Andrew Solis and Ken Price are true dog devotees. As longtime animal advocates and steadfast vegans, the two have found purpose and community as co-founders of Rescue Train Repeat, a one-on-one dog training service based out of their apartment in Bushwick. They offer a variety of dog training packages, and travel to clients in the greater New York City metropolitan area as needed.
In addition to training, Rescue Train Repeat offers monthly “pack walks” where neighborhood dog parents can get together and enjoy a group stroll with their dogs through one of several parks in Brooklyn or Queens. Solis leads the monthly walks in fully glam drag queen attire, donning vibrant wigs and stunning sequin corsets and jumpsuits as they offer guidance for fellow walkers along the way.
“The idea of pack walks began with the intention of connecting my training alumni with each other,” explains Solis. “I want to help build a community outside of Rescue Train Repeat for dog parents to turn to when they need support.”
Solis and Price met while working at Peacefood Cafe, moving in together shortly thereafter and caring for a myriad of animals in their shared apartment, including several dogs and a guinea pig named Jinkx (an homage to drag queen Jinkx Monsoon), whom Solis rescued as a surprise for Price on one of their first dates. A mutual passion for animal advocacy was a shared value of theirs from the start.
“I grew up in the Welsh countryside, so I was always surrounded by horses, sheep, cats and dogs,” says Price of his earliest experiences with animals. “I raised and rescued dogs from a young age and had this feeling that dogs would always be a part of my life.” Solis, who was born to Salvadoran parents and grew up in Los Angeles, also realized their innate connection to animals in their youth.
In March of 2020, both Solis and Price lost their restaurant-industry jobs due to COVID-related shutdowns. At the time, Solis was still working part-time with Korean K9 Rescue, a local nonprofit that focuses on rehabilitating and re-homing mistreated dogs from South Korea. Solis had begun as a volunteer for the nonprofit in 2019, becoming a dog trainer by the end of the year.
It was through Korean K9 Rescue that Solis formed a connection with their mentor, Executive Director Gina Boehler, who provided Solis with insight into the rescue and rehabilitation process for traumatized dogs rescued from puppy mills, high-kill shelters and the meat trade. Solis went on to learn under Blake Rodriguez of Dream Come True K9 to further hone their skills.
By the summer of 2020, Solis and Price realized that they could meld their respective animal care experience to build a training business.
“After the pandemic hit, it gave me time to really think and focus on what I really wanted to do,” says Price. “I wanted to make a difference. Dogs have always been a big part of my life, so it was a smooth transition.” In September 2020, Rescue Train Repeat was officially founded.
Today, Solis and Price work directly with Korean K9 and Waggytail Rescue to help newfound pup parents train their dogs, in addition to working with dog owners who reach out to Rescue Train Repeat through social media. At Rescue Train Repeat’s monthly pack walks, the community that Solis and Price have facilitated gets to gather and socialize in a safe environment for all.
“Dogs like to form their own social circles that they feel comfortable with, just like people. It’s not necessarily natural for all dogs to like going to the dog park or interacting with new dogs every day,” explains Solis. “Some like it, some don’t. But there are lots of dogs out there who are shy or have specific socialization needs.”
What’s someone to do if their dog isn’t one for a romp in the Maria Hernandez dog run? “Pack walks are our answer,” Solis says. “They allow dogs to get to know each other and form bonds with other dogs in a controlled environment.” Pack walks are once a month and are open to all; just reach out via their website or Instagram to secure a slot. Rescue Train Repeat allows about 25 dogs on a walk at a time. “However, on occasion we’ve had up to 50 people join. If it’s a larger group, we’ll have another trainer there to help us facilitate,” says Solis.
“It’s lovely seeing everyone come together. Sometimes they’ll even organize their own smaller pack walks after meeting at one of ours,” says Price.
Pack walks rotate between Prospect Park, Astoria Park, and McCarren Park, with smaller intermittent walks based out of Maria Hernandez Park. Rescue Train Repeat will host their next walk in October, where the group will meet at McCarren Park and walk to Transmitter Park in Greenpoint. Be sure to catch Solis in their decked-out drag queen glory, a trail of adorable pups in their wake.
Interested in booking a training session with Rescue Train Repeat? Fill out an inquiry on their website.
All photos by Yasemin Tulça.
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