust the window open. Hurray for people who care!

Just then, a fire engine went driving by and the guys in the truck noticed us waving frantically. Amazingly, they pulled their huge truck into the parking lot to investigate. They swung into action quickly, unlocking the car with a nifty car-thief tool (setting off a very loud alarm), and “Chloe” (said her collar tag) was free! LAFD ROCKS!

After a nice drink of water and rest, Chloe perked up and seemed like she would be just fine. She’s a sweetie pie! By now, at least 45 minutes (an hour?) had passed, and the driver still hadn’t returned! After a bit, the cops showed up. They, also, rock.

Rocket Dog Walking Silverlake
LAPD on scene for the dog rescue incident, and Chloe the dog from the story.

They figured out who owned the car from the VIN number (no license plate!), and started making calls. They said they’d probably have to take Chloe to Animal Control.  But they were entirely awesome and thoughtful and on it!

Finally the driver showed up. He told the cops he’s from New York City, and didn’t understand that the weather was too hot to lock a dog in the car. Um. He also claimed the dog as his. The phone number on Chloe’s collar finally picked up, and the panicking owner on the line informed us that the guy with the black Jaguar was their dog walker, not the owner of the dog. And that he lives here. And has his own dog walking company. And is, apparently, a lying piece of crap who doesn’t walk their dog, but locks her in a hot car with the windows rolled up.

Happily, Chloe’s owner’s boyfriend came to get her, speeding in a panic all the way. He was so relieved and grateful that she is okay, saying they hadn’t liked the walker anyway and this was gonna be his last day before they fired him!

Well, now he’s definitely fired. And has been reported to the folks who investigate animal cruelty. Turns out, he’s with Rocket Dog Walking (owner?) right here on the Eastside/Northeast/Downtown Los Angeles area.

Have you seen their signs everywhere? Notice: avoid Rocket Dog Walking. Tell everyone you know! But great news–Chloe is home and safe. And that is what I call a happy ending. – Concerned Resident.

Rocket Dog Walking Los Angeles
Rocket Dog Walking, the neighborhood service in question. Seen a flyer?

 

Thank you for your submission of this story and for wanting to get the word out about Rocket Dog Walking. If anyone has had any other issues, or has spotted flyers in other neighborhoods, please leave a comment. – Echo Park Forums

121 Responses

  1. Death by firing squad!

  2. Satellite

    Seriously, lol. I’m curious about what the hell he did for one hour while parked in a supermarket parking lot. Takes some balls and a stupid brain to think no one was gonna see a big lab dying in his car

  3. Thank you so much for submitting the story! Im Chloe’s owner and am eternally grateful for the wonderful people who intervened. Chloe was so lucky to have caring people around the area at the time…God knows what could’ve happened. And definitely DONT hire this guy.

    • Hello Diana,

      We’re glad to have helped, and glad to know that Chloe was not harmed. There was a commenter that also suggested to check her for any future problems that could have been caused by the incident.

      Thanks for the comment,
      EPF

  4. A dog walker in a Jaguar???? hmmm

  5. SocialSoundSystem

    Dude. We were walking Olive a few weeks ago in Silver Lake when we came up on this completely burned out brown Jaguar. It was already put out and the fire engine was there but the guy on the side of the road had like 4 dogs with him. It was clearly his car… Wonder if they guy was one and the same (but with a new Jaguar)?!

  6. Michelle

    Shoulda called the Trader Joe’s across the street. I’m sure that’s where the guy actually was…

    Also, what a jackass.

  7. Makes me wonder what this jackass was actually doing to the dogs rather than walking them. Very glad to hear Chloe is okay in any case.

  8. Dog is a property, that fire department should be sue for their action.

  9. Mike A., you are a piece of shit. Dogs are living creatures who deserve love, care and respect just like anyone. Someone should lock YOU in a hot car with the windows rolled up & see how much you like it. I hope you don’t have any pets cos you certainly don’t deserve them.

    In any case, I’m SO thankful for the fire department & everyone who cared enough to help Chloe!! glad she’s home and safe.

  10. Jintsjason

    Obviously this guy was not doing what I’m about to describe, but thanks to key-fob controlled door locks, I can keep my boy (dog) in my locked car while I’m doing an errand with the car AND the AC running! Of course, people rightfully panic when they see my dog in a locked car on a hot day, but as more and more people do what I do, they should just listen to see if the car is running before they alert the authorities. He is quite happy inside a cool car. I’ve more than once been accosted by outraged do-gooders when they witnessed Dewey in the car. Just a heads up as technology makes it easier to safely take our buddies with us to the store.

  11. Dave Garner

    I can’t see any reason not to take this guy to the pier at San Pedro and lock him in a shipping container for a few hours. See how much he likes the experience…

    Jintsjason, in many jurisdictions, allowing your care to run longer than three minutes without motoring purpose is considered an environmental crime (unnecessary pollution). Recommend you check you local statutes.

  12. People need to be made aware of this guy’s name AND what he looks like. This can’t happen again because next time it could be a dog’s life. Why hasn’t his idently been revealed? Someone on Yelp warned about this guy in April but again, no name or description.

  13. suzanne

    Mike A: Say what? I think you read the story too quickly to understand what went down.

  14. It is against the law to leave a car running in my state. I would just break the window. I have a small dog who goes everywhere with me. If it is to hot outside I bring him inside. You have a problem with that, tough. I went and got papers to bring him in places. I try leaving him at home, but he will never be locked in a hot car or tided up outside of a place on a hot day. If it is to hot outside, that most likely means the ground is to hot for his paws.

  15. Jintsjason~ Does your key-fob enable you to keep the AC on without your keys in the ignition?

  16. Sounds like Mike A is Rocketdog. This guy is obviously a class A illiterate dirtbag… If you’re buying Jags while “working” as dog walker… where the hell are your priorities? My money’s on the fact that he’s a wannabe who lives with his parents and every cent goes into that car which will be repo’d soon anyway. Scum.

  17. Ifallalot

    The Jaguar owner should be baked to death in an industrial oven

  18. CaliWineGirl

    I am so glad this dog was saved!!

    I hired Rocket Dog last year and the guy is very shifty. To answer some questions of his looks: he is slight, about 5’6″, dresses retro 40’s/50’s: dress shirt, vest, wing tipped shoes, pale, black hair. I did an interview with him and called a reference before allowing him to walk my dog. He showed up in a brown Jag convertible–he said it was a ‘clients’.

    His reference said he was a little ‘strange’ but that he does a good job. Rocket Dog guy (can’t remember his name now) told me he was an aspiring actor, so, I figured, hey I won’t judge him on quirky character. I hired him to walk my dog 2x/day for 2 days over a weekend.

    I called Rocket Dog while I was gone on both days to check in and he said everything went fine. However, both nights when I got home my dog seemed agitated and needed to go out right away, as if she hadn’t even been walked. And on the second night she had urinated on my guest bed, which is something she only had done in the past when she is upset/angry. I figured the guy never came either day and just said he walked her, but on the second night home I knew he had been there because my toilet seat was left up and there was some weird black, ink like drops in my bathtub. What are those and where did they come from?? The only thing I could think of is that maybe he dyed his hair at my house??? Who knows, but it was super weird and freaked me out. Needless to say I never called him again.

    I live in Los Feliz and haven’t seen his flyers around very much anymore. Maybe he’s moving around neighborhood to neighborhood? Not sure what this guy is up to. Def a DO NOT HIRE!!!

  19. Well, Mike A, does the A stand for “asshole?”, because that’s exactly what you are. Also, you need to go back to elementary school for some serious tutoring in English regarding your sentence formation/structure/tense, etc.

    Most cases, (yours in particular) dogs are much better companions than humans.

    Glad to hear the Chloe is home safe and well!!!!

  20. This guy parks his car outside our building on Echo Park Ave.

  21. texacali

    Mike A, I’m sure you’re just trying to incite a riot, but in the state of California (and 14 other states so far), it is legal to “take all steps that are reasonably necessary” for the removal of an animal from a motor vehicle under these circumstances, and it is illegal to “leave or confine an animal in any unattended motor vehicle under conditions that endanger the health or well-being of an animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or lack of food or water, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the animal.” Keep it mind, MA. Sounds like you cherish your ride. Props to LAFD and all who cared.

  22. Jintsjason, even though your AC is on, it is NEVER safe to leave your dog unattended. Someone can steal your pup to use in dog fighting (small dogs as bait or bigger dogs as practice dogs) or even to sell to medical research (bunchers attain pets through all kinds of illegal means to sell to labs). A thief may even steal your car with your dog in it! And, that’s happened quite a few times in the LA area recently.

    Regardless if you dog is cool, it is not safe to leave him/her by himself. If you love your pup, leave him/her at home if you’re going somewhere that does not allow dogs inside.

  23. Pet sitter

    Omg!!!! I am a dog walker in Ktown and have been taking down his flyers. It was because from my experience unprofessional and inexperienced dog walker skill dogs. I looked up his info first and saw nothing about being licensed and insured so wanted to avoid someone having a problem with them. I do not trust dog walkers that you can’t track down and he had 0 online presence. So it looks like he is in my old neighborhood now. Glad to have found this post.

  24. i’m curious about who this guy is. it sounds really familiar to a guy i worked with at a dog daycare on san fernando. they had to let him go after allowing him to do a pet sitting gig and found out he’d allowed the dogs to urinate in the house, brought other unfamiliar, unknown dogs into the house with the dogs he was pet sitting and used the owners car without permission. i know for a fact he branched out to his own independent dog walking service. if he has dark hair, wears glasses and a 5 o’clock shadow, its probably the same guy and i would be very very very careful about trusting someone like that with your furry kids and your home!

  25. Jennifer Dibs, Sit Pet Sitting

    I’m so upset by this but sadly, I’m not surprised. I am a pet sitter and dog walker in Silverlake and have been suspicious of this company since the flyers started plastering the area. I even emailed the address on the flyers and received no response. Always seemed shady to me. Thank goodness the dog is okay. It definitely could have been worse.

  26. jughead

    I’m sitting in a locked car right now.With the windows up.Not cool.
    I’ve got an over and under sawed off with a pistol grip and home made sluggs for that creep.What do you expect for echo park.Lame waif hipsters.

  27. I hired him once. and I came home with shit in areas of the house that the dog isn’t allowed to go. And the place was a mess. I had to get my keys back and he got mad at me bc I didn’t want to hire him again!

    He is what people described him as skinny average height….hipster-ish.

  28. How do you not post the dog walker’s actual NAME? He will just change the name of his dog walking company and continue to do this

  29. Tristan

    His name is James Tully.

    He is rocket dog walking it is not a company with multiple people. Chloe is our dog.

  30. camille

    That’s why I carry a gun. I would shoot the back window out (not hitting dog) and left a note claiming misfire, sorry.

  31. Holy crap, Camille just wrote the stupidest internet-tough-guy thing I’ve read in weeks.

  32. Check out Viva Pets on Yelp in Echo Park. They are wonderful!

  33. JamesTullyNeedsAnAsskicking

    Let’s have a phone number and address on James Tully. I am sure there’s lots of stable people here that would appreciate it.

  34. Glad to hear that Chloe survived this terrible ordeal. The Rocket Dog Walking owner sounds like a terribly inept & unscrupulous person. Does anyone know his full name?

  35. Andrew M Underwood

    next time look for tattoos and piercings on your walkers as i never had a bad one from any of them and i’ve been a vet assist for 12 years. Driving a jag and being a dog walker has so many red flags i just do not know where to even begin..oh yeah punching the jag driving fuck in the face.

  36. ClaireH

    I definitely agree that the owners actions were reprehensible and horrific. But don’t you think that saying things like “he should be baked to death in an oven” and “I’m going to shoot him” is going a little overboard? You don’t really mean that, do you?

  37. ClaireH: Nah, I’ll bet no one means it. They’re just blowing off steam. Articles like this really affect some people. Concerned: It sure looks like him, taking dogs to the dog park and an actor as well. I’m going to try friending him and see. I’d sure like to give him a piece of my mind.

  38. Bob Morris

    As a pet owner and lover, this breaks my heart. As a professional dog walker, I understand that the point of the service is for people to know their dogs are taken care of. Would you leave a baby in a car when it’s 90 degrees? Dogs are not meant to withstand that heat.

    Also, I see this guys flyers everywhere and I’m pretty sure he’s ripping mine down.

    -YoDogWalker

    Link removed by staff. Please use our free classifieds to advertise a local service. Thank you for understanding. – epf

  39. Tristan

    Yup.

    I just want everyone to know about this so he will be unable to walk dogs in the future.

    James since I now know you are reading these comments you can see how much you were in the wrong to leave chloe in the car with the windows up. I hope this story ends rocket dog walking. Also you should listen to what the officer said about not contacting us.

  40. Weirded Out

    Tristan- is it the James Tully facebook profile that “Concerned” suggested?
    If so, that’s so weird because I met that guy years ago in NYC and he was very strange.

  41. Ifallalot

    I am absolutely serious that he should be baked to death in an oven. He attempted to do that to the dog

  42. Tristan

    yes it is.

  43. Mike A. You are a moron. Sue the fire department? You are right, under the law a dog is just a piece of property… but that is exactly part of the fire department’s responsibility: to protect property. Sheeesh!

  44. You’re kidding. Everyone attacking RDW?
    People have the nerve to hire someone to WALK THEIR DOG, because they’re too busy for it, and then complain and act surprised when the dog-walker is careless? If you don’t have time to take care of your dog, or any other pet, or kid for that matter, THEN DON’T HAVE ONE. Only making time for it when it’s convenient for you makes you as guilty as the dog-walker who shamelessly exploits selfish “too-busy-to-pick-up-my-own-shiz” individuals like yourself… :/
    Besides, ‘Chloe’ (is that seriously your choice of a dog name?) would have been fine for a whole day in that car; she’s not made of candle wax.

  45. These are useful to keep in your car… and they also make handbag-sized versions:

    http://www.amazon.com/LifeHammer-Original-Emergency-Hammer-Orange/dp/B000BN3A4Y

  46. James Sexton Tully is a weiner

    Yes, his full name is James Sexton Tully and he looks like a tattered, hipster version of Donald Trump Jr. He appears to like or own dobermans – a great identifier for all you people frequenting local parks. It is clear that his abuse of the homes and/or cars of those who have trusted him as their dog walker, as well as his dangerous neglect of their animals, is his method of operation. Vile.

    TIME TO MOVE BACK TO NYC, JAMES! HOPE THIS HAUNTS AND FOLLOWS YOU EVERYWHERE YOU GO!

  47. AaronB – You are either a troll or James Tully, and I’m leaning towards the latter.

  48. i totally agree that they guy is shitty and people need to know so he doesn’t continue to get hired and do the same thing to other people’s animals but really you people take it above and beyond. honestly, i live in tennessee, it gets hot as hell, my dog likes to go bye-bye — if i stop at the store and jump out and leave my car running, with my a/c on, and one of you people came along and busted my window out… you better hope the cops are already there when i come out, because i’m going to be pissed… if my dog is in dire circumstances, by all means.. someone save my frickin’ dog, but if it’s sitting, chillin’, with it’s happy bye-bye face on — leave it the hell alone.. you people boggle my mind, all they shitty stuff going on in the world, and you’re running around busting people’s windows out for the hell of it.. mob mentality, we’re dumb — let’s go break stuff..

  49. Who cares it’s a dog LOL

  50. Marianne

    Jenny,
    You really think your dog is gonna suddenly get a voice and tell someone if it is happy or not?
    Yeah, the cops will be there but, either way, you hurt an animal and I will be just as pissed as you are. You shouldn’t own dogs. Would you leave your child in a running vehicle, unattended? Never mind, I know the answer to that one. A dog, or a child, can definitely cause issues in a running vehicle. Again, you should not have a pet until you learn how to properly take care of one. And, furthermore, why are you trolling an LA forum from the deep south? Don’t you have enough Sh*t you can stir up in your own neck of the internet?

  51. Jenny – you are missing the point. These people pay him to walk their dog, not leave it in his car in the heat of LA with windows rolled up. Also “go bye bye?” No one know what you are talkin bout.

    Anyway, word on the street is he is a self employed dog walker…meaning he does not work with an ageny with insurance. He sometimes has other neighborhood walkers cover for him but its mostly his own thing. Im willing to bet he cares more about the money than the dogs.

  52. As a fellow dog walker, I am sad to hear this story. Be careful guys! Never leave your dog in the car with the windows up…ever!

  53. GinnyDog

    CaliWineGirl! OMD that is super creepi !! Anyway, thank God for a happy ending. What a nightmare. Moron.

  54. GinnyDog

    The “who cares, its a dog..and the nonsense about it being property and wrong to help it“, people…who are you people born with no heart? Geez, sickos! A living creature suffering..who cares! Weirdos! A lot of creepy psychos on this planet. Animals do a lot more for humans than humans do for each other! You may care one day if you ever need a canine companion due to illness, sight loss or search and rescue. Diana thinks its a big LOL for animal to suffer.

  55. For those that have cars that will run the AC without the car actually being on….how bout leaving a note on your dash saying something like “my AC is on and my pup is fine. I’m just inside the store for a moment. But if you think he/she is in danger, please call my cell xxx-xxx-xxxx” …..
    It would help alot of anxiety for many!

  56. renegawlt

    I’m sure he was at Trader Joe’s; I work there and fully half of our customers park at Gelson’s. By the way, if you leave your dog unattended in your car, or wrapped around its leash, or hung up on the bike rack in OUR parking lot, your dog will be released before you exit of the store. At least once a week in warm weather, we get news from a customer or parking attendant about a dog in distress outside. In this neighborhood? A posse will show up to help that animal. (They aren’t as quick to help humans in distress, which sort of boggles my mind, but I understand dogs are easier to love.) RDW posters are up and down Hyperion — re-appearing regularly outside the late-lamented MJs. ALWAYS check yelp and get recommendations from friends. Go the dog park and ask around, if nothing else — It’s right there, people. Use it as a source in our fine neighborhood.

  57. SSSSSSSS

    For the record, I believe that the people in here saying “who cares, it’s a dog” and “you shouldn’t own a dog if you need someone else to walk it” are James, angry that people are talking about him and he has no reasonable explanation for his behavior.

    For those of you who think locking your dog inside a car with the air conditioning on is good, think again. I remember this story but had to go google it–a police officer left his german shepard in the patrol car with the air conditioning on. The compressor failed, the air conditioner stopped working, the dog died. In doing a google search for that story so that I could link to it here, I found A TON OF STORIES of dogs dying in cars that were running with the air conditioner. And all I searched was: “cop dog air conditioner car died” so this doesn’t even included non-police dogs.

    http://www.topix.com/forum/city/ocean-view-de/TVGEGJV9K4SE99UD7

    http://www.wbtv.com/story/13065781/police-dog-dies-from-heat-inside-deputys-car

    okay, I started to link them all but this is just depressing. Those of you who think it’s a good idea to leave your dog in the car because it’s running, search for yourself. Or let your dog died and be charged with animal cruelty. Whatever.

  58. GinnyDog

    Excellent reminder of the possibility of malfunction. Thank you. Oh and I do agree with you, regarding the trolls .

  59. Interesting how people read a post that indicates how selfish, and pathetic pet owners can be (avoiding their responsibility and pointing fingers), and dismiss it with something like “oh that must be something that James wrote”. I doubt James would gain anything from posting here, as he’s probably a scam artist, renaming his business, so he can continue ripping people off. By the way, anyone available to baby sit for me tonight?! 😛

  60. veganista

    I would NEVER leave a loved one is a hot car despite have the AC on, anything can happen, malfunction of the AC and you have a DEAD pet. Use COMMON SENSE ‘humans’!

  61. SSSSSSSS

    Aaron B- you’re an idiot.

    you wrote: Interesting how people read a post that indicates how selfish, and pathetic pet owners can be (avoiding their responsibility and pointing fingers), and dismiss it with something like “oh that must be something that James wrote”.

    You think someone writing “who cares it’s just a dog” is a pet owner?

    You’re an idiot. Whether you’re James or just some other moron. Do the world a favor and lock yourself in a hot car to spare the rest of us from your idiocy.

  62. Whoever this person is, he not only doesn’t care about dogs, he’s also a jerk. Too bad they didn’t have to break the window but I hope he was arrested, fined and loses his job. I live in the Valley… my gorgeous mutt does ride a lot with me and if it’s cooler than 80, she might stay in the car with windows rolled down halfway but never for an hour. I consider her my diet aide because I go in and out and don’t linger in stores. (and when it’s too hot, she either doesn’t go or we go to the big Whole Foods with underground parking in Tarzana and that’s it.

  63. Camp BellyRub

    Always ask if your dog walker/trainer is bonded and insured. Also, don’t dismiss red flags. If a reference says he’s weird… or kooky… or a hipster… look elsewhere. That isn’t a good energy for your dog. Calm and assertive is. I’m kidding about the hipster part. The bottom line is, anyone showing up in wing tipped shoes to walk a dog for a half hour isn’t planning to walk a dog for half an hour. This is just me, but I always ask my walker if they themselves have animals, because I believe that the best animal caretakers are animal owners.
    And who buys a BROWN Jaguar…
    #dogsrule

  64. Oh.. and about people saying if you need a walker you don’t need a dog… some of us have older dogs. Some have puppies. Most of us (if not all) have jobs. If the situation requires a walker… I use a walker. Long hours occasionally, running late etc… I need to know my dog isn’t sitting there worrying about having to use the bathroom. I rescued her and she actually rescued me by keeping me happy during some dark times, so her life isn’t horrible but sometimes we all have to make a little sacrifice to survive. For me that might be extra work. She likes sleeping and she doesn’t have to worry about potty so why not hire a walker? ONly difference with me is I usually just ask a friend I know who is on hiatus (I work in TV) if they’ll do it.. not “services”.

  65. Satellite

    I also emailed this dude sometime back and he never responded to it…I thought it was weird and stupid. Why advertise the email and not respond?

    How many flyers does this guy freaking have and how many clients did he or does he have?

    angie, good points.

    AC on, dog in or out, etc etc…we are missing the point. He left the windows Up! Who does that? Even if people think of leaving a dog inside, it’s automatic to know about rolling down the windows. It’s just a question of how low, to keep the thieves out.

  66. lovesthepets

    Is this him? The profile pic appears to fit the description:
    https://twitter.com/FilmNYC

  67. lovesthepets

    Something to think about:
    If the temp outside is_____, it is _____ degrees in your car.

    outside, car
    75 – 118
    77 – 123
    81 – 138
    90 – 143
    94 – 145

    It was above 94 degrees in most of Los Angeles today.

  68. What kind of loser pays someone else to walk their dog?

  69. Aaron – the dog would have been fine in a car with all 4 windows up ALL DAY LONG? With no water to drink, no air circulating, no relief from the heat? REALLY? Then why are dogs and children dying after being left in closed up vehicles? Honestly, don’t be so stupid.

    Diana – it’s just a dog? So it’s ok to trap a living/breathing animal in a car and let them die of heat stroke? Really? Dogs are dying of that EVERY YEAR are you not aware of that? Does that not bother you?

  70. Rancid Cheese

    Soft Top?
    Meet Pocket Knife…
    TA-DA!

  71. Let's Educate

    A few things re: this situation and comments above – (from an owner of a professional pet sitting & dog walking service for almost 20yrs. who also has a background in animal behavior, vet medicine and a million other things re: animal care)

    I am so grateful this dog is ok and that the identity of the business and the individual was released so people can be forewarned and prevent their dogs from harm or death. Glad to see posts above stating malfunction of A’C’s in cars, because that has happened over and over again. There is NEVER an ok time to leave a dog locked up in a car, no matter what the circumstances in my opinion. How far the windows are down are not is not even acceptable.

    Dog walkers are needed for a myriad of reasons, not to support lazy or irresponsible dog parents, although those kinds of people do exist. I forget who posted that but obviously you don’t know animals needs at all stages of life and why someone might need this type of service. The industry has grown for a reason. There is great need for professionals, who are INSURED & BONDED and have had REFERENCES checked (I always encourage my clients to contact at least the 5 I give them). And btw – just because someone is insured and bonded or a member of PSI or CPR certified, doesn’t meant they know what they are doing. Ask questions about their background. Ask the “professional” how long they have been in business and providing this type of care. I see new dog walking businesses popping up all the time that claim to be “professional,” are a member of this or that organization, are licensed/insured and bonded, and it honestly means jack! Any one can pay a few dollars to have all of those things done. It doesn’t mean they know this field, are experienced, responsible or trustworthy! Do your research people!!!!

    Camp Belly Rub – there is NOTHING good about “calm assertive” energy with dogs. Mr. Cesar Milan, who has labeled this to become a household idea, and has never even studied canine behavior or dog training is DEFINITELY NOT someone to watch and learn from. He is extremely abusive to animals, knows nothing at all about “learning theory,” canine body language (signals they give off, etc. He is Hollywood, don’t you guys get it?! Edited shows and all. Stuck on money and fame and doesn’t have any compassion for the animals at all, just like Mr. Rocket Dog here. And yes folks, CM was a dog walker – never educated in the field of canine behavior that he has been trying to claim via mainstream media). He also stole the name “The Dog Whisperer” from a local dog trainer here in L.A. who now has to call himself “The Original Dog Whisperer.” CM is a joke. If you don’t believe me check out this FB page that was created solely to educate people that there are other ways https://www.facebook.com/groups/20444826822/ If you believe CM has it all figured out and is a good example to follow Camp Belly Rub, then you just shot yourself in the foot if you work with dogs and go by that business name. He is one of the most abusive humans I know when it comes to animals, and he is glorified for it which is absolutely disgusting. Those of us in the field, as trainers/behaviorists, have to clean up his mess ALL the time. It’s a damn shame…. For dog training needs people, RUN from anyone who follows CM and even speaks a bit of his language. What people need to look for are trainers/behaviorists with a positive reinforcement/reward based trainer who actually knows the canine body language and behavior, and what learning theory is all about. A great place to start looking for a trainer is here: https://www.karenpryoracademy.com/why-choose-a-KPA-CTP Trainers/behaviorists also come from all angles and need to be thoroughly interviewed, researched and questioned, just as much as a dog walker/pet sitter should be.

    And to the poster suggesting people use “friends” and not a “service,” I’d like you to know that is not good advice whatsoever. In fact, many of use get our jobs because of nightmare jobs that “friends” have down for their “friends” animals. It happens all. the. time. “Friends” don’t typically know the ins and outs of animals care, what is needed, what to look out for, how to communicate with an animals, how to read the body language of an animal, how to provide emergency care including CPR or even where to take an animal in an emergency. Not saying this is true for everyone, but it is far too common that we get hired after a disaster has occurred when an animal has been taken car of by a “friend,” family memeber, neighbor or an acquaintance in your community.

    Please people…educate yourselves! Learn what the profession of dog walking/pet sitting offers, how to hire a professional pet sitter or dog walker, what to look for in a professional, how we can create solutions for you and your animals needs, and by all means even CHECK A PROFESSIONALS REFERENCES TOO!!!! Anyone can say they are anyone or anything and get away with murder and put someone or an animal in danger.

    I hope this has helped someone, even if it only got thru to one person as education is the key.

  72. Let's Educate

    One more thing, on the jag comments –

    Any dog walker/pet sitter could own a jag folks. Whether it be from their own success or with the support of a spouse or partner. I know several very successful dog walkers (who make 6 figures and up) who cruise around in fancy cars, usually only if they are not transporting animals around. Yes, this is a profession now and many of us are very successful. That being said, you can’t just slap info on a card or flyer saying you are this or that and be hired, let alone be successful. It takes experience and knowledge to gain success in this field, and no, not everyone is capable of being successful in this industry. And please folks, eliminate the idea that we are “the help” and understand that some of us actually have a career in this field and this is solely what we do.

  73. A tweet on his twitter account:
    “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.”- Dali Lama
    Wonder if it took.

  74. His Facebook page is down.
    I’ve seen this guy. He seemed to barley have a grip on life let alone a grip on a leash.

    It is the responsible dog owner who hires a dog walker. In this town for working professionals, who often work the long hours in various stages of production…the best thing you can do for your dog is hire a dog walker. NOT this particular dog walker.

    But I love how certain comments are blaming the dog owners. Those who are blaming owners have likely never owned a pet, or do own a pet and don’t know the first thing about caring for one.

    Hey James! It’s going to be about 100 degrees today…don’t forget to crack a window…f**ker.

  75. anthony

    it’s Silver Lake, not Silverlake.

  76. You should say what his name is so that when he starts up a new dog walking business we know who to watch out for.

  77. Lake Shore

    Can anyone confirm this is the James Tully in question?

    https://myspace.com/avantfilm/photos
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamestully

    If so, there are some pictures to help people identify him, as it looks like that Facebook page is down.

  78. Photos of this dirtbag — you don’t get to abuse innocent animals in this neighborhood without being identified.

    http://tinypic.com/r/vxcbrq/8
    http://tinypic.com/r/p1wzp/8
    http://tinypic.com/r/16jkp79/8

  79. Hermosa Beach Doug

    Yeah, right – it never gets hot in NYC! Not only a lying jackass, but a stupid lying jackass. I hope they nailed him for no license tags on the car, too.

  80. GinnyDog

    So many excellent points in the messages! As for the Owners of Dog walking/sitting Business’ and people who hire them, defending yourselves is not necessary. Anyone with half a brain, will realize there’s a myriad of reasons someone would use such a service. Could be a change in work schedule, sudden illness, surgery, a pet needing medication (ie insulin-strict schedule), an aging pet (just to check on to make sure ok, or incontinence due to age or estro issues). Its common sense. It does NOT mean a pet parent is lazy or doesn’t care. It means they do care! Sometimes it even means, the owners goes with less in order to afford the pet sitting-walking service. TOTALLY worth it though, many put their pets first. I know I do. Also, you don’t need to be a dog lover to have common sense or a tiny bit of compassion. A Dog will die very quickly in a car heating up. They cannot cool down as fast as an adult human, they do not sweat the same way. A dog does not have the capability to cool its ears and pads down. Caring about people and animals does not have to be exclusive of one another. Those putting the blame on the Dog owner instead of the incompetent dog walker, would be the same types to leave their own dogs in a car in the heat. Kudos to the person who spotted the Dog, and the Fire Dept and Police. Excellent job! And to those who think, who cares…well then get lost and go back to your cold selfish world. No one wants anything to do with you here.

  81. I have seen this guy before in my hood.He seemed OK until he walked past my neighbors house.They have two dogs who bark when other dogs walk by.They started barking and he made the ugliest face,mocking the dogs.It was creepy to say the least.Not to gang up on someone but I think a career change is in order for this guy!

  82. Let’s Educate – what do you mean CM doesn’t know the body language of dogs. He is always helping people recognize what a dog is doing and why, the nose, the ears, the tail – what it means.

    Everything he says is a lie then?

  83. I’m sure the stores appreciate you violating their health codes so you can bring your dog inside, Heidi. You’re ‘too bad; it’s all about me’ attitude is unsettling and downright annoying.
    And you can’t just ‘get papers’ to bring your dog inside. Your dog has to either be a certified guide dog or a therapy dog, neither of which are cheap and both take a long time to do. I should know. I am in the process of going thru various classes and tests for my mom’s dog so he can become a certified therapy dog. I’m actually doing it so he can HELP people, not to just bring him in any store like you.
    Sounds like you’re just another small dog entitled owner to me.

  84. Carlos Hermosillo

    I would love to kick Mr. Rocket in the nuts, and then put him in my wife’s car while she goes shopping, leave him in the car with the windows rolled up and no water available. If you got a problem with that Mr. Rocket contact me. you sack of shit.

  85. I contacted Rocket Dog Walking Services and set up a time to walk my dog. He stood us up, didn’t return my phone call and eventually texted me to give an excuse, only after I waited all afternoon.
    Annoyance aside, I’m glad that it didn’t work out after reading this story.

    Also, he said his name was GUNTHER. Signed his text as “Gunther from Rocket Dog Walking”, so perhaps he’s using James and Gunther.

  86. Just want to point out that many people in LA may not have yards or patios, so even if they walk their own pet before and/or after work, they may still need a walker to take the dog out during work hours. Having a dog walker in no way implies the owner shouldn’t have a dog. Ridiculous, and those who are saying so are just trying to stir the pot. I doubt their claims to actually be animal lovers, because true animal lovers go the extra mile for their pets, and that includes a walker, if necessary!

  87. Another Animal Lover

    First off, I don’t want to be a jerk and I’m really sorry this happened but… I met this guy a while back while I was out with my dog and he was with a dog of a neighbor. I was super unimpressed with how he handled the dog he was walking. She/he (the dog) was a bit skittish and he didn’t seem confident in the way he was handling him/her so I’m kind of relieved that perhaps he won’t be walking dogs anymore -although I’m very sad that this is how it had to happen.

  88. Photositter

    Diana & Tristan: This is so horrible!! I knew this guy was a jerk from the get go, after I posted flyers on Echo Park Blvd. next to his, only to return a week later to find mine removed and his remaining. In light of this very unsettling event and in an attempt to instill your trust in local dog walkers/ pet sitters again, I would like to offer you two a free photo shoot with Chloe with your first booked walk session (providing multiple references, of course.) You can find me on Instagram (@photositter) and my email is photositter@gmail.com. Glad to hear Chloe is safe and sound!

  89. Let's Educate

    Fedup – Hah! You obviously have NO idea what you are talking about. Just ask a few CERTIFIED canine behaviorists for yourself, if CM is a good dog trainer or even considered a dog trainer in the industry. He’s the butt of almost every joke in the dog training industry these days. Did you even look at the Facebook group page I posted? His philosophy, techniques and approach in everything he does is discussed ALL day long because he is such a bad example. The videos from his past and current shows are dissected in slow motion, with captions from REAL behaviorists, (who’ve studied behavior as an actual science) basically explaining to the average Joe how much of an idiot he is…and step by step. CM is a thief, caught up in Hollywood, who is a disgrace to the dog training industry and has very little compassion for the dogs with all of the horrid aversive techniques he uses. He’s barbaric. The dog training and behavior world has evolved 20 fold, even before he became famous.

    Camp Belly Rub – Looked to see if you were in fact a biz, and you are. And even a dog trainer on top of it. Sad to see your FB page with several of the dogs in your care in choke chains and pinch collars, when you say you’re a trainer. What trainer needs to rely on that kind of gear anymore? This is exactly how people get fooled! Where are your certifications? Why don’t you even discuss your philosophy of training? Why are you using aversive tools? And these poor dogs are walking, hiking and probably running with the constant pain around their necks because you obviously don’t know what you’re doing either. And you have five stars across the board on Yelp. Those poor dog owners are clueless. They have no idea what you are putting them through every single time you take them out to go have “fun.” So sad…

    Come on people….WAKE THE HELL UP!!!!! Learn who professionals are in these fields!! Please people please!! Especially with dog trainers, dog walkers or pet sitters. You are putting your babies in someone elses hands? Ask them lots of questions? What kind of gear they use. What their style is? How long have they been in the field? Who is their insurance carrier? How they would problem solve through things that are particular to your animal? What they would do different on a hot day? What they would do in an emergency? Do they have any previous experience, and not JUST a love for animals. I meet people all the time who say they loooove animals, yet they can jerk them around like a rag doll, any second of the day. Does that sound ok to you?

    Interview a few people for the job of caring for your pet, and especially for walking your dog. Go on an initial walk with them and see how they handle your dog? Compare that to the other potential walkers? And before you even meet anyone…CHECK REFERENCES and ask specifically what kind of service that person performed for that client.

    I could go on and on…

  90. Get references before leaving a pet in someone’s care. If I had been there that window could have been broken long before the fire department showed up. I keep a rescue hammer in my car and have come very close to using it on several occasions!

  91. Camp BellyRub

    Let’s Educate, I really appreciate your passion and all of the good information you’ve provided. Thank you for taking the time. I truly was not referencing Cesar Milan specifically when I mentioned ‘calm and assertive’. Although that is a term he coined, I was using it as a general way to express that if a walker doesn’t seem calm or confident, that might be a red flag. As far as my photos, thanks for taking a look. Although, I do give recommendations for the best collars for an owners dog, I do respect their individual requests and requirements. As well, I work on “heel” with all dogs under my care, so they do not pull in the first place. Again, I appreciate how much you care about animals. I was simply posting on a board about the subject of doing your due diligence when hiring a walker. If you’d like to contact me, I’d love to know more about you and if you might offer boarding, as I’ve been looking for someone passionate and amazing for my own dogs when I have to travel. If not, perhaps there might be someone you recommend? Thanks so much.

  92. Furniture Curator

    I hired this Rocket Dog Walking, but his name is Gunther!? He walked my Dalmation for six months . . . so, I am surprised that he had this problem. He was good looking, personable, and always there for my dog. (Not a flake like my last two dog walkers!) He slicks his hair down. He was eccentric, as if a costumer had dressed him for “L.A. Confidential”, but I saw nothing wrong with him, really.

  93. Let's Educate

    Camp Belly Rub & Others Who Want to Learn –

    I realize you are fairly new to this field and I commend you for great customer service. It’s wonderful that your clients are so happy and content with all you do. I’m sure you are a wonderful, loving and great dog walker/pet sitter/boarding service. You just need some guidance, as we all have. We all had to start somewhere! 🙂 Trust me on this one though…don’t use CM’s or techniques or terminology at all. If you are, please stop and find a certified dog trainer/behaviorist who teaches positive reinforcement, reward based methods. It will change your life, your career, and most of all, the care you give to all your clients animals. Those of us with much greater experience can look at a picture, look at a video, read someones writing or hear key words, and know almost instantly what kind of care and philosophy is being provided for the animals under that person. I appreciate you wanting to be in contact as you are in need of a boarding situation for your babies but unfortunately we don’t offer that service. All of our work in the area of pet sitting is in-home (in the animals homes) and we are not even based in your area. My awareness was brought to this specific situation by someone who lives in that area, although we are not that far away and hike dogs in Griffith Park all the time. Your best bet for in home boarding will be discussed below.

    In the meantime….please try to begin centering your on-leash work (especially) around kindness and compassion. Don’t do a disservice to them by taking them out on a regular basis in groups because it’s brings in more money more quickly. (Not saying that is your intention but it is for many walkers). If you are going to work dogs in groups like that, do the animals in your care and their parents a favor, as they all deserve it and begin to learn how to walk them one on one without tension and then slowly form your groups.

    1. Only work with dogs one on one for a while so there is no tension on the leash at all or hardly at all

    2. Know that you can refuse to use any type of gear that you are uncomfortable using. YOU are the learning and growing “professional” at that point and YOU have a choice. It is your business! What do you want to be known for? Good handling skills or bad? In the end your business will either thrive or fizzle out depending on what YOU are known for.
    (Personally, I refuse to work with aversive gear (choke chains and pinch collars and I learn what kind of gear people use before I even meet them. I ask them if they are open to me working them into safer and more kind gear. If not, then I move right along because I already know the kind of client I am dealing with. I don’t want any part of aversive gear, as most animals that it is used on have considerably more issues -or the clients do- like anxiety and reactivity to a number of things because of all the tension. I don’t need it. Neither do you. I want to work with people who want only kindness and care on board in regards to any kind of animal care and really want to make changes for a better life for their animal(s).

    3. Contact a local dog trainer who is certified and has YEARS of experience and EXCELLENT references, whose philosophy is based on positive reinforcement, reward based training. I posted a great link above, I think in my original post. And it’s a business write off! Hey! 🙂

    4. If you don’t want to do number 3, then stick to walking one family of dogs at a time and at least try to reduce the tension on their leashes and DO NOT work dogs in groups. (BTW – No pet sitters insurance covers this kind of work in our industry so you could be liable for a million things that could go wrong – from the ride there, to dog/dog issues amongst the group, to issues wherever you are working. The same goes with your off leash work. **It’s not worth losing your business over. Trust me.

    4. After you work with a trainer, then work hard at getting those dogs out of choke chains and pinch collars and in to harnesses, once you have learned how to do so by a trainer. **Until then I highly encourage you to not provide the group walks or hikes you do, for your safety, the safety of the dogs in your care and your reputation. Just take some time to learn and practice. Eventually you will learn how to properly bring dogs together to be able to work with each other in a safe, kind, compassionate and more more fun way. **and no, training is not what dog walkers are hired for, however we are seen all over the towns or trails we work in and you have to keep in mind that you WILL be known soon, if not already, by the way you handle dogs, just by someone watching you in action. Save yourself from a bad reputation and develop good habits early.

    5. After all of the dogs who hike in your groups have learned to walk without tension, then and only then start to couple them together with the same results in mind – no tension on the leash.

    Remember too, all I am sharing is advice to help you or help others learn how to be a better dog walker/hiker, and for others to learn how to choose a good dog walker/hiker. Everyone has different experiences and will share different advice. After almost 20yrs in the field this is what I share with you. I hope you all can take some time to think about this and I hope that eventually dog walkers are required to go thru positive reinforcement training before they can even open up a business.

    To all a good day!!

  94. Let's Educate

    Camp Belly Rub & Others –

    In regards to boarding, the same goes for private dog boarding business (in their home) or actual facilities. This is what you need to do…

    1. Contact several places to compare services, ask them tons of questions and ask to see their boarding set up. Is it cage free or are they kenneled.
    2. Get at least 5 references, check them all, and ask TONS of questions. Read reviews on line.
    3. Ask to see every area of their home or facility to see whether it meets your needs (many will say they cannot for one reason or another – if they can’t, high tail it to another boarding business quick!) *I do believe some large, commercial facilities may have liability issues with bringing people thru there boarding areas but I am not sure – boarding is not my expertise so perhaps someone in the boarding industry can chime in here. (I generally, do not recommend boarding for a number of reasons unless it is done by a trainer that I trust or a pet sitter with TONS of experience. I am a big advocate of in-home care, so the animals can stay in their own environment. That being said I do understand there are certain situations (behavioral or veterinary) that require an animal be boarded, whether cage free or kenneled. And, some very experienced dog walkers also board dogs, so you can check in with them. I do offer boarding myself but only for regular dog walking/hiking clients and only certain dogs. And I only do it for one family at a time, unless the dogs are already buddies from the groups they work in on a regular basis.
    4. If you can’t find someone to provide boarding, research pet sitters who will provide in home care. Again…ask lots of questions. Get 5 references, interview different pet sitters (DON’T give them all of your personal home info when you initially meet UNLESS you have done your homework and already know you are going to hire them on. And ASK to see their insurance info!! If they don’t have it with them, as them to send it to you right away. They should be bonded too, especially if they have a staff!

    Please excuse all the typos and mis numberings above 😉

  95. Furniture Curator

    Regarding “The Dog Whisperer”, I always find the show remarkably boring considering how much I love dogs. I have little time for television, and some lame scripted reality show seems generally geared to the lowest possible common denominator of viewers.

    Most of all, the host, Cesar Millan strikes me as a short man with an even more diminutive self-image. His approach to training dogs seems to me to be based on his own self-image, and that all-too-often means that he is trying to prove or otherwise demonstrate his dominance over the domesticated family dog.

  96. Let's Educate

    Furniture Curator –
    you know what’s up! You rock! I love the “host” mention. That is totally what he is. Sad that he has a whole center dor dogs living in such stressful means too.

    Camp Belly Rub –
    This is exaclty what not to do with walking one dog, let alone a group. Look at all the tension on ALL of these leashes. Yikes!! That creates so much physical pressure and stress on them and the handler. Not good each which way.

    IMG_1468.jpeg

  97. neighborhoodie

    I know who this guy is. He looks like Crispin Glover in Willard…but weirder with retro glasses. usually wears a suit.

  98. Furniture Curator

    Yeah, the Crispin Glover “retro” guy walked my dog several times, but so did Gunther (the owner?), as well as two women. Gunther has a pencil-thin mustache. One of the women was really granola, with blond-ish corn-row hair. Gunther was my main dog walker for a long while.

  99. Moron Mike

  100. Satellite

    Interesting…I think to this point, it was generally believed that RDW was a one man show. Didn’t know there were other walkers available via the service.

  101. Mike A., you are an asshole. I am embarrassed that I created you.

  102. The poor entrepreneur had no choice, take money from clients and not perform, while picketing against McDonalds for $15 an hour to flip burgers, and driving a welfare paid for sports car. Welcome to Obama’s world.

  103. Furniture Curator

    I tried calling, and Rocket Dog Walking is out of business, from what I can tell. My old text messages told me who my dog walkers were: Gunther (or Hans Gunther); and Brittany.

    Mostly the dog walker was Gunther. He first showed-up all sweaty on a track bike, with his blue jeans rolled-up. He apologized for being late, and said he was saving up to buy a car. He told me he was an “arborist and tree activist” from the Sierras (okay …). When I asked about his accent, he said he was Swiss. Later, Gunther started driving a sportscar, slicking his blond hair down, and shaving his beard.

  104. Furniture Curator

    Oh yes! I found this flyer for a concert that I never attended. He asked me to come see his band, the “Track Bike Allstars”.

  105. Dog Custodian

    I have only been following this story for the last few days, and hopefully in the future, this forum will have more positive news to share about local businesses! James = RDW, to set the record straight. He did have some assistants or reciprocal agreements with other walkers. To address the misplaced outrage over his choice of ride [Q: does a dog walker NEED to transport dogs? A: depends upon the scope of his agreement with pet parents]: James used to drive an older Jag, which I’m sure was green. If an earlier commenter was correct, a car fire might explain his prettier, newer black Jag. I can’t speculate as to what kind of resources he brought with him to LA, but he is not a kid. Certainly, walking dogs sporadically–on call if their parents need help–and as a mobile profession, one’s self-employed status can easily amount to minimum wage after taxes and expenses. If a walker [not a sitter who accommodates short assignments, last minute calls, and most every schedule under the sun] only takes REGULARLY SCHEDULED clients who work more traditional hours, they might eek out a living on par with waiting tables in a decent establishment. James did have some goals and outside projects in mind, and I sincerely wish him all of the best with those. Upon meeting him with dogs a few times and talking with him, I more and more questioned his judgment when it came to caring for dogs.

    I am in a similar line of work as he was[?], and my priority when it comes to clients’ dogs and homes is keeping everyone and everything safe. DOG WALKING OR PET SITTING IS NOT JUST A WALK IN THE PARK. It’s not easy to do this as a part-time gig during set hours of your choosing unless you work for a well-run business with other sitters/walkers, or unless you’re in such demand or so beloved that your clients will go without help if you’re unavailable!?! It’s a heady responsibility having rings of keys and often lives–not just the potential of a burning UTI or in-house accident–dependent upon your care, and spread over the map. It’s largely a thankless job, aside from working with the animals whom I truly enjoy. Even my best clients occasionally screw up and forget to pay me [yay! my car can run on good intentions in the absence of that gas money I was counting on!], forget to buy enough food or cat litter, or even run out of their pet’s meds, or things go wrong: the lockbox won’t open or the security gate is inoperable. Most people don’t disclose their cameras and recording devices in advance, but I assume they’re there even if I don’t readily see them. Funny how some people will ping me ten minutes after I arrive, no matter the schedule, LIKE CLOCKWORK. Sometimes clients move away without saying goodbye, or worse, don’t tell me that they had to say goodbye to their beloved pet. While I am BLESSED with many wonderful, considerate, and generous clients, often my only knowledge of a job well done is my own. Outside appearances are often EVERYTHING in my capacity as the help, and that’s what I am, no matter my experience, training, or qualifications–the help–doing my best to be respectful of my clients’ privacy, individual values, priorities, and preferences, and balance that with the needs of the dogs in my care. It is often a juggling act: not because I am overbooking or even because I too often put in more time than I am paid for, but because it’s the nature of the job as a pet sitter, where every day is different! [Yes, I’ve briefly considered becoming a dog trainer or behaviorist since I love working with dogs so much. Even in a city FILLED with cherished dogs, I can’t quite fathom making a humble living with enough potential clients who can make the commitment of time and money to the frequency and duration of working with their dogs in order to effect change.]

    The solitary day-to-day life of a pet sitter is filled with different adventures in problem-solving than those stories you hear about the downtown walker who must be a multi-armed Indian deity to stop and pick up dog poo while tethered to 15 INDIVIDUAL dogs of all sizes and temperaments [that walker DEFINITELY has full-control of those perfectly trained canines]; the fun hippies who will hike and beach and play hacky sack or frisbee with a pack of dogs [*apologies to those of you who espouse other theories of dog evolution and behavior and don’t believe in packs, dominant dogs, and definitely not in alpha or momma dog authority]; or the rarer stories of someone who boards in their own home, running a veritable party house for dogs where anything goes–often there’s a reason beyond the potential fun of doggie daycare as to why these dogs can’t be left unsupervised in their own homes. PARTAY!

    This story makes me sad for so many reasons. For James: too bad that things had to happen this way, but at least you didn’t have a dog maul another dog or person. For pet parents who take seriously their animal(s)’ care and now are all the more suspicious of even the most conscientious and responsible pet caregivers. For the opportunist angle in this forum from others just trying to make a living working with pets. It’s not easy to quickly establish credibility and a loyal client base if you are running a small business. I don’t know each commenter’s background but I’m sure it reflects the quibbling, belittling, and ranting [yes, I’m guilty of using this forum to get my two cents in!] among pet people of the larger population. Rescuers, dog sport and dog show people, purebred snobs, “he’s-a-rescue-who-has-endured-so-much-that-I-must-treat-him-like-a-spoiled-child-instead-of-a-dog-who-needs-boundaries-and-training” people, certified dog trainers–some of you who believe that EVER saying “NO” to a dog is but one of many aversive abuses [one can’t debate with someone who believes in absolutes, but I believe in MODERATION and not one-size-fits-all approaches], armchair trainers, dog walkers, and pet sitters: ultimately we all have our stories and our biases, and MOST OF US WANT WHAT’S BEST FOR THE ANIMALS.

    Oh, I forgot the trolls. Nothing like a troll to help people remember not to take themselves too seriously.

    • Look Dog Custodian,

      He nearly killed my dog Chloe. He left her in a car while he went grocery shopping at the gelsons that is miles away from my house. I never authorized him to take my dog anywhere besides for walks in my neighborhood. I would feel like the norm in this situation is that everyone assumes you don’t pick up ones dog and go run errands with them.

      I’m glad his dog service went down the toilet.

  106. I live in DTLA and had this guy over to meet w/ me and my dogs last year. He had dirt all over his face and seemed mentally unstable and I instantly wished my husband was home and that I wasn’t alone with this guy. Not a good vibe. My small dogs jumped on him (as they do everyone) and he awkwardly moved to get them away from him. The whole time he kept saying “can’t you see how much dogs love me?” even though it was obvious he showed no affection or interest whatsoever in them. He launched into a long, very manic story about all his bizarre plans and I cut the meeting short and said goodbye. He texted me for months and when I finally said I found a friend to walk my dogs (I found another professional service, I was trying to be polite) he wrote an aggressive text back about how I should have him, a professional do it. To be frank, he seemed to be mentally ill or on drugs and I would never trust him with keys to my house or to care for my dogs, who are like my children. This story sickens me and please please spread the word so that more animals aren’t neglected or hurt by him.

  107. Hello Dog Custodian: thanks for the comment! Note: we always publish positive news stories about Echo Park businesses, both past stories and future ones. The nature of this one, and the caution it promoted about the dog walking service, just happened to be negative, albeit helpful for readers. Thank you! – EPF

  108. emmajean

    Chloe is very lucky. For those with doubts about the danger of dogs in hot cars:

    http://dogingtonpost.com/6-dogs-reported-stolen-actually-dead-in-dog-walkers-hot-car/#.U32X1Mvn_qB

  109. Pretty sure this business is now calling themselves “Yo! Dogwalker”. Here’s their Yelp:

    http://www.yelp.com/biz/yo-dog-walker-los-angeles

  110. Angeline

    Was just checking up on this thread and wanted to clarify that Yo! Dog Walker (my boyfriend Bob’s company) is NOT Rocket Dog Walking. Martin posted a 1 star review on Yelp accusing him of being the now defunct dog walking company that shall not be named, but had to remove it after realizing his mistake. Just sayin’!

    • Thanks for posting. It’s good for people to begin to question dog walking services around the neighborhood, but it’s a double edged sword when services start to be wrongly accused. We’d be happy to help Yo! Dog Walking wade through the suspicion through a sort of Q and A about him and his company. Let us know if interested. You can contact us via the contact form. Thank you – EPF

  111. lorraine d'amico

    Heidi, please contact me if you can give me info on how I can do this, too. I lived In la and had an emergency and was almost arrested for taking my $2000 Chihuahua into the shower with me at path( PEOPLE ASSISTING THE HOMELESS) . I am trying to find out how to help people who are discriminated when they need help the most only because they are pet owner’s whom do not leave their family member behind. a homeless person without a car and a dog is the most vulnerable. they have one option to travel, by foot. this often means that they are not able to go to winter emergency shelters that bus people to location just for the night. please call me at your earliest convenience. 330.951.3141

    • Hello Lorraine,

      Thank you for your comment. I am not sure Heidi will be notified of this message, so we will message her via the website to let her know that someone has asked her a question.

      Thank you,
      Echo Park Forums

  112. This guy is back. I live in the Los Feliz Oaks and he’s been park on Van Ness on the corner of Foothill since this morning. Same car, camping gear in the car with dogs in the car. I drove past him 3 times within 5 minutes to check him out and on the third time he must of been worried because he took one of the dog out. I also noticed that new flyers are up but under a different name. I looked up his name online because someone posted his name. It is 100% the same person. Couple of dogs in the car. I drove by him at 9:50 am today and he is still there at the moment ( it’s 12:30 pm )

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