We took a ride up Fernbank Road this week to visit Barkwood Forest, the home of Boogity Dog Walking service. We had heard from many about this safe location for leash-free dog walks and wanted to find out more. Who better to investigate the trails, than our own two dogs!
Heidi and Kevin Johnstone moved to Stittsville in 2008. Heidi, because of her love of dogs, started the dog-walking business Boogity (http://boogity.ca) in 2010. The couple both knew there was a need and a niche for an off-leash dog park in Stittsville. The opportunity arose to have such a dog park when Kevin, driving around the local countryside, found the perfect spot to open Barkwood Forest – Fernbank Road at the Jinkinson sideroad.
We met Kevin at the gate. With introductions over, maps read, we headed to the trails that cover the 100 acre property. Along the way, Kevin told us that “having been in Dunrobin for four years with their dog-walking business – after convincing a tree farmer to let the dogs roam between the trees – the farmer realized this could be a business opportunity for himself and started to bring in other dog walkers”. “With these new dogs lacking in social training, it was time to look elsewhere for a new Boogity home” added Kevin.
Kevin had worked in HR for IT for years, but recently “retired” to take over as the resident forestry expert of Barkwood. He has cut the brush for the trails and just this past week cut out another trail in the fenced training area. The couple rent the farm property and have put a lot of work into preparing the site to make it a safe and exploratory place for dogs with the entire 100 acres ensconced in fencing. There are trails bearing dog breed names, water stations, a rinsing station for those muddy days and the property has been sectioned into two – welcoming paths for unleashed walks being one and the other a smaller fenced-in area of paths used for training purposes.
Each dog is personally assessed for its temperament, size and energy level at the ‘Open House’ walk prior to being accepted as a member. The staff will work with dogs after their initial walk and acceptance to the group to increase their social skill potential, reliable response to hearing their name, along with consistency training in the fenced in area.
When a member of Boogity, and should you choose this service, your dog will receive personal round-trip transportation from your house to Barkwood and return. They now cater to Stittsville, Kanata, Carleton Place and Barrhaven. A member of the dedicated staff will lead the ‘pack walks’ of a small group of dogs along the trails for their off-leash adventure. You can be assured that your dog is in good hands when they head off to meet their friends at Barkwood — each staff member is certified and trained in CPR, are bonded and insured. While out for the tour, we ran into staff member Lisa with her pack walk group. Our dogs, being of good temperament, blended right in and were hard to discern among the group.
It is comforting to dog owners to know that they are introducing their dogs to an off-leash atmosphere that is fun, but more importantly that all of the dogs have been screened by staff for their social skills and all staff at Boogity are highly qualified to do their job. Boogity can now proudly state that they are one of the largest safe dog-walking businesses in the area.
Something new at Boogity – Individuals who want to walk their own dogs at Barkwood Forest can join as a member. Of course your dog would be assessed for temperament, but once allowed, you and your dog can enjoy the many trails along with the other friendly dogs.
Boogity Dog Walking is truly an impressive location and business — one well worth considering when looking for an adventure for your dog (and owners too).
According to Statistics Canada – In 2017, Canadians spent over $8.2 billion on pet related items and 32% of all Canadians own dogs. From this $8 billion, $4.7 is spent on pets and their food, with over $3 billion being spent on veterinarian costs and other pet services. Canada is home to roughly 6 million dogs – no surprise to see why a gem like Boogity has great potential. You can find out more and the different services they provide at http://boogity.ca/barkwood_forest/.
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