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If you frequent the dog run at Maria Hernandez Park, chances are you know Daniel Nogueira, the proprietor of the local dog care service Bushwick K9. Nogueira, (pronounced noh-gay-ruh) is tall with long dreadlocks and a beard and has the grounded, content demeanor of a veteran preschool teacher, which makes it abundantly obvious how he became Bushwick’s most trusted, beloved dog care professional.
A native of Brazil, Nogueira grew up playing with animals on his family farm. His family began breeding Dobermans when he was 10 and he became interested when an especially effective trainer started to work with their dogs. “This guy would come in, and all the dogs would just follow him everywhere and they would do everything he said at all times. That blew my mind, and I glued myself to the guy,” says Nogueira.
Bushwick K9 has been in operation since 2009, and Nogueira has earned a reputation for being able to nurture even the most difficult dogs with services ranging from daytime walks to training and home boarding. He says it happened very organically, and started when he trained his own dog to walk off-leash, to which dog owners immediately took heed. “I mean, you see people, like, getting dragged down the street by a tiny little dog, and if they can see you walking, you know—I will walk, I don’t care how many dogs I walk, I could walk two, I could walk ten, it’s fine by me. Too much is not enough in my book. So when people see that, they’re like, ‘okay, maybe you can help me’ and because I already had a background training dogs I said, ‘sure, why not?’ so it kind of became my full-time business that way.”
With a clientele base of upwards of fifty families and two additional walkers in his employ (he’s about to hire a third), Nogueira has made himself a neighborhood institution.
On a recent sunny weekday morning at the Maria Hernandez dog run, owners and pups alike enthusiastically greeted Nogueira, who was there presiding over a posse of cheerful, relaxed big dogs that included his own husky, Luna, and a female English mastiff who’s on track to become the neighborhood’s biggest dog when she’s fully grown. He says that “Bushwick is like, dog-town, you know, everybody has a dog, everybody who doesn’t have a dog is thinking about getting a dog, so it’s a really dog-friendly neighborhood right now, which I think is perfect.”
Nogueira has had a major success with a dog portraiture series he posts to Bushwick K9’s Instagram account. He says he started shooting photos of his charges at play because his clients would request photos “so they can know how they’re doing when they’re staying over and when they’re going for walks.” The Instagram account became a place to archive those photos, and photographers whose dogs Nogueira walks took notice and recommended that he get a professional camera to shoot with. “I want people to see what I can see in them,” he says. “Especially when it’s like, a crazy action shot, crazy face; it gives a different perspective on them.” We have to say, the Instagram account is an instant pick me up; we highly recommend you check it out.
So say hello next time you see Nogueira around the neighborhood, and if you have a pooch that’s in need of some care, give him a call. He says that he’ll be in business for “as long as I can keep doing it in a way that I think is right, that serves the dogs well, and also pay the bills.”