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Bark and Clark's Downtown Dog Walk

By David Markland
Published: Thursday, December 02, 2010, at 02:09PM
IMG_2767 David Markland [Flickr]

Bark and Clark's Tamara Clark in her trademark purple uniform.

Following ten years of working in human resources, Tamara Clark decided to escape office life and concentrate on her love of dogs.

After starting out picking up gigs walking and training dogs in Pasadena, Clark finally decided to eliminate the commute and begin her own pet care business catering to people with dogs near her home in Downtown. In October 2009, Bark and Clark was born.

While Clark doesn’t have a dog of her own, she spends enough of her time walking dogs for a living that she put together a number of dog walk maps centered on different Downtown neighborhoods. Broken down into thirty minute to one hour walks, the maps highlight perfect places for potty breaks.

“I wanted to give a variety of walk options for people looking for routes,” she says. “All of them are my favorites either because of the grass space or the sites you see along the way.”

She provides the maps free on her website, which also includes a blog about pet friendly events, holiday safety tips for dogs and general observations of Downtown.

Clark isn’t too concerned about Downtown’s lack of dog parks. “They encourage bad habits,” she says, adding that most dogs aren’t properly socialized, and that dog parks tend to be too small.

Instead of a dog park, she suggests owners use a long leash and take their dogs to the Cornfields or venture to another larger park on the outskirts of Downtown.

Regardless, she wouldn’t steer anyone from adopting a dog or moving to Downtown if they have one already. She points to the number of dogs in New York City, which has crowded sidewalks and is much less accessible than the streets of Downtown Los Angeles.

“I think Downtown is becoming a dog-friendly city,” she says. For people with dogs looking to move Downtown, Clark advises looking for “potty spots close to your building and find out how many other dogs live in the building. It is also very important to find out if there are any aggressive dogs that live on your floor or even in the building, but that goes for any dog owner, not just those that live Downtown.”

As for living conditions in a loft or apartment, Clark says, “Make sure your dog has their own space. No matter how small your space is, you can give your dog a little piece of it. It can be as simple as a bed or a crate, but your dog needs somewhere to call their own.”

On December 8th, Clark will lead a Holiday Pooch Parade, where dog owners will learn dog obedience tips while strolling along a path filled with holiday lights.

“There are tons of tips on how to best handle your pooch in different city-specific situations,” Clark says about some of what guests will learn. “The whole session is a fantastic Q&A. Honestly, the guests could fill the whole walk themselves with all of their questions.”

The walk ends with snacks and socializing. Reservations are required, and cost is $40 per dog.

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