The story of how and why I became I a dogwalker, is integral to the story of
how I acquired my now 12 year old female yellow lab, Maizy. Maizy is a testament to
the reasons why puppy mills, backyard breeding, and pet stores that sell these dogs,
are not good. But I digress . . .
I was living in southern California ( Huntington Beach), and was working at one
of the afore mentioned pet stores that sold puppies (I was young and naive).
When Maizy had arrived on the truck, after being shipped cross-country when
she was a mere 2 months old, she already had the extremely communicable
doggy cold; Kennel Cough. It was advanced enough, that instead of keeping
her at the store in the quarantine area, she was taken directly to the vet,
where she was to stay for the next 3 months of her life, and her condition was
to deteriorate into severe pneumonia that scarred her lungs for life.
The company I worked for was asking the employees if they wanted a free dog.
Puppies lose their value as they age, and with Maizy well on 5 months, it would
have been difficult enough to have sold her even if she was healthy. As it was, the
store had lost several thousand dollars because they were having to pay the vet bills trying to get her
better. Recuperating in a box at the vet's office was costly and ineffective; she was getting worse. That meant the store would be pouring
more money into her, with little promise of her getting better, and no return on the investment of her being sold.
Which is where we found each other.
I had been yearning for a dog, as I had grown up with dogs my entire life. When I visited Maizy for the first time, she could walk only
small distances, but the most obvious problem was her trouble breathing because of all the sludge and scarring the pneumonia had
wreaked on her lungs. The vet told me there was a 50/50 chance she would live or die, and that I shouldn't feel responsible if she was
to up and die unexpectedly one day in the (then) near future.
Armed with an assortment of antibiotics and other medications, I realized the best way to expel the mucus from her lungs was for
her to run and exercise, something that the small kennel at the vets office could not provide her with, and across the street from my
house- was a dogpark.
I had never been to a fenced in dogpark and neither had Maizy, but her sheer joy and bliss once she was playing with other dogs and
actually running was something I will never forget. Soon, Maizy was being chased allover the park within months of my adopting her,
and while she still coughed and hacked, she was sprinting, running, being chased, and playing like the 5 month old puppy she was.
I began to get acquainted with the dogpark regulars, and was disbelieving and completely envious of the woman who always showed
up with a van full of dogs, and she made a living from it.
The seed was planted.
When I moved to Seattle, I was encouraged by friends and family to turn my love for dogs into a business of dog park outings,
considering this areas love affair with dogs. And the rest is history as they say. . .
Due to a failing heart, my beloved girl fell asleep in my arms forever this past June. She lived 13 long and happy years, and I am forever changed because of her. She steered the decisions in my life, and I cannot be more grateful to have been so lucky to have had her by my side.
I love my job, and even though I went to school (while running this business) and received my B.A. in Elementary Education from Western Washington University, AND completed my teacher certification, I chose dog walking over a career as a teacher.
I am dedicated to learning and running this business in the best way possible.
If you read all that, thank you for taking the time!
What do you love most about dogs? Their infinite capacity for love & loyalty.
What kind of dog did you have growing up? A golden retriever named Maddy
What was your favorite thing about that dog? She was soooo sweet & well tempered! My little brother would pull her tail & stuff (terrible 2's), & she never minded. She did like me the best however. :)
What do you love most about dogwalking? Being able to always be myself, whether it's goofy me or not enough coffee me- they're thrilled to see me no matter what.
What is your favorite dessert? Cheesecake probably or anything Death by Chocolate themed.
What do you love most about Seattle? I absolutely love all the parks, beaches, & arboretums. Year round you can always find something beautiful to do outside.
What do you love most about dogs? Their happiness is contagious: even when it's miserable outside, they're so excited to see you that you just can't help but smile.
What kind of dog did you have growing up? a big Bernese Mountain Dog named Beric.
What was your favorite thing about that dog? He never judged me on my emotional days, he was always down for an adventure (even if he got tired after 20 minutes), and he was the perfect size for epic cuddles... drool supplied free of charge, of course.
What do you love most about dogwalking? I love that I get to spend time with the happiest faces and most positive vibes on the planet. Nothing makes my day like a dog getting SUPER excited about seeing me - I get to be their hero and get them outside and that feels pretty awesome. They all have unique personalities and one of the best parts about this job is getting to know what makes each of them really happy.
What is your dessert? Basically anything chocolate.
What do you love most about Seattle? Having lived in the PNW my whole life, I actually don't mind the rain and I'm definitely partial to Seattle's superior coffee. The ocean on one side and the mountains on the other side - what more could you ask for?
Custom Pet Portraits: By Kate
Kate is an incredibly talented, kind, humble person.
She can create one-of-a-kind, gorgeous, pet portraits for you.
The art featured here is of Charlie the Bernese Mountain Dog
Legend. He was one of the most handsome, loving, and crafty food-stealers I have ever met. I loved him dearly, and was blessed (seriously), to have been his dogwalker.
Kate created this piece, and the details are even better in person.
Please contact Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org If you are interested in her creating a portrait for you.