One thing we love about operating a dog walking business is the amazing people that come to work with us and the fresh perspectives they offer! Dog walkers come from all walks of life (pun not originally intended), and each one takes something special and unique from their personal experience and applies it to their tasks of caring for our clientele’s pets. Read on to discover how Rachel, this month’s featured walker, uses dog walking to find peace, harmony, and joy in her everyday adventures.
Rachel came to us with an open heart and a willingness to work hard in the heat of the summer. As an avid biker, she puts forth a lot of physical effort to make it to all her walks in a scheduled day and ensure each dog gets out in a timely manner. Rachel frequently assists our team with additional walks in the mornings, evenings, weekends, and even in the middle of her already busy day! Rachel is also a thoroughly responsible On-Call Manager for all of DDI’s after-hours needs. We greatly admire her dedication to her work and the love she provides to all the canines and felines that she provides services to.
DDI: Why did you decide to become a dog walker?
Rachel: When I figured out there was a job where I could hang out with cute animals and bike around all day, I said, sign me up! I started working at DDI after traveling in Southeast Asia for a year and was looking for a way to spend the summer outside–what could be better than a Chicago summer strolling the tree-lined streets of Lincoln Park with pups? Little did I know, being a dog walker would turn into an all-season career!
DDI: What is your favorite thing about the job and DDI?
Rachel: Dogs inspire me to seize every moment! Walking in the morning sunshine with a loyal dog by my side is my idea of perfect harmony. For me, dog walking is like a walking meditation. I focus on being emotionally present with the dog and the beauty of nature. As much as I love warm weather, we all know that in Chicago that is a fleeting experience. The dogs have taught me to live life with gusto, even in a blizzard! I feel so fortunate to have found my center at DDI. As my dog walking territory is very close to the office, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the friendly, hard-working managers. On occasion, I even get to swing by the office while on a walk with a dog in tow, which the dogs love because they get showered with attention!
DDI: Tell us about your passions/hobbies!
Rachel: Biking has been a passion of mine since childhood. Working as a dog walker has definitely helped me take biking to the next level. I bike commute from Pilsen, which is about seven miles from Lincoln Park, bike from dog to dog at work, and then bike back home with maybe a stop or two along the way. On an average work day, I usually end up doing 20-30 miles of combined biking and walking, sometimes up to 40! Follow me on Strava if you want to see my crazy days all mapped out. Last summer I did my first bike tour from Chicago to South Haven, Michigan, where my family has a summer cottage. I set a personal record for distance at 84 miles from the Indiana Dunes to South Haven. It was exhausting yet exhilarating! This year I have my sights set on bike touring out west, possibly Utah or Colorado. When I’m not on a bike adventure, I’m probably at home cooking, because my other passion is eating! My bagel sandwiches are somewhat legendary at the office–portable, easy to eat on the job, and delicious!
DDI: What would you like our readers and clients to know most about you?
Rachel: It is so rewarding to bond with your dog! I think about the dogs all the time, even when I’m not at work. Sometimes I’ll just start laughing out loud when I’m daydreaming about all the funny things they do. And let’s be honest, why spend your day with humans when you can be with dogs instead?