Welcoming Barx Active to the Puppy Tales Team

We’re thrilled that Karen of Barx Active is joining the Puppy Tales team in 2015. You’ve seen her posts on Puppy Tales in 2014 and from the great response to her guest posts, it certainly seems that getting active with your dog is something you want more of!

To learn all about Barx Active – be sure to check out Karen’s first Puppy Tales interview on Barx and Exercising with Your Dog and to meet her gorgeous dog by reading Tux’s Puppy Tale.

As we’ve already covered what it is that Karen does with Barx Active, its time to dig a little deeper as we welcome her to the team….

What was your first job?

My very first job was in a hot bread shop when I was in year 12. Their raisin bread was to die for and I would scoff half a loaf of it, still warm, as I drove home after my shift. The Bakery also had a coffee machine and I was categorically terrible at frothing up the milk. So it was nothing to do with dogs, but nonetheless, became one of the many stepping stones in life that has led me to exactly where I am right now!

Karen of Barx Active joins Puppy Tales in 2015

Have you always been a Dog Lover?

We never had dogs growing up, but in hindsight I clearly remember being deeply affected by watching movies and TV shows that involved dogs. Bingo, Lassie, Inspector Rex… I often couldn’t bear watching them because they always involve the dog getting into some kind of trouble at some point. If a human died in a movie, I’d say ‘oh well’, but if a dog ever died in a movie, I’d be choking back the tears.
It was only when my husband nagged me to get a dog, and I fell in love with Tux, that all of these childhood recollections came back.

So it may seem an odd answer, but I think I always was a dog lover… I just hadn’t discovered them yet!

How long did it take to come up with the Business Name Barx Active? Were there any other contenders?

A-ha great question! We knew we wanted to develop a range of services to help people to stay active with their dog by their side, so we knew we wanted a single syllable word that could hook onto other descriptor words. In internet land, it helps to have a name that is a little bit different, meaning domains, social media handles and the like are more readily available. Of course it had to be doggy too, without being too ‘frilly’ (my hubby and dog are both tough men afterall). So ‘Barx’ was born, and the ‘Active’…well that bit was easy…it’s who we are!

Do you have any funny tales of the dogs in a Barx Class or Barx Hike to share?

It was our very first launch session of Barxercise, and one of our participants popped her lovely Lorna Jane gym bag down on the grass next to our gear. Anyway we all watched (seemly in slow motion “Nooooooo”) as our dog, Tux, trotted over to it and promptly peed all over it. Sadly I had neglected to think of bringing wet wipes, which have since become a permanent addition to our kit. Fortunately, the bag’s owner laughed it off, and she and her gorgeous dog have since become wonderful Barx community regulars.

What has been the highlight for Barx Active to date?

So many! Our first birthday was a huge and happy milestone, and following on from that, November 2014 was a great month for us. We had large feature articles in BOTH of the 2 leading dog magazines in the country – Dogs Life and PETS. It’s so wonderful to see that Australia is getting to know about us, and therefore be able to access our resources on how they can live a dog friendly, active life!

But our ultimate success begins and ends with the amazing Barx community that we have around us – of humans and pups alike!

What does 2015 hold for Barx Active?

More locations for Barxercise (our dog inclusive outdoor group fitness sessions), more online programs for pups and peeps who aren’t in proximity to our Barxercise locations, and some other surprises for our community along the way…

Tux the Border Collie Cross loves to play ball

What does yours and Tux’s daily exercise routine involve?

Tux and I like to get up early and head out for a long fast walk (I listen to a podcast while Tux checks his peemail), then we both get home and watch a bit of Sunrise over breakfast. Tux will then supervise office activities from his furry cushion, while I get through some work at my desk. In the afternoon, we go to the park next door for a ball throwing session, and then Tux sometimes even gets a run with dad (my hubby Dan) in the evening. Not a bad life for Mr Tux, eh?!

You foster for Assistance Dogs Australia – can you tell us the motivation behind that and a little of what that involves to be a foster career?

At Barx Active, we are all about helping people to nurture the special bond that they share with their dog, through shared physical activity. Some people, however, have physical disabilities that mean they cannot be as active as others. Assistance Dogs Australia trains labradors and golden retrievers to help these people with their everyday living tasks. It makes sense for us to support this amazing organisation.

Foster carers, or ‘Puppy Educators’ are required to bring up the ADA puppies in their first year of life, before they go on to their advanced training and eventual placement. It is a very rewarding role, hard work at times, and I have learned a lot more about dog training and behaviour through being involved. The puppies must be taught all basic commands, cannot be left for more than 4 hours at a time, and can go shopping with you, due to their special ‘public access’ coats!

How does Tux go welcoming a new dog into the house?

As long as Tux still gets fed, he is quite happy to share his digs with other dogs! Tux is such a good boy with the house rules, and sometimes looks up at us as if to say “Should the new dog be doing that? Isn’t that against the rules?” We still give him plenty of love – we have lots to go around!

Karen and Dan and their Dog of Barx Active

What are your favourite dog brands?

Oooh another great question! I love these dog brands:

Friendly Dog Collars – for breaking down barriers for dog owners through easy recognition of dogs’ needs

Ezydog – cool, rugged products that suit an active lifestyle

Kong – you just can’t deny that they are the master of hardy, interactive toys for our pooches

Rufus and Coco – beautiful branding and lovely products

What is the favourite place you’ve been with Tux?

Early in 2014, Dan, Tux and i did a beautiful 4 hour hike in Daylesford, Victoria. The trail was gorgeous, there was barely anyone else around, and we came across a lovely river for a swim and play. It was so special to share this special wilderness experience as a ‘family’, and know that we had all gotten a lungful of fresh air, some exercise into our legs, and a great escape from our normal routine.

We loved it so much that we took a Barx Hike group there in June.

What is the one place to visit or thing to do with Tux in 2015?

I can picture it already: a fun road trip, a remote dog friendly accommodation, some long, exploring walks, and gazing out at nature while I work away on my laptop (with Tux supervising from his furry cushion). I’m not sure of the exact location yet, but thanks for reminding me…I might head off and book it now…

Kerry Martin

Kerry is 'Top Dog' here at Puppy Tales. With her own adored dogs, she completely gets that your four legged furry buddy is absolutely part of the family. That they sleep on the bed, that you want to take them everywhere, that you plan holidays so they’re included & that their presence makes your life incredible.