Group dog ad­ven­tures take off

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - DASHA KU­PRIENKO

‘‘It's awe­some be­cause quite of­ten I go on mis­sions through the bush with them and they are lov­ing it.’’

Some peo­ple dream of spend­ing their days go­ing on ad­ven­tures with dogs. Queen­stown’s Nikki Cameron does it for liv­ing.

The ex­pe­ri­enced out­door in­struc­tor and qual­i­fied pho­tog­ra­pher com­bines her skills with love for pooches in her Ad­ven­ture Dog busi­ness.

The busi­ness took off three years ago when Cameron walked a few dogs and posted pro­fes­sional photos of the pooches on so­cial me­dia for own­ers.

‘‘The own­ers love to get home and see that their dog has been out for the day.’’

Af­ter three weeks of tak­ing dogs on ad­ven­tures part-time, Cameron quit film­mak­ing study to keep up with the dog­gie de­mand.

She usu­ally takes groups of four to six dogs to off-track moun­tain climbs, river walks or hikes through the bush in the Queen­stown area.

‘‘It’s awe­some be­cause quite of­ten I go on mis­sions through the bush with them and they are lov­ing it.’’

She says the dog own­ers pri­ori­tise their dogs’ hap­pi­ness and saw it as more than ex­er­cise but an op­por­tu­nity to al­low dogs to so­cialise in an out­doors en­vi­ron­ment.

‘‘We ex­pect them to know how to be­have but they are dogs. This is their chance to hang out.

‘‘One or two days a week they just get to be what they are,’’ Cameron said.

Play­ing with other dogs and go­ing on ad­ven­tures to­gether led to ’’huge changes’’ in some dogs’ per­son­al­i­ties .

Over time some dogs had be­come bet­ter so­cialised with other dogs and hu­mans too.

Cameron pre­ferred to work with friendly dogs whose own­ers were in Queen­stown long term, so she could get to know them.

‘‘I like to think of Ad­ven­ture Dogs be­ing a lit­tle fam­ily be­cause me and the own­ers of the dogs are re­ally quite tight and I want to keep it that way.’’

The busi­ness has reached its ca­pac­ity but Cameron didn’t want to ex­pand or fran­chise.

‘‘I don’t care about the money. Where’s the soul in that? I’ve got enough money to pay my rent,’’ she said.

Cameron takes dogs on ad­ven­tures on morn­ings and af­ter­noons five days a week.

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