'Vince with the dog' follows his passion

[attach]5164[/attach]When Vince Alexander’s West Highland White Terrier, Chevy, passed away earlier this year it led him to a career change.

“When my dog died it was really heart breaking,” he says. “Every city worker, every librarian, everybody in the Beach knows me as Vince with the dog and I didn’t have the dog anymore.”

Out of habit, he says he continued walking along the beach every morning after he woke up, which wound up inspiring him to focus on pets instead of digital media.

“I remember one day just sitting here and saying ‘You know what, I don’t want to have to go downtown anymore. I don’t want to have to go for meetings. I don’t want to have to do these proposals anymore,’ ” he says. “Then I thought ‘What can I do?’ and I thought ‘Well after 25 years of dogs, just get into the business.’ ”

Beach Dog Pet Care & Fitness focuses on personalized pet care and exercise including home, holiday and day care, obedience training, puppy lessons, grooming and organized activities. Alexander also has experience taking care of dogs with diabetes and thyroid problems.

“I’m more of a specialized pet care professional, it’s the personalization, really getting personal, one on one with the dogs as opposed to being a group dog walker,” he says. “I take care of dogs, I make sure there’s a lot of interaction. If it’s a puppy I’ll take care of all the puppy needs that come with that.”

Although the new business venture is based out of his home at Queen Street East and Maclean Avenue, he also takes advantage of the nearby dog parks and boardwalk. Next summer he plans on expanding the business and benefiting from his proximity to the Balmy Beach Club.

“There’s 11,000 members and a lot don’t live right down on the beach, but a lot have dogs so if they brought their dog to the club, they’d either have to keep them in the car or tied up outside. Either is not good,” he says. “You can bring your dog down, I’d come get your dog, take care of him while you do your workout, have your beer or whatever you’re doing and then I’d bring them back to you.”

Soon Alexander will also have another dog of his own. He is in the process of taking a Westie named Echo, who happens to be from the same breeder as Chevy.

“She’s going to be my buddy,” he says.