Coconut Grove Pet Sitter Spotlight: Mike Tacoronte

Coconut Grove pet sitter

Coconut Grove Pet Sitter Spotlight: Mike Tacoronte

Meet the newest Coconut Grove pet sitter in our pack, Mike Tacoronte, who will be walking, running and caring for your pets in the dog-friendly Coconut Grove and Coral Gables neighborhoods! Mike served in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years and is now a retired veteran filling his time with volunteer work and animal-oriented activities. Although he has a tough exterior, his big heart and soft spot for animals has made him a perfect fit for our team!

Mike has had the opportunity to volunteer at several animal shelters across the country including in Anchorage, Alaska, San Antonio, Texas and locally here in Doral. “I volunteered at pet shelters because I wanted to get as many dogs as possible out of their cages for at least a few minutes of the day, so they could stretch their legs and play for a while,” Mike tells us. One of his life goals is to keep dogs active and fit, even if they are confined to a shelter.

Coral Gables Dog Walker & Coconut Grove Pet Sitter

As fitness plays an important role for Mike, he finds great passion in walking, playing and running with pups. After he began volunteering with the Miami-Dade Animal Services he discovered our company from a neighbor. “I couldn’t believe that I can do what I love AND get paid!” Mike exclaims. He loves the idea of providing a customized service for dogs, while getting them out and about when pet parents are working or on vacation. He believes regular exercise is crucial to the pet’s well-being, so when he found out our motto was “Fit, healthy, happy!” it was a total match.

We’re lucky to have him in our pack not only as a passionate animal lover serving as a Coconut Grove pet sitter, but also as an avid photographer. Mike focuses his Canon rebel SLR camera on dogs and fitness-oriented models. Mike also practices Movement Culture, which is a free-flowing style of exercise containing elements of breakdance, gymnastics, capoeira, and other arts.

Dog-Walker Dog Toy Tips

When he is off duty, Mike and his Mom share pup parenting for an adorable Schnauzer mix named Charchael. She is a cuddle bug who loves his attention! Mike’s personal favorite and go-to toy for Charchael is the Chuckit. He also uses the Zipflight frisbee with Charchael who loves to catch in mid-air and play tug-o-war! Bonus feature: dogs can’t tear this item to shreds. Mike says, “It’s really sturdy and strong…for most dogs.” He would recommend these toys to any pup parent.

Mike clearly believes dogs are the best thing out there, and so do we! If you see him in the neighborhood feel free to stop and say hello. Mike is looking forward to his days filled with our Equipaws canine family!

Brickell Pet Sitter Spotlight: Kesi Land

Brickell pet sitter

 

Brickell Pet Sitter Spotlight: the fabulous Kesi Land

We have a great team of Brickell pet sitter and dog walkers who are thrilled to be caring for your cats and dogs. Kesi Land is one of our pet enthusiasts, whose hometown was Baltimore, Maryland until she officially made the move to Miami in 2013 to begin her studies at Miami International University of Art & Design for Fashion Merchandising.

Although she enjoyed her creative studies, she felt unsatisfied with her career in retail. Her real passion was animals. But because she couldn’t find a job that didn’t require some sort of degree, Kesi was ready to give up her search. Luckily for Equipaws, she came across our professional pet sitter and dog walker advertisement on Craigslist. She knew it was a fit. “I got to do what I always wanted to do, gain experience with animals which will help me later down the line with my degree, and the hours were flexible,” Kesi says. Plus, she loves the benefit of staying fit while working, a  win-win for Kesi and the Equipaws team!

From Brickell pet sitter to vet tech

Kesi’s devotion for animals has grown since working for Equipaws. She is has transferred schools and is now majoring in Veterinary Medicine to become a Vet Tech. Eventually she plans on completing her Doctorate.

In her spare time, she and her boyfriend are pet parents to two adorable toy poodles, Marley and Riley. She loves being a pup parent and suggests to fellow Moms and Dads, “never cut corners on what you buy for your pets! Always provide quality products and services whether it’s food, toys, treats.” We agree 100% with Kesi when she says, “Check out the ingredients, if there’s something funky in the listing or something you wouldn’t eat yourself then why would you feed it to your furry friend?”

Benny, the most considerate dog in Brickell

As much as she loves her pups, she treasures the bond created with all of the Brickell pets she cares for. One experience has truly touched her heart. The story involves a pup named Benny, who is a loving, older dog but requires special attention as he gets very excited around other dogs. Kesi recently had her wisdom teeth removed and with her enthusiasm for her job, she attempted to come back to work too soon.

She and Benny had a morning walk planned together. “We normally power walk during our time, but he walked slow for me so I wasn’t expending a lot of energy and when we would stop, which I had to do often during the walk, he waited patiently for me to regain strength. He also ignored all other dogs that were out that morning. I was his sole focus and that really meant alot to me.I love the bonds that are made while working with each person’s pet. It’s an amazing feeling.”

Personal dog food recommendations:

Like Equipaws, she is a huge fan of local products and loves Dishes for Dogs, a small business in Miami. All products are organic and homemade and you can find them at the weekly farmers market in Midtown. They also provide a delivery service on the weekends. She is very excited for their first store to open this fall in Wynwood. She does recommend asking what portion size to feed your pup, as you never want to overfeed.

In her downtime Kesi often travels with friends and/or family, spending time with her babies (Mar, Rye, and her boyfriend), playing video games (oftentimes live streaming it), binge watching her favorite TV & anime shows, trying out new foods at a variety of different restaurants, and shopping. She currently resides in West Brickell and loves caring for our clients in the area! We love Kesi’s enthusiasm, passion and willingness to grow and can’t wait to see what the future holds for her career with animals.

We’d be happy to help you book one of our professional Brickell pet sitteror dog walkers. Please email us at info@equipawspetservices.com or call the office at 305.794.3733. We look forward to taking care of your pets!

5 Best Dog Friendly Travel Destinations in Florida

dog friendly travel florida miami sarasota key west

5 Best Dog Friendly Travel Destinations in Florida 

Summer is here, which means a well-deserved holiday is around the corner! But where to go with your furry family member in tow? Florida offers dog friendly travel destinations by way of beaches and parks, restaurants, activities and tours you can enjoy with the entire gang. If you want to travel north to cooler climates or relax on the southern shore beaches, there is something for every four-legged vacationer. Pack up your pup and hit the road with our list of local pet-friendly Florida hot spots.

Dog Friendly Travel: Miami, FL

If you are looking to taste the flavor of Miami, start your adventure by cruising the Lincoln Road shopping strip. These vibrant stores and restaurants are dog friendly and most provide outdoor patio dining. If you are in the mood for a subdued Miami shopping experience, the shops and restaurants at Bal Harbour, The Village at Merrick Park, and along Brickell are also open to pets. Stay at the Loews Hotel on Miami Beach where dogs receive a welcome gift, have a gourmet room service menu, and are provided with dog-walking routes, pet-sitting or pet-walking services, as well as a list of local pet-friendly restaurants, plus a few extra “home away from home” goodies if requested! To complete your trip, head to Hobie Beach for a fun in the sun beach extravaganza! Hobie is a dog friendly off-leash park, located off of the Rickenbacker Causeway heading to Key Biscayne.

Jacksonville, Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach, FL

Seek out the spectacular views and peaceful sounds of the Atlantic Coast. Amelia River Cruises, Charters and Cumberland Ferries offer tours and views of the gorgeous coastline. You and your pet can soak in the ocean air while viewing the wildlife, waterfront, and salt marshes. Get a taste of history when visiting the Jacksonville area. You can visit these memorials and trails with a leashed dog: Fort Caroline National Memorial, the Kingsley Plantation, Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park, or a take a self-guided hike named the Hammock Trail. The beaches in Jacksonville and Fernandina have specific rules and regulations on pups looking to play in the sand. Do your research before packing up the family and setting up camp on any of the local beaches.

Bradenton and Sarasota, FL

The gulf shores of Sarasota, Venice, and Bradenton have a string of beaches that are dog friendly. A must-visit is Sarasota’s own restaurant chain, titled appropriately the Old Salty Dog, where you can chow down on seafood and American bar fare with a dog at your feet, feeling the sea breeze flow through the air. Also look into Woof Gang Bakery and Marina Jacks- both have doggie dining treats and menus.

Be sure to pass by St. Armands Circle Shops, a boutique shopping center off the shores of Lido key, while you are in the neighborhood. Finish your trip by venturing to the outskirts of Bradenton to visit Hunsader U-Pick Farms, a large, breathtaking farm where you can pick your own produce varying on the time of year. Best in early spring, end of summer and fall.  

Florida Keys and Key West, FL

Head to the Florida Keys and turn back the clock to Island Time. You and your pup can put your feet and paws up at the Island Dogs Bar enjoying the open air establishment. As most restaurants are outdoor bars, it is not difficult to find dog friendly dining. The Key West Aquarium, one of the best attractions in the Keys located in Mallory Square, is said to be the only dog-friendly aquarium in the country! Take advantage and stroll the tanks of marine life with man’s best friend by your side. In addition, most charter fishing boats and ferry rides are dog friendly as well. Be sure to check animal protocol before purchasing any tickets. End the day at Mallory Square with picturesque sunset. The street fill with artists such as acrobats, magicians, and musicians to jazz up this nightly celebration for everyone and every pet to enjoy.

St. Augustine, FL

With centuries of history, the small populated town of St. Augustine is one of the most dog-friendly destinations in Florida. Famous for its main attraction, The Fountain of Youth, you can explore the secrets of this historical landmark with your pet. Weave your way in and out of the streets and shops of Old Town side by side with Fido. Most restaurants have patio seating and are pet friendly. Be sure to check out the St. Augustine lighthouse and off leash Paws Dog Park.

All of these dog-friendly travel destinations have hotels or bed and breakfasts that cater to your furry friends. Be sure to research and know the rules for your furry friend before scheduling any trips, as hotels can change policies.  For more information, these websites are quite helpful when looking for pet friendly venues, activities, restaurants and more:

www.dogfriendly.com 

www.bringfido.com

Happy dog-friendly travels!