Rescuing a dog from a shelter can be a daunting concept for some. They’ll assume rescues are scruffy mutts that are hard to train and always need time to adjust to family life.
By, 15 Oct 2019
But Kimberly Marie Freeman knows this is simply not true. That’s why she’s spent most of her professional life working to break the stereotypes built by society around rescue pooches.
Destined for dogs
Kimberly has had dogs her entire life. In fact, it’s when she was looking for a walker for her dog while at University that she came up with the idea of setting up her very own dog-walking business. Within a few short years, her idea became the biggest dog-walking business on the East side of Scotland.
But when Kimberly was accepted into drama school and moved to New York, USA, she found herself facing all sorts of different issues than needing a walker for her dog.
“I realised that I didn’t know what to do with my dog in the city. I was now living in this really big, crazy city…and I was very overwhelmed. New York especially is very different from Europe, you can’t take your dogs into restaurants or bars, in public transport you need to put them in a bag. I became very stuck. I wasn’t sure how to live my life with a dog because I’d been brought up in a very different lifestyle,” Kimberly told Wamiz.
So that’s when Kimberly started blogging about her city dog experiences, and her new chapter in dog adventures began. She realised every urban dog owner faced these problems – and needed help in solving them!
When describing her City Dog Expert blog, Kimberly said:
“It’s really tailored for people that live in small spaces, that don’t have access to gardens, that have to deal with public transport, have to deal with lots of people, in close proximity to other dogs, that kind of thing…that’s what it’s about basically. Urban dogs, and the issues we have as urban dog owners. It’s a solutions resource!”
Her online tips on products, resources, and training methods tailored especially for city dog owners was enormously successful, and today, Kimberly is Europe’s number 1 city dog blogger.
“It’s one of those stories where you never thought you’d end up doing that, and then things magically happen,” she said with a smile.
Dog mum first…
Kimberly owns an amazing 5 dogs in her London city apartment! Though to us it seems like quite a feat, Kimberly begs to differ:
“Oh it’s easy!” she says, laughing, “I think once you’re past two, it’s really easy, so don’t worry.”
Kimberly’s beloved rescue pets (3 Pomeranians, 1 Pom-Chi, and 1 Saluki), are not only 'models’ for the many training methods and products Kimberly tries, but they are also significant social media influencers and advocates for their true breeds – rescue.
“I work extra hard to make sure they’re very well trained, that they’re photographic, that they look nice, they’re not scruffy, that they are doing therapy dog work, to show people that this is how amazing rescues are,” Kimberly says proudly.
…rescue advocate second
From the time she was a little girl, the only dogs Kimberly ever had were rescues. All her life, she’s volunteered and worked with rescues (whether in the States or in the UK)! She owns rescue dogs and fosters rescues too. To top it all off, she uses her notoriety as a popular pet blogger to advocate for rescue!
Being the rescue expert (in our opinion) that she is, we asked her what top 3 tips she would give to anyone looking to adopt a dog. And in prejudice-breaking style, she gave us top-notch answers that everyone needs to read if they’re thinking of getting a dog.
1. Have a little bit of patience
“Work closely with your local rescue groups. Look outside of London (or whichever city you’re in) too! This is something that always stupefies me – say someone wants a pedigree Chihuahua from a certain breeder. They’ll travel 4 or 5 hours to go to that breeder, whose list they’ve been on for, sometimes years, in order to get a particular dog. Whereas when it comes to rescuing, they’re not prepared to wait a few months for the right dog to come along."
"I think it’s very important that people are patient with the process, and understand that you can get pedigree dogs in rescues, you can get puppies, you can get dogs that perfectly match your lifestyle, if you cooperate with rescue groups and let them know that you’re looking. Because if you wake up one day and say ‘oh, I want to get a Chihuahua’, you’ll look on a few rescue groups and say, ‘no there’s no 8-week-old Chihuahuas on there this week, I’m just going to buy a dog’. I think that’s the wrong stance to have in owning any dog, whether it’s rescue or pedigree. If you’re looking to buy a Chihuahua from a breeder, you want to go to the top breeder that’s done all the health checks, that does the temperament tests, etc., and that is not going to be an overnight thing."
"So while you’re sitting on that breeder’s list for 8/10 months, you could be looking at rescues. And 8-week-old Chihuahuas come up!”
2. The training element is very important
“Understand that people want your dog to fail. Some breeders want your dog to fail because they want to encourage breeding…people generally want rescues to not do well. I think it’s very important that we use all rescue dogs to break down that stereotype. I tell all my clients ‘your dog’s a rescue dog? I want your dog better trained than any other dog in this class.’ That’s the reason I’m very passionate about how my dogs behave in public. Because they are advocates for rescues.”
3. Don’t hold on too much to their past
“Most rescue dogs thankfully, don’t have really sad sob stories. They were [probably] in a situation whereby someone was allergic to the dog, or someone moved, or someone split up from their family and the dog sadly had to be rehomed. They’re not all rescued from puppy mills or anything like that. So try to see the dog as an individual and look at what you have in front of you rather than just focusing on its past. Because I think that can lead to a lot of trauma and it also allows us as owners to let the dog get away with a lot of things that it probably shouldn’t get away with…some dogs do have a lot of trauma, absolutely, but a dog that has been in a loving home is a dog that you can get over that particular situation and work on.”
Kimberly is truly eye-opening when it comes to city dog ownership and rescuing dogs. She taught us things that we hadn’t thought of before. So next time you’re thinking of getting a dog, why not check out her blog and social media pages for a little inspiration?