Entrusting Mr. Barkypants, my first-born son, to a dog walker is akin to how I imagine it might feel to someday entrust a less furry child of mine to a nanny: He/She sure as hell better be committed, conscientious, able to survive blizzards*, and love Mr. Barkypants as his/her own. Using this (perhaps slightly unreasonable) standard, I interviewed many, many dog walkers before I found Walks With Zara Chicago Dog Wlalkers, a dog walking company that Russell and his business partner own and operate. Though I haven't yet had to put them to the blizzard test*, it is clear that Russell is an excellent dog walker and human being. I feel strongly about not having just any random person walk Mr. Barkypants: I've witnessed how some walkers who work at larger operations treat (or rather mistreat) the 5-10 dogs they walk at once. Sadly, it doesn't seem uncommon for some dog walkers, on the north-side at least, to roughly yank leashes or yell and scream at dogs, or to refuse to stop walking to allow one of their charges to use the little dog's room, or to tie dogs up to a post in the park while the walker enjoys a cigarette and long chat with his friends. I am confident that Russell does NOT do this; Mr. Barkypants would probably behave very differently with him than he does. Interestingly, though Mr. Barkypants isn't terribly fond of strangers and he is particularly non-fond of strangers who are male and who wear hats, he took to the hat-wearing Russell like he took to liver treats from the first or second walk on. Russell has a gentle, quiet, calm, non-domineering manner with dogs (and humans, really). He isn't embarrassed about speaking to dogs in goofy voices -- a talent I quite appreciate. Moreover, wrt his human dealings, too, Russell is prompt and as honest as Abe: He lets us know when he isn't able to walk a full hour (because of severe weather or sickness) and deducts from his pay despite our asking him to take the full amount. Rates, by the way, are extremely reasonable for Chicago dog walking, especially since Mr. Barkypants gets Russell all to himself on walks. According to their website, Russell is bonded and insured as a dog walker and is a member of the Association of pet sitters. I can speak with knowledge about Russell's excellent credentials as a dog walker. He *will* treat your dogs with respect and patience -- or at least I'm pretty sure they will based on how they've treated my first born son. I can't recommend him enough.
Recently our little love, Vega, blew out her knee! We got her to the vet and an expensive surgery was scheduled. They told us that AFTER the surgery was a very important time--12 weeks for her bone to heal! We'd have to severely restrict her activity to allow proper healing. We have 2 long days per week where were gone for over 9 hours and decided we needed some help with letting Vega out to potty. Russell came to mind since he's a friend of a friend. My friend Lance described him to me as "a dog whisperer"! Walks With Zara Dog Walkers are so professional. The other review mentions her intake papers-and I agree-they are very thorough! You definitely get the feeling that he cares and is responsible. It's a great feeling to know that he's thought of things you may have forgotten. he has a great interaction with my dog, and with me! I appreciate his attention to detail and compassionate nature. Also appreciated are his prices. I found them to be very reasonable! I highly recommend Walks With Zara Dog Walkers!
From the very first phone call I made into Walks With Zara Dog Walkers about their dog walking service, I knew this was the kind of company I was going to do business with. My experience with every aspect of Walks With Zara Dog Walkers, from the care they give to my little dog pico, the communication to me about their walks with him and their expertise when I have questions and issues about my dog has been extraordinary and invaluable to me. I have recommended Walks With Zara Dog Walkers to friends who are now using their service. Thank you, Walks With Zara Dog Walkers for all you've done for me and my dog, Pico and for the peace of mind you allow me while I'm away from my apartment at work. Russell Has been very helpful to me when I have had questions about Pico. I have taken advantage of Russell's experience as a dog trainer. Christine pico's walker is the best. She is so trustworthy, loving to my dog, wonderful communicator, very responsive and positive and encouraging. Christine, you are greatly appreciated!