An entrepreneur is giving busy dog owners the chance to accompany their pets on their walk – from the comfort of their own home.
Jason Hamilton, owner of Duke’s Dog Walking, live-streams his dog walks to give people the chance to keep an eye on their beloved pets.
The Arbroath man, who is a newcomer to the industry, said the inspiration came to him while he was enjoying the outdoors.
He said: “I’ve seen lots of guys with motorbikes and quad-bikes and that who video what they’re doing with their phones or GoPros, and I thought to myself: ‘Why don’t I do that with the dogs?’
“I had a look around to see if there were any apps which I could use to live-stream the walks, and there were, so I set it up in a way which allowed my customers to see how their pets are getting looked after.
“It’s also great for security, because they can see that I’ve locked all their doors and windows and everything when I pick up their dogs or drop them off.
“It also gives me peace of mind because I know that if anything happens while we’re out on the walk it’s there for everyone to see, so like if one of the dogs was to get attacked by another dog or any sort of crime happened, we’d have evidence of it.”
The entrepreneur first started his business in October after spending the first lockdown looking after people’s dogs.
The 37-year-old, who also works as the manager of a kilt shop in Dundee, said: “Over the last lockdown I was working from home, so I had a lot of free time and I wanted to do something.
“I ended up looking after some of my neighbour’s dogs and it was nice to be able to go out for a walk with their company.
“I’ve always loved dogs. We’ve had our family dog for eight years.”
Despite only starting up recently, Jason’s business has shot up in popularity dramatically.
In just a month, the dog walker has gathered 800 followers on Instagram and is quickly gaining new customers.
He said: “I’m still quite new, so I only have about 15 regular customers, but I’m doing contactless consultations right now, where people can apply through an email form.
“I’m also doing socially- distanced meetings in parks so that I can get a chance to see the dog and the owner for five or 10 minutes, just to get an idea of what they’re like.”
Jason’s live-stream idea has already attracted attention from like-minded petsitters across the globe.
He said: “I actually got a message from a guy in Italy, he was originally from Inverness, asking what my set up was, what apps I use, that kind of thing.
“I have all the live-streams locked behind a password, so people can’t see them unless they have the code, but if they’re attracting attention then that’s good.”
“It’s not that I’m trying to make it more modern or anything, it just gives our owners a bit of reassurance, which I think is great.”