Emmanuel Mutura Wambara is the founder of Dog Walkers Kenya, the first Kenyan registered dog walking business.
The company targets the high-end market and it offers among other services dog walking, pet-sitting and grooming.
Founded in 2020, Dog Walkers Kenya has also been badged by several embassies to walk their diplomats dogs.
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Here is their story as told by WoK.
In an interview with WoK, Emmanuel noted that he ventured into the dog walking business after working as a kennel volunteer at TNR Trust, a non-governmental organization.
His journey with TNR began when he rescued a neighbours dog which was living in an unfavourable environment and in poor condition.
He reached out to Dog Lovers of Kenya where he got assistance and got referred to TNR where he showed interest to be a kennel hand volunteer.
While volunteering at TNR, he acquired skills such as grooming, training and walking dogs and therefore saw an opportunity to start his own company.
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Emmanuel stated that the business was initially his side-hustle before he decided to focus on it fully.
“A high school student who was also volunteering there and we had become friends gave me the idea of walking dogs as a side hustle
“I had actually never thought of it before. So I made an Instagram and Facebook page and got my 1st client after 2 months which was around end of August 2020,” he said.
Since establishing his business, Emmanuel has employed three people who help him run the company.
He also explained that his team members are qualified and properly trained to offer pet care among other services.
“Two of my team members have volunteered at TBR Trust and gotten recommendation letters from the TNR director
“And one of my member I personally trained whereby she would accompany me on several walks and also handle the dogs in some occasions for a period of 2 months,” he said.
Emmanuel who owns the company fully attributed the growth of his company to strong work ethic and professionalism.
He explained that his team members have a good conduct which is sent to the client alongside the recommendation giving them a sense of closure.
“…this is not like an uber where you request and we come walk your dog and you’ll never see us again. Each of us has a daily program whereby everyday at a specific time we are at someone’s house with their dog and in case we are late we let the client know
“In regards to pet-sitting, we have a contract the client and us sign. We regularly send pictures and videos to the client of how the dog is doing which makes them very happy seeing the dog fairing well without them around,” he said.
Emmanuel cited transportation as their major challenge especially when moving from house to house.
In a bid to better their services and avoid inconveniences he acquired a vehicle to move around.
“Most times, you get delayed and have to keep informing the client that you’ll be late. Also, it’s very tiring considering you have to walk several times to the bus stop
“Last year October, I was able to acquire a vehicle(650cc Daihatsu Mira) after much saving and its made my life easier. Am able to keep time and also save lots of time and energy,” Emmanuel said.
Another challenge is working with clients who don’t give a full history and habits of the dog.
“For example, a client of mine who hadn’t informed me that there only that only her and her husband can harness one of their dogs called Steve. I learnt this the hard way whereby I went to harness him and he attacked me and almost ripped out my hand
“After this scenario and many other situations, when doing an introduction with new clients, we find out all information regarding the dog even the smallest detail,” he said.
Another challenge is delayed payment.
“We’ve mostly had this problem with politicians and we therefore decided to draw up fog walking contract which clients sign before we begin the job,” he concluded.
The company charges between Ksh 1,000 to Ksh 2,000 per hour for dog walking and Ksh 1,000 per hour for pet-sitting if its more than one hour.
Overnight pet-sitting is Ksh 3,000 to Ksh 5,000 per night while full grooming for grooms ranges from Ksh 3,500 to Ksh 4,500.
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