IVINS —From dog walking to hiking with dogs, a woman has started a new business that helps dogs get the exercise they need without their owners leaving their homes.
Phae Sunday, the owner of Phae’s Pack, said she moved from Las Vegas to southern Utah during her career in juvenile detention in 2012. She quickly fell in love with the area and fell in love with it. felt ready to take the vulnerable step to own a business of her own.
“I love it here,” Sunday said. ” I like people. What’s not to love about St. George, really?
In different areas of employment, Phae said she was unhappy with the level of customer service provided by companies as well as the mistreatment of employees. She dreamed of owning her own business, but wasn’t sure if it was possible. With his love of animals, she adopted a belgian malinois – a willful dog often used as a K9 police dog and often mistaken for a German Shepherd.
“They’re probably not the best dog for a first-time dog owner because they’re picky,” Sunday said. “But they are also amazing dogs.”
With a trip planned out of town, Sunday said she took her dog to a boarding house in Washington County. When she entered the facility to retrieve it, her dog was so emaciated she could see his ribs.
“He was abused while he was there,” Sunday said. “I don’t know what happened to him, but he literally started shaking when the man came out to hold him on a leash. I look at my dog’s body language and say, “Whatever you’ve been through, you’ll never have to go through it again.”
She decided she would never take her dog to boarding again. Knowing that her dog was most comfortable in the home, she felt inspired to start a business that would provide quality care and peace of mind while other dog owners were away.
“I literally quit my job and thought I was getting it,” Sunday said. “It was difficult, exciting, you have to put all your eggs in one basket and bet on yourself, and that’s what I did.”
Phae’s Pack started as an official company a year ago. Guests can choose from a variety of services such as dog walking, pet sitting for dogs and cats, and even dog hiking. The hikes include everything from an easy walk to more rocky landscapes, and Phae provides booties for each dog to protect their feet from various elements.
“The more active the dogs are, the less they destroy the owner’s property,” Sunday said. “They like having jobs, a routine and being outdoors. Dogs should be given at least an hour of exercise daily to ensure that the dog is happy and healthy.
Phae’s Pack is licensed, bonded and insured, which she says is just one of her company’s inclusions that give owners peace of mind. While walking a dog may seem like a simple enough task to assign to a child or neighbor, many don’t realize the unforeseen and sometimes tragic risk factors that exist. From an encounter with a stray dog to bunnies hopping on the road, it only takes a second for a dog to change its unpredictable mood, which can make for a dangerous situation for all parties.
“If you’re uninsured and that dog is attacked or injured, that’s it,” she said. “If in the event that this happens to me, my client is fully reimbursed for medical expenses.”
For safety, Phae said she carries a whistle with her at all times, which can scare dogs out of a distracted trance such as aggression or even excitement. A dog tracker is provided, which allows customers to see where their dog is at all times and where it is being walked via a mobile app.
She wears a camera around her neck to protect herself and the client when walking her dogs and entering her home. In the event that a stray or wild animal approaches, she also carries pepper spray and a stun gun as a last resort.
Phae said she uses high-end Biothane leashes and is equipped with dog first aid kits, harnesses, snacks and individual water bowls for each dog.
“These are things I’ve done my best to add because it’s all safe for me and I want my clients to know that I’m taking every precaution to keep their dog safe,” Sunday said.
Phae’s Pack offers pet sitting services while owners are away from home, giving them the comfort of knowing they are being well taken care of. Childcare services include going home every morning on Sundays to feed the dog and taking him for a 45 minute walk. She returns in the afternoon and takes them for another walk, then one last time at night to feed and walk them. Customers can also choose to take their dogs on a full hike, jog, or just leave them outside to play.
“They’re very smart, so I try to get the dogs out of the house and not be on the couch too much or just laying around,” she said. “Getting them out and being active is where they thrive.”
As for future goals, Sunday said his dream is to build a boarding school unlike anything that currently exists in Washington County. She envisions owners dropping off their dogs with active, energetic people who will take the dogs on hikes while providing a safe and secure place of trust.
For more information on Phae’s Pack services and prices, visit the website or call Phae directly at 435-313-5654.
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