Dog Walking and Pet Sitting Services in Duluth, MN


Tonya Putney, Owner of Tail Wags & Walks LLC

Hey there! 

Thanks for visiting this site. I feel like I should give an introduction about who I am and a bit of background as to why I started this pet sitting business. My name is Tonya. I’m 36 years old and have been living in Duluth, MN almost my entire life! Currently I own two rescues: a husky/cattle dog named Bowie and a tabby cat named Epi.

We always had pets while I was growing up. The majority of the pictures from my childhood were of me with some four-legged friend. It was clear that I have always been a HUGE animal lover. 

My first job working with animals was at a boarding kennel where I spent 5 years working as a kennel attendant/office assistant. I learned so much while working there including how to give oral medications and insulin injections to pets. It was hard work, but I loved it! Especially when I would get to take the dogs out for “park runs” which were long walks around the fenced-in grounds and pond. I also met a few people who started having me do some pet sitting for their dogs. Spending time with their animals was the best and I adored all those pups as if they were my own. 

Eventually I got into office work full-time and spent about 10 years in a career that I didn’t find fulfilling. I knew I wanted to be outdoors and that I wanted to find a line of work where I was doing something I was passionate about. I decided the next job I would take would be focused on animal care.

When I started my position as a patient care coordinator at a local vet I was thrilled. I thought I would be around animals all day and actively helping our community. I took the online courses required of the job, became Fear-Free certified, and was ready to go! Unfortunately, I started in the midst of the pandemic and suddenly the only appointments we were able to schedule were mainly emergency cases. It was an extremely stressful and sorrowful time. There was an influx of new clients with the new pets they had taken in during COVID-19 and we didn’t have the means to provide services to everyone. I realized Duluth was full of pet owners that needed help to make sure they could continue to adequately care for their new furry friends. 

During this time, for my own mental and physical health, I started taking daily long walks with my dog. I would turn on one of my favorite podcasts and tune everything out. On the weekends, we would hike the trails of Hartley with my mom’s dog. It was fun to see how equally excited the dogs were to be outside.

Finally, one day it all clicked. I could combine my love of animals and being active and outdoorsy to do something to support the pet owners in my town. My dream job that I had been searching for all along was dog walking and pet sitting — and that’s how Tail Wags & Walks LLC came to be! 

For me, working with your pets isn’t just a job. It’s a privilege and my joy. I finally found my calling and I thank you for coming along on this new adventure with me.

Tonya Putney, Owner of Tail Wags & Walks LLC