Riverside Barkers Riverside Barkers

In conversation with: Riverside Barkers

Countryside catches up with Abby Brindley and Lucy Fogarty, the founders of Riverside Barkers, a dog-walking service in Medway – where you’ll find our Rochester Riverside landmark regeneration scheme.

Tell us about Riverside Barkers

We are unique and friendly dog walkers, providing services along the River Medway.

Often people find themselves too busy to get home in time to walk their dog or they may be going on a day trip and need somebody to pop in and check on their pet. With increasing numbers of us considering getting a dog and people slowly returning back to work a friendly face checking in on your pup is something to think about. This is where we can help.

Our daily route takes us along the vibrant River Medway where we will walk and play with your dog in a variety of safe and interesting settings. We pride ourselves on offering the most flexible, efficient and professional pet services in our area. Customer service, communication and dog welfare are our priorities.

Riverside Barkers staff are fully DBS/CRB checked and insured. We are also proud to additionally offer wellbeing walks in the community.

What is your favourite thing about Riverside Barkers? 

We love all dogs and love getting to know all their different personalities. It is a good feeling when you know you are helping their owners out whether it’s with regular walks or one-off events where they will be out all day. Our wellbeing walks welcome people who would like to join us for the companionship and who benefit comfort of walking and petting dogs. They may be going through a tricky time or need some time out. Ziggie is our therapy pet in training and is loved by all who meet her.

How long have you lived in Medway?

We are both born and bred in the Medway towns and have lived here all our lives. Abby lives in Rainham and Lucy lives in Rochester.

How do you describe the area to your friends/family?  

Medway is a multi-faceted diamond! Every time we go to Rochester it surprises us. There is the Norman castle and ancient cathedral looking down on the River Medway, curling lanes of old houses, bookshops and flint walls tumbling down the hill. The views in Medway are amazing – those from Bluebell Hill and through Burham and Wouldam of the North Kent Downs are magical.

There is so much history here - pilgrims and scholars, naval bases and Dickens (there’s no escaping him here!). Charles Dickens spent much of his childhood in neighbouring Chatham and his later years at Gad’s Hill Place, just outside Rochester. The Swiss chalet in the garden where he wrote his novels now sits, surreally, on Rochester High Street. Nearby, you’ll find the Satis House, of Miss Havisham fame. The music and arts scene has always been vibrant in Medway, so check out a local gig, art venue or one of our many theatres, when it’s safe to do so!

What is your favourite local secret / hidden gem in the area?

Berengrave Nature Reserve in Rainham is a real hideaway treat, where you can walk among the treetops. Children can clamber up the wooden steps to reach the boardwalks that span between the branches, everyone can enjoy the peace and quiet as the sun filters through the trees. The reserve in Rainham has developed from a busy chalk quarry, so you can see remains of the pit, the washmill ponds and learn something about Medway’s past. The park is a Site of Nature Conservation Interest and is home to wildflowers, chiffchaffs, blue tits, woodpeckers and other wildlife. There are information boards around the site, as well as a small picnic area. 

For someone new to the area, how would you suggest they get involved in the community? 

Get talking! Medway is an incredibly social and creative place to live. There is always something going on and help is always welcomed. If you are new to the area, chat to your neighbours and people in local shops. Explore the outside - there are so many varied and interesting places to visit, many of them being based on the River. Medway Council has a ‘What’s On’ guide and that’s a great place to start.

How has Riverside Barkers been adapting to the current situation?

We have seen extra demand during the coronavirus outbreak, with some customers self-isolating or shielding and so we have taken their dogs for extra walks for them. Given the limiting circumstances, it is more important than ever for puppies to be socialised. While we haven’t been able to do our usual pop-in service for puppies and elderly dogs, we have welcomed more pups on our group walks. With families now returning to work and school we are receiving more enquiries too. All equipment is sanitised for each use and a deep clean at the end of each working day.

How can local people get involved?

Keep an eye on our social media pages where we regularly post pictures from our walks - our handle is @RiversideBarkers. For information on all our services have a look at our website: www.riversidebarkers.co.uk