Walka Walka Dog Walkers
“I want a dog, but I’m too busy” is a phrase often heard amongst our work-crazed generation of professionals. Many are conflicted between choosing added responsibility or unconditional love. But as Downtown grows, developments and services are created to accommodate our furry friends — and life goes on. There’s no question that Downtown loves dogs, take it from DCBID’s annual Dog Day event at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels where over 1600 attendees gather to give glory to dogs; from puffballs with feet to four-legged beasts, Downtown’s dogs are just as diverse as its citizens. In addition to a growing number of dog parks, luxury apartments are taking heed to dog owner’s requests and boasting rooftop potty decks and free treats — for some, Downtown dog life is far from ruff.
Meet Brad Apodaca, the jolly owner of Walka Walka Dog Walkers and one of DTLA’s most trusted dog walker. He’s made a business out of walking your dog so you don’t have to. Getting his start at Pussy & Pooch on Main and 6th, Brad has been tending to Downtown’s dogs since 2005. Today, he has a client list of over 120 dogs to walk throughout the city — but don’t get too excited they’re not all at once, humanity is not easily blessed with a sight like that. In groups of 4, Walka Walka takes dogs of all sizes out for a 30-minute stroll, complete with pick up and drop off.
Brad’s clients are all hardworking professionals with long work hours who praise the convenience of having their dog taken out once or twice a day, or even checked on for fresh water and food.
“For some owners, these dogs are their babies. So we have to build trust” Brad says. “I meet the dog first and do a personality assessment and let them get familiar with me.” After the meet and greet, Brad plays matchmaker and decides which dogs will be most compatible to go on walks together.
On a gloomy Wednesday afternoon, Stella, JD, Diego, and Sasha form an unlikely quad and take a walk on Spring Street. Their mellow mannered behavior and disproportionate sizes captivate locals on the street as high-pitched exclamations of “oh my God!” are heard from across the way.
“Everyone stops and says something,” says Brad. Dogs bring strangers together and unlike the weather, it’s small talk worth discussing. After all, that’s how Brad met his wife.
If you’re thinking about getting a dog look to Downtown Dog Rescue first, DTLA’s nonprofit for dog adoption and providing services for low-income pet owners. There are plenty of dogs who are begging for a second chance to love somebody.
Written by Janica de Guzman
Photographed by Jack Strutz