Sean Hogan started walking dogs “just as a thing to do” while waiting for security clearance before beginning a new job. His educational background, after all, is in physics and chemistry.
This was over five years ago and he still hasn’t started that job. Instead, he created his own dog walking business named Adventure Hound, and is walking more than 16 dogs a day while often boarding several more in his home.
“It is a cool job,” says Sean, “but a lot more work than you would think.”
Some of his days can start as early as 4 a.m., depending on if he has any dogs that are boarding with him. If so, he likes to give them a good workout in the morning before he goes on to his list of daily clients.
Here’s a little sample of activities from the rest of a typical day: Leaving his house, he picks up Rose and Austin in Del Ray—a pitbull and a lab—and takes them over to the . Afterward, he heads into Washington, D.C. to walk his “active senior group” (three small, elderly dogs) in Rock Creek Park, then over to Columbia Heights to walk Pugsly and Molly. He makes another stop for a client at the Watergate before heading back out to Del Ray to finish off the day.
“I don’t really realize how stressful my day is until someone comes along with me,” says Sean. His wife Donna, who joins him occasionally, agrees: “Even if I only do half his day, I’m exhausted.”
Talking to Sean, it is amazing how well he knows each of his dog clients. Nicknames like Charlie Poodle, Gracie Spaniel and Henry Boston are thrown around as if Sean and his wife are talking about friends. You get the impression that Sean could talk for hours about each one of his dog clients, gushing as if they were each his own.
“All my dogs are always in the back of my head,” says Sean. And he seems to have a knack for reading dog personalities.
He uses that knowledge to give each dog the proper and individualized care they need. He will walk dogs together only if it is suited for their personality. He won’t usually take his dogs to the dog park, but one of his dogs is “particularly rambunctious” so the trip is warranted.
He even recently purchased what he calls his “trike” for one of his clients, Windsor, who has a limitless amount of energy. The trike is a three-wheeled, low-riding bicycle. A fishing pole-like stick stands up on one side and is connected to a dog’s collar. Then he will pedal while the dog runs along beside him.
“It gets a lot of looks,” he says. But for the dogs that have the energy, they absolutely love it. He says that after a run with the trike, the dog will seem more focused for almost a week after. Windsor has even learned to keep a steady pace on the rides and to stop at stop signs.
Sean began his dog walking career as an employee for another company. Eventually he realized he could provide more personalized care for dogs at cheaper rates if he branched out on his own. That’s when he started Adventure Hound (It also allowed him to offer things like a “cuteness discount” which was actually once printed on a client’s invoice.).
He was careful not to steal any clients from his former employer. But despite his best efforts, several of them sought him out, unhappy with the service they received from walkers other than Sean. The rest of his clients came through passing out cards, Google Ads and just old fashioned word of mouth.
As for boarding, Sean will often be watching several dogs at once, with his own dog Andy acting as a calming ambassador to all newcomers. Sean and Donna’s home can feel a bit like organized chaos. Dog beds are often spread out around the house and dogs are quietly lounging in various states of rest on the floor.
Yet everything is very carefully organized. The dog’s possessions each get their own cubby in a closet. And feeding the dogs is done in a very orderly fashion. “You can feel sort of like a lunch lady sometimes, standing and watching them eat,” says Donna.
Despite all this, their house is always very quiet no matter how many dogs are there. Sean is almost a dog whisperer, teaching even the most rambunctious of canines that “inside is quiet time, outside is party time.”
He also seems to have an unconditional love for every dog he meets. This is recognizable just listening to his stories and seeing the way he interacts with all of his dogs. It is truly a wonderful sight.
His dogs in Del Ray sure are lucky that Sean had a reason to waste some time with dog walking so many years ago.