Billy the Jack Russell terrier mix bounds fearlessly over a stream bank and into the water, plunging after a stick and bringing it back to the feet of Briana Kemp, who tosses the stick back into the water. Elsewhere, Norwich terrier mix Penny has her nose to the ground, sniffing out all there is to sniff.
Terrier mixes Mouser, Frankie and Buffy fill out this pack of five, four of them rescue dogs, as they roam the landscape of Buford Park. They’re all out adventuring instead of sitting at home with nothing to do.
It’s a service that Kemp brings to the dogs of Eugene through her amped-up dog-walking business, NW Adventure Dogs. Kemp shuttles dogs to locations all over Lane County, where they roam free in approved areas and explore.
“The whole idea is to get dogs out of their normal environments and experience something new,” says Kemp, who started her business in April. “This is really important for dogs — they’re happier, more mellow and more well-behaved with the mental stimulation of experiencing different things.”
Kemp says she’s worked with dogs on and off her entire life, through dog day care and rescues. NW Adventure Dogs started as a way to fulfill her passion for both nature and dogs, she says, as a welcome respite from the corporate world in which she used to work.
“I’m so happy with what I’m doing,” Kemp says. “I love being out here and listening to the birds as opposed to the pressure of closing a deal.”
Clients can choose one of three packages for their adventurous dogs. The first two involve weekly adventures of varying frequencies to local parks and natural areas, giving dogs a chance to work on training and take long hikes. Each adventure is tailored to the individual dog and its needs, Kemp says.
The third package is a 90-minute adventure in the neighborhood where the dog lives. Kemp also offers a stroller service for elderly or disabled dogs.
Kemp says she is accepting new clients. One of her current clients is Northwest Dog Project — Kemp takes the group’s rescue dogs out for adventures and posts pictures to her Facebook page, giving the dogs a chance to strut their stuff and get noticed for adoption.
Kemp also films GoPro videos of each adventure and shares them with clients, letting them see what their dogs were up to throughout the day.
“They love it,” says Mo Strader, pack leader of the five terrier mixes that go adventuring with Kemp. “If more people realized just how good a tired dog can be, they would jump all over this.”
Strader adds, “It’s not just your everyday walk on a street.” She says Kemp “does everything she can to make sure they get good exercise.”
Prices range from $40 to $350. Check out Kemp’s website at nwadventuredogs.com to book an adventure, and visit the NW Adventure Dogs Facebook page to see more pictures of the pups in action.