The story of how and why I became a dog walker is integral to the story of how I acquired my now 12 year old female yellow lab, Maizy. She 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 Huntington Beach in Southern California and was working at one of the afore mentioned pet stores that sold puppies (I was young and naive). When Maizy arrived on the truck, after being shipped cross-country when she was 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 under quarantine, she was taken directly to the vet. She stayed there for the next 3 months and her condition was to deteriorate into severe pneumonia that scarred her lungs for life.
The company I worked for was asking employees if they wanted a free dog. Puppies lose their value as they age and with Maizy at 5 months old, it would have been difficult to sell 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 for her recovery. Maizy was recuperating in a box at the vet’s office which was expensive plus her condition was getting worse.
“I was encouraged by my friends and family to turn my love for dogs into a business of dog park outings.”
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 only walk small distances and had trouble breathing because of the scarring from pneumonia. 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 unexpectedly pass away 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 vet’s office could not provide her with. Luckily I had a dog park across from my house.
I had never been to a fenced-in dog park and neither had Maizy. Once she was playing with other dogs, she expressed sheer joy and bliss. I will never forget that day while I watched her run around being chased all over the park within months of adopting her. While she still coughed and hacked, she was still sprinting, running, being chased and playing like the 5-month old puppy she was.
I began to get acquainted with the dog park 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 how much Seattle loves dogs. And the rest is history as they say…
Due to a failing heart, my beloved girl fell asleep in my arms forever in June of 2017, at home. 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 miss her more as the days go by, but we are gifted with the short time we are given with these furry creatures who become family.
If you are interested in an at-home farewell I can definitely recommend Compassion 4 Paws.
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 to work with dogs because it makes me happy and joyful, and let’s be honest… it’s a little less stressful 😉
I am dedicated to learning and running this business in the best way possible, and your dogs well-being is of the utmost importance to me. We strive to have fun and reinforce happiness, confidence, and exhaustion in your dog! A tired dog, is a good dog.
If you read all that, thank you so much for taking the time, and I hope to be meeting you and your dogger soon!
Dogs En Route Team Member
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 sooooo sweet & well tempered! My little brother would pull her tail & stuff (terrible 2’s) and she never minded. She did like me the best though! 🙂
What do you love most about dog walking? 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? Probably cheesecake 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.
Whether you’re looking for park outings, leash walks or pet sitting, we offer a variety of services to meet your dog’s needs.