IVINS —From dog walking to dog hikes, one woman has started a new business that’s helping dogs get the exercise they crave without their owners leaving their house.
Phae Sunday, the owner of Phae’s Pack, said she moved from Las Vegas to Southern Utah through her career in juvenile detention in 2012. She quickly fell in love with the area and felt she was ready to take the vulnerable leap into owning a business of her own.
“I just love it here,” Sunday said. “I love the people. What’s not to love about St. George, really?”
During different fields of employment, Phae said she found herself unhappy with the level of customer service the businesses provided as well as the mistreatment of employees. She dreamt of owning her own business but wasn’t sure if it was obtainable. With her love of animals, she adopted a Belgian Malinois – a strong-willed dog often used as a police K9 dog and commonly mistaken for a German Shepherd.
“They’re probably not the best dog for a first-time dog owner, because they’re challenging,” Sunday said. “But they’re also amazing dogs.”
With a trip planned out of town, Sunday said she took her dog to a boarding facility in Washington County. When she entered the facility to pick him up, her dog was emaciated so badly that she could see his ribs.
“He was mistreated 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 leash him. I’m looking at my dog’s body language and I’m saying, ‘whatever you went through, you’re never going to have to go through it again.’”
She decided she would never take her dog to a boarding facility again. Knowing her dog was the most comfortable at 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 just quit my job and was like, I’m doing me,” Sunday said. “It’s been challenging, exciting, you have to take all your eggs in one basket and bet on yourself, and that’s what I did.”
Phae’s Pack started as an official business one year ago. Clients can choose from a variety of services such as dog walking, animal sitting for both dogs and cats and even dog hiking. Hikes include anything from an easy stroll to rockier landscapes, and Phae provides dog booties for each dog in order to protect their feet from various elements.
“The more active dogs are, the less they destroy the owner’s property,” Sunday said. “They love having jobs, a routine and being outside. Dogs should be receiving no less than one hour of exercise per day in order to ensure the dog is happy and healthy.”
Phae’s Pack is licensed, bonded and insured, which she said is just one of the inclusions in her business that give owners peace of mind. While dog walking may seem like a simple enough task to be assigned to a child or a neighbor, many fail to realize the unforeseen and sometimes tragic risk factors that exist. From a stray dog encounter to bunnies hopping down the road, it only takes one second for a dog to change its unpredictable mood, which can make the situation dangerous for all parties.
“If you’re uninsured and that dog is attacked or injured, that’s it,” she said. “If in the event that happens with me, my client is completely reimbursed for medical fees.”
With safety in mind, Phae said she carries a whistle with her at all times, which can startle dogs and snap them out of a distracted trance such as aggression or even excitement. A dog tracker is provided, which allows clients to see where their dog is at all times and where they are being walked via a mobile app.
She wears a camera around her neck to protect herself and the client while walking their dogs and entering their homes. In the event a stray or wild animal approaches, she also carries pepper spray and a stun gun as a last resort.
Phae said she uses top-of-the-line Biothane leashes and is equipped with dog first aid kits, harnesses, snacks and individual water bowls for each dog.
“These are things I went out of my way to add because everything is safety 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 animal sitting services while owners are away from home, giving them comfort in knowing they are well taken care of. Sitting services include Sunday going into the home every morning to feed the dog and take it on a 45-minute walk. She comes back in the afternoon and takes them on another walk, then a final time at night to feed them and walk them. Clients can also choose to have their dogs taken on a full hike, jog, or simply let outside for playtime.
“They’re very intelligent, so I’m trying to get the dogs out of the house and not be on the couch so much or just laying around,” she said. “Getting them out and active is where they thrive.”
As for future goals, Sunday said her dream is to build a boarding facility unlike anything that currently exists in Washington County. She envisions owners will drop their dogs off with active, energetic people who will take the dogs out hiking while also providing a safe and secure place of trust.
For more information on Phae’s Pack services along with pricing, visit the website or call Phae directly at 435-313-5654.
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