There isn't a better example of Aussies pursuing their passions than Tom Lillecrapp of the dog walking adventure start-up, Tom + Captain. Tom and his gorgeous Weimaraner, Captain, along with a team of experienced dog walkers provide off-leash, multi-terrain adventures around inner city Melbourne.
This Turner & Hooch duo have one job and one job only: make dogs happy. After leaving his job in commercial real estate in 2013, Tom started up his dog walking business because 'surely it wouldn’t be much more effort to walk other dogs at the same time.' As business started to take off, he took on more walkers and admin staff to cater to the 300-350 dogs they take out each week. In between his daily adventures, we pinned down Tom long enough to ask him a few questions.
When and how did your passion for dog walking begin?
I guess it wasn’t so much ‘dog walking’ it was more ‘dogs’ in general that I have always been interested in. I grew up with Labradors, with our first a guide dog we helped train from a puppy and then handed him back. We had a few more to follow as a family but when I couldn’t wait until I could get my own dog. I chose a very active breed (The Captain breed) of dog and that made me think that while I was walking him I may as well see if anyone else wanted me to walk their dog at the same time.
What has been your biggest career or personal highlight to date?
I think an early highlight was when we realised demand for our business had got to the point where Captain and I couldn’t walk any more dogs in a day and we needed our first staff member.
What do you love most about Bonds hoodies?
It’s a wear-anytime piece of clothing. There aren’t too many pieces of clothing like this you can sleep in and then go out to dinner wearing and not look like an idiot.
Besides hoodies, what are your go-to Bonds essentials?
Socks and underwear. If you ask Captain the same question but add ‘to chew?’ at the end of the question, he would also say the same - socks and underwear.
Which three songs are always at the top of your playlist?
I’m a radio sort of guy. I can’t decide… so Triple J and Gold but certainly turning up some Kendrick and Gorillaz at the moment.
What five items would you take to a desert island?
1. Captain and my girlfriend.
2. HEAPS of wine.
3. Elon Musk (he would invent, entertain and probably save us).
4. A tool to open coconuts.
5. A solar powered full fridge with magic restocking abilities (or will Uber Eats still work there? And if it does I will need a smart phone so replace ‘a tool to open coconuts’ as I could probably use a rock for that).
What piece advice do you wish you’d known when starting out?
Some dogs just don’t like everyone. Don’t take it personally.