Celebrity Dog Jogger and father of two, Barry Karacostas introduces his new Rottweiler puppy, Bubbles and reveals why it is the perfect pet for his children.
Tell us about your job as The Dog Jogger and your company, Urban Mutts.
We are a family run company and I would say we are surrogate parents to an assortment of London’s coolest and luckiest mutts, I also have a niche business ‘The Dog Jogger‘ aimed at high energy working breeds that live in our city, offering them off the lead pack runs enabling them to exert mental and physical energy enhancing their quality of life by engaging their natural instincts.
You recently went to the Arctic to raise money for your charity- tell us more about the expedition?
I recently completed an Arctic Dog Sledding challenge for my amazing charity Right To Play UK. I had the chance to work and bond with a breed while they were doing exactly what they were bred to do. I was amazed at how happy, calm and content they all were. Their confidence and energy was actually opposite to what I was expecting, and it was amazing that they had so much love and affection for us humans even though the level of contact with people is minimal in that remote part of the world. It was truly incredible to witness.
Tell about your average day at Urban Mutts?
Our days are busy offering the Urban Mutts time out playing and socialising with friends whilst their owners carry on with their busy London lifestyles guilt free, knowing there four legged family member is getting exactly what it needs. We start very early, around 6am, collecting dogs in our custom built vans for daycare, walking and dog jogging. Our walks and runs are held in Hampstead Heath, Battersea Park and along the Thames in Fulham, Putney and Barnes.
Why is dog jogging good for dogs?
It’s simple! Dogs love to run and be part of a pack. My daily runs offer working breeds the chance to engage with their natural instincts during this exercise, dealing with the pecking order, focusing on our journey and expelling physical and mental energy. Running certainly makes them calmer, happier dogs and not to forget incredibly fit and healthy, which, trust me, makes them feel like a million dollars!
The pack run is held cross country which like for myself is better for their joints, it strengthens their muscles and ligaments reducing the risk of injury. It also delays the onset of hip dysplasia and arthritis in breeds susceptible to these conditions, keeping their joints supple and free of cartilage build up. Most importantly it encourages a healthy digestive system and healthy heart which is a must for a healthy long life.
What will you be doing on Father’s Day?
Getting spoilt by my two little princesses or should I call them little devils!
Tell us about your family and your new puppy Bubbles?
We are a very close family, our business is based within our family home and I love the fact I don’t spend a lot of time away from my girls. I feel very lucky I am around, together with my wife Julie, to see them grow as they change so quickly. Their exposure to dogs is constant and ever since they were born they have been observing them and I feel they are more natural pack leaders than us because of it. It’s amazing to see how much the pack respects them, that’s why they are my Little Alphas! Bubbles has just joined our family and has settled in really well. He is very chilled about sharing his home with all the different characters that visit us daily. We recently lost our very special Rottweiler Leo to a heart attack and we were all very sad but happy at the same time he didn’t suffer. He left us with so many amazing loving memories and everyone that met him fell in love with him. After a little time without a Rotty in the family it wasn’t a surprise to anyone when top Rottweiler Breeder, Jaonne from Pendley Rottweilers contacted me to say she was having a litter, that I couldn’t say no!
How old is bubbles ?
He is nine weeks old.
How does Bubbles get on with the children and the other dogs you look after?
He is amazing with the children and they really have bonded even though it’s only been a week or so since his arrival. He is very calm and confident with all the other dogs that visit us daily and already barrels around trying to play with everyone from the Chihuahua to Ridgeback.
Are all the family involved in the business?
Yes I think that a dog living in a busy city needs the exposure to all aspects of life. My wife runs the daycare and local walking services and our girls, under supervision, teach all the dogs ‘little people etiquette’ no jumping, no licking our faces of chocolate and no pulling on the lead.
Why did you choose a Rottweiler?
The Rottweiler is a breed that unfortunately gets a lot of bad press but l can’t say this enough, it is bad owners not bad dogs. They look to us for correct direction in life as we are their guardians. Rottweilers when brought up correctly, like any dog, are incredibly affectionate, playful, love children and are naturally dedicated to their family. They are very intelligent and always eager to learn and please their pack leaders. It is great that docking in the UK has been banned and it softens their hardened look so when you see a Rotty wagging his/her big bushy tail you should go up to the owner and ask if you can have a cuddle as it will be a cuddle you’ll never forget!
Do you have any strong feelings about pet welfare?
Yes actually I do! I believe that all dog owners are responsible for the health and well-being of their dogs and need to commit to giving them the healthiest possible life. I really do hate seeing fat dogs suffering unnecessarily and with the population of obese dogs in the UK at 50% something needs to change. I am also an ambassador for Pup Aid which is an annual celebrity dog show held in Primrose Hill (this year it will be held on Saturday 7th September) which raises awareness of the cruel puppy farming trade here in the UK. If you love dogs please sign the government e petition below to help ban the trade altogether.
What’s on your wish list?
I love the Planet Dog toy bone to keep Bubbles entertained, while the Union Jack neckerchief by Mutts & Hounds is so stylish and I know my girls would love to dress Bubbles in that. The H2o water bottle is perfect when we are out jogging and I think the Union Jack dog doza by Creature Clothes is just the right fit for Bubbles as he gets bigger. The mini bowl by Alpha Paw is very cool and the deluxe gift hamper has everything I could need for a new puppy.