By Hali Holmes, Tails on Trails.
Hi! I’m Hali, and I’ve been an animal lover my entire life. As a child, we always had at least one cat in our home, and each still holds a special place in my heart. My first case of “puppy love” was with my next-door neighbor’s yellow Lab, Charlie. From his soulful brown eyes to his tail that never stopped wagging, I couldn’t get enough of him. Each day after school, from about the age of 10, I would ring the doorbell and ask if I could play with Charlie and take him for a walk. Since I was not much bigger than him, many people who saw us would ask, “Are you walking him or is he walking you?!” After our walks, we’d play a game of fetch or tug, and then I’d go home to cuddle with Mitten, Puffy, Ginger, or Garfield. When Charlie’s family went on vacation, they hired me to care for him, and I loved every minute of it! By the time I was 12, I was pet sitting for other neighbors as well, and I cared for each dog or cat with tenderness, affection, and sheer joy, throughout high school and over college breaks.
In college, I studied Early Childhood Education and Human Development, and began teaching nursery school shortly after graduation. (In my many years of working with young children, I learned that children and dogs have many similar needs and desires-no offense to either! Both crave consistency, patience, clear communication, positive reinforcement, respect, trust, affection, and lots of opportunities to play!) After college, I married my husband, Steve, and we bought our first home, complete with fenced in yard. We couldn’t wait to adopt our first dog together, so, in June of 1987, on our first anniversary, we went to the Schenectady Animal Shelter and immediately fell head over paws in love with a four-month old yellow Lab mix. Shelby was playful, energetic, and so affectionate. Frisbee was her favorite game, and she could even catch my very bad throws! She became a loyal friend and very special family member. Over the years, I learned so much from Shelby and the other five dogs that have been a part of our family, each with their own unique personalities, likes and dislikes, needs and desires, fears and quirks. Two of them became certified therapy dogs, visiting nursing homes and working with troubled youth, and I’ve done agility with three of them. I also got to know many of my neighbors’ pets, and, in between teaching nursery school and raising our two wonderful daughters, I cared for them while their families were on vacation.
One of my favorite activities is to hike with my dogs, Sugar Bear (a Great Pyrenees mix) and Jasper (a chocolate Lab mix). There are so many great trails nearby, and we love to explore them! My other interests include reading (including books on animal behavior and positive dog training), kayaking, yoga, cross country skiing, and spending time with friends and family (especially my adorable two-year-old granddaughter!). I’ve hiked 28 of the 46 High Peaks, and I hope to someday finish. I volunteer for a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation organization, as well as my local library. Now that I’m retired and living year-round near Friends Lake in the Adirondacks, I’m so excited to be starting my own dog walking and pet sitting business. Whether you're looking for someone to take your pup hiking on a local trail or walks around the neighborhood, drop by while you’re at work for a game of fetch and a belly rub, or provide complete care for your cats and dogs while you're away, please contact me to let me know how I can best meet your needs. I look forward to meeting you and your best friends!