TEXT BY HEATHER DOWDY
PHOTOS BY MELISSA RILEY
CONTENT SPONSORED BY NASHVILLE DOG ADVENTURES
What does your dog do while you’re at work? Whether he sleeps the day away, barks at the window or becomes overly anxious and shreds everything in sight, one thing is certain – he’d probably rather be having fun outside!
That’s why Nashville dog lover Melissa Riley launched a new service just for dogs in June. While pet sitting has been around for years, she went a step further, creating Nashville Dog Adventures—a company providing true outdoor excursions for canine companions.
Riley, who has a Ph.D. in education, is a Wilderness Advanced EMT, a K9 Coordinator for state and county search and rescue teams, and has worked as a veterinary technician and in police and EMT capacity for over 20 years. A lifelong dog lover, she is passionate about helping our canine companions live life to the fullest.
“We help dogs to get back outside and into nature,” she says. “We help them step out of the urban jungle and find the balance of good exercise, socialization, and experiencing nature that is innate to each of them.”
While traditional pet sitting services typically take your pup on a walk around your neighborhood, Riley’s new service takes them anywhere adventure calls—including the dog park, local swimming holes, hiking trails and stand-up paddling on the lake.
“This is not your average potty break,” she explains. “This is geared to provide dogs with exercise that stimulates their mind and body, to help them to become more fit and well socialized. We utilize all of the incredible park systems in and around Nashville and Williamson County. We customize the adventure to the dog, taking into consideration his fitness level and the behavioral goals of the client. We can also teach your dog a lot of new, fun skills that you can use with your dog on your own vacation adventures—such as how to ride paddleboards, how to become comfortable in and around water and how to hike without pulling you down a hill or get wrapped around trees.”
A typical adventure session lasts two and a half hours, and pick up and drop off is offered for free within a 15-mile radius of Brentwood. (If you’re outside this area, a $10 fuel charge will apply to pick up and drop off.) Sessions are $49 for one dog and $29 for an additional dog, although there are package deals for clients who want to take advantage of multiple outings.
Aside from her canine handling and pet emergency training, Riley also safeguards your pet by using Tile, a Bluetooth device clipped onto your dog’s harness, which allows her to track your pet’s location in the unlikely event that she should get loose.
She says, “It’s an extra measure of safety so if your dog is ever out of our sight due to an extenuating circumstance, we can find their current location immediately.” Riley also transports each dog in a crash-rated dog crate, carries water and a pet first aid kit and is fully insured.
It comes as no surprise that Riley’s inspiration for Nashville Dog Adventures was her own dogs: three Belgian Malinois.
“I have high energy dogs, and on days I had to work long hours and could not exercise them as much, they seemed more frustrated and created their own outlets for dispelling that energy,” she says. “I started getting up extra early each morning to hit the park before work, and I saw a remarkable change in their behaviors and happiness. I understand the energy and behavioral needs of high drive, high energy dogs and I care for every client’s dog like they are my own. My goal is for every dog to have an incredible time and to do so safely.”