Norwich dog walking company scoops top UK award
PUBLISHED: 17:07 24 October 2018 | UPDATED: 10:19 25 October 2018
Tom & Toto
Sarah Wright of Norwich dog walking company Tom & Toto swapped spotting lions in Africa for walking Norfolk's dogs
Sarah Wright of Norwich dog walking company Tom & Toto swapped spotting lions in Africa for walking Norfolk’s dogs
From tracking lions across the African plains to walking packs of dogs in Norwich’s Earlham Park, Sarah Wright loves the change of direction in her career.
The 35-year-old director of Norwich based Tom & Toto has scooped the top prize for the best dog walking service in the country at the recent UK Dog Friendly Awards.
Faced with a lack of professional animal based roles Sarah set up a pet care company to enable her to continue working within the industry but to improve and advance its standards when she returned to her home county of Norfolk six years ago.
Highlights of her career so far have included working as a safari guide leading groups spotting lions, elephants, buffalo and leopards in the Kruger National Park.
Three years later she joined Woburn Safari Park in Bedfordshire as a big cat keeper, where she was responsible for looking after Canadian timber wolves, American black bears, tigers and lions.
It was upon a return to Africa on holiday, Sarah planned to set up a business called Tom & Toto inspired by Dorothy’s quote in the Wizard of Oz - “there is no place like home.”
Sarah wanted her clients to be reassured while they were away on holiday or on business trips that their pet was safe and secure at home.
Now the company offers single and group dog walks, doggy day care and house sitting services and cares for all pet species including cats, rabbits and chickens.
Sarah, who runs her business alongside raising her two daughters 11-month Rose and three-year-old Maggie, sees many similarities between the dogs her team care for and other carnivores.
“What I like about lions and dogs is that they are all so individual and you really get to know their unique personality characteristics and their little quirks. You establish a relationship with each one.”
Sarah is very grateful for the support of her clients, who voted online and wrote reviews to secure first place against more than 90 companies across the UK.
“My pet care team are amazing and a credit to the company. They take fantastic care of the dogs and the dogs love to have a good run around with any of them,” said Mrs Wright.
Ros Norman, whose Labrador Oscar is regularly taken for walks by the Tom & Toto staff, said:
“They are true animal lovers on every level. They are totally professional and take the very best care of our pets. Nothing is ever too much trouble and their photo and message feedbacks if walks are so reassuring and heart-warming.”
Sarah’s top tips for a great dog walk are:
1. Make sure you use the right equipment for your dog’s build, age and behaviour
(puppies should be walked wearing a harness not a collar so they don’t damage their delicate necks. Very strong dogs should not wear slips leads for the same reason).
2. Take high value treats. Not their usual kibble or a dry treat, take something delicious like hard cheese cubes or liver. This will ensure a perfect recall!
3. Let them sniff. ‘Sniffaris’ are great for mental stimulation.
4. Mix it up: vary the location; woods, fields, marshes. The same walk will get boring for both you and your dog.
5. Let your dog socialise. If your dog would like to, then give them some off lead time to play with other dogs. It means more exercise for them. Off lead time also builds trust in your relationship.
To find out more about Tom & Toto visit https://tomandtoto.co.uk/