To all our clients, partners, friends, and dogs,
Windy City Paws emerged from a period of nationwide uncertainty. In a challenging year, swaths of people were unemployed, anxiety about the future was high, and some folks barely wanted to leave their house.
2008 had a few things in common with 2020, I’m just saying.
In 2008, Katie Pape’s job in the financial world shuttered as a result of the global financial crisis. She decided that there was enough excitement in that sector, so she focused on her main love: taking care of dogs.
She wanted to make a point that dog-walking services could do better, having used dog-walking services in the past while at work, but never getting everything she needed. Who exactly is walking the dog? What happened on the walk? Is the walker really out with my dog or are they sitting in my kitchen sipping LaCroix? How can I ensure my pet is getting everything they need from a professional-level walker? And is my pet actually enjoying their time with this person?
After working as a dog walker in Chicago, Katie realized she could make the dog-walking service she wanted to see in the world, the kind of place she knew could provide peace of mind to pets and people alike. With expertise, ideas, and a facility to make those ideas a reality, she created Windy City Paws.
Over the next 11 years, Windy City Paws built up a loyal clientele, a dedicated and well-trained team of office staff and walkers, and oversaw and coordinated hundreds of thousands of walks. The company was voted Chicago Reader’s best dog walking service for two years running, and ranked on Yelp as a top-notch five-star service.
Then in 2020 – well, we don’t need to tell you.
Windy City Paws was deemed an essential business so while it continued to operate, it did so on a reduced level. Many clients suspended services during the spring and summer and many employees left Chicago to be closer to family, be safe and save money. It was a definite setback. Over time in the field, we saw that many of the dogs we were caring for had changing triggers and setbacks with people and city life so we conceptualized and started a new service, Training Walks, to meet this need head on. In 2021 we were able to gain back many of our staff, walkers, and loyal clients. In 2021, we performed 25,000 30-minute dog walks and served 680 clients!
Reaching our 13th anniversary was not a guarantee or easily won, and we are immensely grateful for everyone who helped us through a challenging couple of years. To everyone who ever worked, walked, and chose us as their dedicated pet care service through these ups and downs, we want to shout out THANK YOU! Thirteen times over, THANK YOU!
To Marianne, out longest-serving walker at 9 years: THANK YOU!
To all our clients in our most popular service zip codes, 60614, 60610, and 60656: THANK YOU!
To everyone who helped made October of 2021 our busiest time of last year: THANK YOU!
To our current pups with the most common names, 11 Lunas, 8 Sophies/Sofis, 7 Cocos and 7 Ollies: AWWW!
We are so happy to be your chosen dog walkers, and with your support we hope to be there for you for another 13 years!
Windy City Paws