A former filmmaker has swapped gritty flicks for waggy walkies with her new, very furry, venture.

Meeting lifelong dog lover Maria Maloney, you’d never guess she was once murdered in the movies.

But this warm and fascinating character has left her family-run company Pie and Mash Film Productions behind and put her best paw forward to start Maria’s Dog Walking Service.

Ideal for pet owners who are out and about during the day, Hither Green-based Maria is happy to walk pooches from Greenwich, Lewisham and surrounding areas.

I joined her and Dixie, the darling Jack Russell terrier cross, on a sun-drenched stroll around Greenwich this week to hear her exciting tale.

“Before I started dog walking my husband and I were doing independent filmmaking.” Maria told me.

“We made two fiction films, Lunatic and The Blunderers, and they went out on DVD.

“They were really gritty south London films – I was drowned in the bath in Lunatic.

“But our distribution company went bust and we lost everything.

“My husband carried on and makes documentaries now.

“I got to a point where I thought ‘it’s time reality kicked in’.

“I’d rather do something I will be happy doing, even if it doesn’t earn as much.

“I love dogs and I love walking so why not combine the two?”

Maria grew up always having dogs around her.

She added: “I love their trust and unconditional love.

“Although they are dependent on you they are very calming as well.

“I think with any kind of dog, if you show it love and that you’re in charge, you can build a bond you can’t get with people.”

Since she began her business six months ago, Maria, 53, has had an incredible impact on her four-footed clients.

Walking alongside Dixie, I never would have suspected this calm, happy little two-year-old terrier used to be tense and scared of cars.

Maria, who was also editor of a legal magazine for 20 years, told me: “I like having an effect on the dogs.

“Dixie’s owner Fiona was actually at the point where she had to decide whether to keep her or let her go.

“She was more or less uncontrollable.

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“She escaped one day and disappeared - Fiona was absolutely frantic.

“They thought they had lost her forever but Dixie had homed in on where they used to live and ended up on the train tracks at Greenwich station.

“Some angel lady who worked in a cafe saw her and waved at the stationary train.

“Instantly people jumped off the train and onto the tracks to rescue Dixie.

“She’s changed so much since I started walking her – but she still doesn’t like a uniform.”

Maria now walks four regular clients of different breeds and also offers a house-sitting service, during which she will look after the family’s animals, for £50 a night.

She believes the hour-long walk and playing changes her canine companions’ lives.

She added: “I think the problem is mainly boredom when dogs are left alone all day – they thrive on human contact.

“I charge £10 per hour and for £10 a day to be able to keep your dog and know it’s happy, is £10 well spent.”

Maria’s website is updated regularly with quirky dog tales.

Visit mariasdogwalkingservice.weebly.com or call 07710 416470.