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Photo: Aaron Cayer.

Bark Voyage takes local dogs on fun adventures

By Jamie MacPherson on August 24, 2022

“Walking these dogs, even if it’s just for an hour, makes me feel like they are all mine in a small way. The bond we create is so special and important to me,” remarks Bark Voyage owner/founder Karina Dos Reis-Baeta. At just 22, this recent Algonquin College veterinary technician grad’s dog-walking business is flourishing, with many loyal clients and countless happy paws.

Photo: Aaron Cayer.

McNabb Dog Park regular and Centretown resident skater Dos Reis-Baeta is an animal lover extraordinaire. Dogs hold a special place in her heart. Stuck indoors due to the pandemic with a towering pile of school work, Dos Reis-Baeta needed an out. “I’m very passionate about animals and figured that dog-walking would help get me outside of the house more while also being flexible with my crazy school schedule,” she says. “Dog-walking checked all of the boxes.”

With support from family and friends, Dos Reis-Baeta burst into action, enlisting highly talented persons along the way. Long-time partner and fellow skater Brett Malone assisted with the name. “One night, Brett and I were spitballing names, and he came up with two great names. We sat with both of them for about a week, asking some close friends which of the two they preferred. The vote was unanimous: Bark Voyage.”

Photo: Aaron Cayer.

Another skateboarder helped with the logo. “I collaborated with my good friend Rory Underhill who is an amazing graphic designer,” Dos Reis-Baeta explains. “We sat down and decided that a dog in an airplane was very fitting. I knew I wanted it to be an animated version of my dog because he is my right-hand man during most of my walks. Bark Voyage is a play on words of the French saying ‘bon voyage,’ and we wanted to bring that out in the logo, as my goal at the end of each walk is for your dog to have had a great adventure with us. Although I don’t have a private jet to take them across the country, I do my best to take my pack to different dog parks, mini field trips to Bruce Pit, and swimming.”

Artwork: Rory Underhill.

Bark Voyage zoomed through Ottawa via word of mouth because people “saw my passion for their animals” first-hand. Dos Reis-Baeta’s vet tech background reassured clients that their pups were in good hands. Additionally, the city’s pet population grew, and an influx of new dog owners were messaging her.

“There were a ton of ‘COVID puppies’ in desperate need of socialization, so I eventually became quite busy, turning my solo walks into group pack walks while still offering solo walks for reactive dogs,” she says. Dos Reis-Baeta even hired a staffer to cope with the increased workload.

Photo: Aaron Cayer.

Bark Voyage’s offerings are plentiful, including off-leash and structured group walks for dogs who thrive in social environments. “Reactive dogs” receive special attention on quiet routes. Plus, doggie daycare is available. Dog boarding can be requested, but is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Regardless, Dos Reis-Baeta’s always fully equipped with a hip pack of dog supplies and leashes for any occasion.

While tailoring dog services to individual canine needs, Dos Reis-Baeta is making daily discoveries at a job she doesn’t even call work. “’Do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life,’ and that’s how I feel about Bark Voyage,” she says. “Each dog has their own unique personality and quirks. I love trying to match different dogs together that compliment each other’s personalities. We are all learning and growing together, and that’s the best part for me.”

Photo: Aaron Cayer.

Each week brings excitement for Dos Reis-Baeta and her dog pals. At parks, on special trips, or traversing Centretown, it’s all smiles and content pups of all kinds.  “My advice to anyone who wants to pursue their own path is to just start. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there; you got this!”

Follow Bark Voyage on Instagram for more info and adorable dog photos.