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Fetch & Follow Stories | Serena, Frankie and Stan | Lead The Walk

We first had the pleasure of meeting Serena from Lead the Walk when we first started Fetch & Follow back in our Netil Market days. We have since collaborated together on two special capsule collections themed around camo print. Since then Serena has gone on to train as a dog groomer and can be found cutting and styling dog's hair to perfection around the East London area (including the Fetch & Follow pups George and Frank.)

We spoke to Serena about how her French Bulldog Frankie and Staffie Stan helped her to switch her career path to focus on all things dog and start her brand Lead the Walk.

Tell us about Frankie & Stan and how they both came into your life

Frankie is a 6 year old French Bulldog who we’ve had since a pup. She has a very serious and protective nature, nevertheless she can be incredibly affectionate. Stanley is an elderly Staffordshire Bull Terrier. He came into our lives just over 2 years ago through a rescue charity. The more we learned about dogs and their welfare, the more we wanted to give a home to a dog that needed one. Stanley is a lovable and comedic character with a unique swagger.

How did owning a dog inspire you to start your own business

When Frankie was 6 months old, I spent hours trawling the internet looking for a well made, reasonably priced winter coat that would fit her short, broad chested little body. During my search, I found many well designed products from small independent businesses scattered around the world. I thought why not bring these little brands altogether so that people like me could shop great dog accessories with ease. Since launching our dog accessories business, Ive retrained as a dog groomer and now offer pet parents in East London an alternative to the traditional dog grooming salon experience.

How do the dogs fit into your general day working?

Frankie and Stanley get their first walk of the day before my first grooming client arrives in the morning. At lunchtime, Frankie goes out with her friends for an hour whilst Stanley joins me for our daily trip to the local post office to dispatch online orders. After my afternoon grooming session, Stanley, a former street dog, has a good pavement walk around the local neighbour. Frankie is keen to get back into the park in the afternoon to chase squirrels, chew sticks and play with her many friends.

When you’re not working where do you and the dogs like to hang out?

We spend much of our time in Victoria Park. In warmer weather, we enjoy walks around Mile End Cemetery Park. The shaded paths are ideal for both dogs. Occasionally we take ourselves off to Epping Forest or on special occasions the East Yorkshire coast.

What essentials do you always have on you when heading out for a dog walk and what do you carry them in?

I’ve always got pockets full of poop bags and usually take a bag containing water, a bowl and Frankie’s favourite frisbee, which is useful when needing to distract her attention quickly. I prefer a rucksack to a tote so I can have both hands free and not have to worry about it slipping off my shoulder.

What adventures do you have planned for the rest of the year?

Frankie enjoys getting muddy and loves exploring new places. Stanley is more sedate. A cottage in the country or a trip along the Norfolk broads would allow us to keep them both happy.

You can follow Serena, Frankie and Stan's adventures together on the Lead the Walk instagram page

 

Fetch & Follow Stories | Samantha & Bill Murray

We first met Samantha and her cheeky side kick Bill Murray when we were based in Netil Market. This character filled Miniature Dachshund instantly stole our hearts, so much so he has actually featured in one of our Fetch & Follow photoshoots.

We spoke to Samantha about how becoming a Freelancer enabled her to welcome a dog into her life and how Bill Murray has become her much loved studio assistant

Tell us about Bill and how he came into your life

4 and a half years ago I made the huge decision to leap into the unsecured world of Freelance Styling. It was the usual story of not being particularly happy in my role and craving a little more creative freedom, however a Bill Murray was also a vital part of my decision. Since moving to London from a small town in Yorkshire, I thought a lot about having a dog to care for and give me that much needed companionship only an animal is capable of. And so, the morning of my first freelance day was dedicated to finding my little pal. All of the research had been done and I knew that a Miniature Dachshund was the only dog for me, I came across an advertisement for some dappled puppies and after a VERY thorough vetting from the breeder my choice was made.Home came the tiny Bill Murray that has rarely been a metre away from my feet ever since.

 How does Bill fit into your general day working?

We spend our days in my Photography Studio – Light Project Photography, where Bill Murray gets love from everywhere – my business partner, clients, delivery drivers (he is especially a huge fan of the UPS lady who has a constant supply of treats in her pocket) and anyone else he encounters in the corridors. Photography Studios are the only working environment that Bill has known and thus he spends most of his days napping or running around inspecting everything is in order. His curiosity and search for attention means he has popped up in many shots over the years, and he is always on hand to snuggle down on a blanket I am prepping to shoot - mid-fold of course.

When you’re not working where do you and Bill like to hang out?

Outside of work we can generally be found in either Clissold Park or by the sea – actually, mostly by the sea. Although not at all a fan of water, Bill Murray is at his happiest when running along a damp sandy beach or munching on a sneaky chip from my boyfriend.

We also have a strong list of local, dog-friendly pubs and restaurants where Bill can be found curled up like a cat and sleeping the time away. Some of our favourites are The Shakespeare - Stoke Newington, Dark Arts - Homerton and Climpson & Sons - Broadway Market

What essentials do you always have on you when heading out for a dog walk and what do you carry them in?

Since getting Bill Murray, I have become a big fan of the humble pocket. Due to his sausage nature, we discourage him from jumping on to things and walking up and down stairs, so have had to learn to always have a free pair of hands for lifting. This only ever becomes a problem after his routine fox poo rolling in the Park.

Mine and Bill’s dog essentials are - most importantly, Poo Bags / fresh refillable water bottle / flannel for belly and paw cleaning / camera, which incidentally Bill has learnt to run away from and plenty of TREATS! 

What adventures do you and Bill have planned for the rest of the year?

We plan for this to be the year of Kent / Sussex Coast adventures. So far, we have visited Margate, Whitstable and Hastings and intend on doing plenty of walks along the cliffs between towns as many of the beaches are declared dog free between May and September. Bill loves a Fish and Chip lunch stop but am sure all of the walking means the odd chip he manages to steal will not increase his waist size too much.

You can follow Samantha and Bill Murray's adventure together through their instagram pages

Walk and Talk Series | Winter Grooming Tips

Last Sunday we held our February Fetch & Follow walk around east London's Victoria Park, joined by expert groomer Serena from Lead the Walk. While the dogs played we discussed all things grooming related.
Below are Serena's Top Tips for keeping your dogs fur looking its best during the winters months.
  • Before washing your dog, make sure that you’ve de-matted their coat first, as mats will tighten when immersed in water, making them more difficult to remove afterwards.

  • Dried sleep and gunk is easier to remove from the corner of your dogs eye when wet. Instead of trying to remove when dry or resorting to scissors, gently run a little warm water from a shower head over your dogs muzzle or use a moist cotton wool pad to soften the gunk. Once wet, gently and slowly use your finger or a clean damp face cloth to remove the offending gunk.

  • With any new puppy, get them used to you touching their legs, feet and tail, as well as standing on a table and running your fingers between their teeth and gums. This will benefit you, your groomer and your vet as your puppy gets older as they will not find this activity unusual or frightening.

  • When using eye and ear wipes, make sure you use a separate wipe for each side even if the wipe appears clean to avoid transferring bacteria from one to the other.

  • Feed your dog the best quality dog food you can afford as this will not only improve their digestion and overall health but improve the condition their skin and coat too.