Katie

Owner

I was born to run a dog walking business…
I just had to lose my job to know it!

My love of dogs began as early as it gets

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t begging my parents for a dog or dreaming of being a vet. Finally, when I was eight years old, we got our first family pet, a beautiful Golden Retriever named Ginger. I loved everything about having a furry companion – we did everything together! I’ve had a dog in my life ever since- two Golden Retrievers and one King Charles Cavalier Spaniel!

I was never totally satisfied being a dog walking customer

After graduating from the University of Michigan (GO BLUE!), I was working in the financial world and frequently had to use a dog walker for my pups – though I was never fully satisfied with the service I was getting and the peace of mind I had with those companies. When the financial industry crashed and my company closed its doors, I decided to refocus on my love of animals. I took a break from the corporate world and started walking dogs myself in the city.

I thought, ‘I can do dog walking better. I can give peace of mind to dog parents’

After six months walking dogs, I realized how much I loved it and saw the peace of mind and value I was able to bring to my clients.  Being around dogs, playing, loving, caring for dogs was at the core of my life. I understood both what a client needs and wants in a dog walking service and also what the walker needs and enjoys as well.  So I made the decision to take a leap and start Windy City Paws!

What we’re about

I hope that my passion for animals and top notch service shines through when you work with anyone on the Windy City Paws team! We strive to provide the most caring, loving and professional dog walking and sitting services for dogs and their owners in Chicago.


Jamie

Operations Manager
jamieI grew up in Michigan with a large family that included our ever-faithful Golden Retriever, numerous cats and a tiny goldfish. Every summer we would go cross-country camping for three weeks straight, our family dog included! He was always the first one in the car and my mom & dad insisted that he was the “best” kid during the entire trip. I graduated from Michigan State University, majoring in Hospitality Business and kicked-off my career working at the Happiest Place on Earth in Orlando, FL to then working with two of Chicago’s favorite sports teams, the Bulls & the Blackhawks to then creating memories for children and their dolls dining together at American Girl to more recently hiring, training and staffing private events for a small staffing agency. It has been a few years since experiencing the loss of my very own pet but I have been lucky enough to be an “Aunt” to my friend’s and family’s many pets!


Marco

Field Operations Supervisor
I grew up in the burbs of Chicago before making my way to Pittsburg to study graphic design and then moving back to Chicago in 2012. I have been around animals practically my whole life, having grown up in a veritable zoo of dogs, cats, birds, fish, and small furry critters and now owning two absolutely ridiculous rescue pit-mixes Mako and Hercules, affectionally dubbed the Nerd Herd. I’ve been a regular fixture in the pet community around Andersonville for a little over 3 years and I’m excited to apply all I’ve learned to my work here at Windy City Paws! When not constantly surrounding myself with all sorts of animals I also enjoy cooking, Lego building, and DMing for a DnD group.


Shannon

Scheduling Coordinator
I’m so happy to join the Windy City Paws team! I’m originally from East Texas and have always been a dog lover. I currently have three dogs – a very spoiled Pomeranian, a Pit Bull and a mixed breed. Having always had dogs and adored them, finding employment at Windy City Paws is so exciting! I currently live with my husband of 25 years (Joe) and my 19 year old son. During my free time, I like to read and visit with family who live nearby.


Gary

Client Success Specialist
garyI joined the Windy City Paws team in 2013 as a walker fresh off the plane from Santa Barbara, CA just in time for one of the coldest winters in Chicago history. Since then I’ve put in several years as a walker and a couple more as Walker Manager, as well as being an office representative. My family husky, Yukon, is currently living the dream back in Southern California, but fortunately working with WCP helps fill the ideally-55-but-actually-closer-to-60 lbs hole in my life. Though not at all helpful to WCP, my BFA in Acting has been put to use in the Chicago improv and musical theatre communities, as well as in my evening job as a game night host. In my spare time I enjoy playing guitar, watching real nerdy TV/movies, playing even nerdier video games, and talking myself out of buying very large LEGO sets that I frankly don’t have space for.


Garrett

Walker Assistant
garrettI grew up in Oklahoma City, where we always had a dog. I grew up with a Boston Terrier named Molly, a chihuahua mix named Tipsy, and a true mystery breed named Jake (not even seasoned professionals could determine an exact breed for the sweet guy). All my dogs were rescued from local shelters in Oklahoma. I moved to Chicago in the fall of 2016 after studying Music Theatre in college and started with Windy City Paws as a dog walker in January of 2017. I’m so happy to be working in the pet care field with such a wonderful, committed company. When I’m not providing assistance to our amazing walkers, I’m usually playing video games, listening to arena-rock of the 1970’s and 80’s, or learning Japanese.


Valerie

Training Supervisor
garretI grew up in Southern Illinois on family farms with all types of animals. I have always had a passion for animal care! As a kid, you could always find me in the barn or somewhere with the animals. I studied Marketing and Communication Design in southern Illinois then eventually moved to Chicago for work. I worked in wholesale retail for 10 years managing accounts at different retail locations, training teams on our products, services, presentation, and analyzing business sales. In my previous job, I traveled a lot for work and constantly had pet sitters for my two spoiled cats. I was always envious of the pet sitters getting to love on our furry friends all day.

Then I started as a walker with Windy City Paws and was immediately in love with the job! I love spending time with the animals and giving them the best possible care. I became internally certified to perform training walks and felt extremely rewarded watching dogs feel proud of themselves and grow more confident in their walks as we worked on training behaviors. I am so excited to be the Training Supervisor to continue ensuring our furry family members receive the best possible care from all our team members! My number one priority is that your furry family feels engaged, active, and loved during our time with them. When I am not loving on animals you will still find me outside surrounding myself in nature, tending to plants, or hiking.


Mia

Original Mascot
miaMia joined Windy City Paws as the founding Mascot in 2009 alongside Katie. She was the inspiration behind the design of the Windy City Paws logo and was an affectionate and beloved co-worker. Mia passed away at 14 years old in 2021 and is remembered fondly by everyone who knew her. Katie is forever a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel lover!


Margot Flamingo

Mascot-in-Training
mia and zeldaMargot Flamingo joined Windy City Paws in September 2020 by way of the ASPCA and Felines and Canines. Offered a relocation package she couldn’t resist, Margot made the long trip from Alabama to start a new life in the big city at the young age of 8 weeks. Our Stragety Consultant, Cosette, is to thank for Margot Flamingo’s unique name.


Cosette

Strategy Consultant
I joined Windy City Paws in December of 2015 as an outside consultant in charge of disrupting the dog walking marketplace. My impact has been felt in both the bottom line and culture. In September 2020, I was newly tasked with overseeing the mascot training program, which has quickly become a major initiative that involves accident mitigation and behavior optimization efforts.