Picture the scene.....
it was January 2011, I was sitting in my fairly posh office in Leeds, complete with glass walls and my own parking space, looking forward to the year ahead.
And yet I wasn't looking forward to it, as I realised that I didn't want this to be it. I'd been a family lawyer for over 20 years, but I was about to make one phone call home that was going to change everything!
Fortunately, my husband Steve (who I was ringing), said 'go for it' as he was equally sick of my 6.30 am departures and arriving home late. We just had to think of an alternative.
At about the same time, we were adopting our handsome greyhound Buddy from Greyhound Gap. We could have him on the condition that we found a dog walker to break up the day for him (and our other dogs). No problem I said, we'll do that.
But it wasn't easy (in fact it was impossible), to find someone who would take my dogs on their own to our local park, and I just didn't feel comfortable with the idea of them being walked in a group with other dogs that I didn't know, away from home.
So..... maybe you can see where this is going..... I had a plan, and six months later, York Walkies was born and I skipped out of that office never to return.
I really had no idea back then how much I would love it; what pleasure it would give me to build from scratch, a little business that I am now so proud of, spend all my days with dogs, meet so many people who love their dogs, and to get completely and happily exhausted every day in all weathers and all seasons.
It may sound sentimental, but I pretty much feel that my life began in 2011 as I had finally found something I loved to do, rather than working just to earn a living. How brilliant is that??!!!
All these years later, I still feel the same, and York Walkies has brought me the very best friends, two legged and four, and has enabled me to spend more time with my own hounds and family, which was of course the point of it all.
I'm currently owned by three greyhounds - Buddy, Woody and Clarice, who just like all the other dogs who have shared my life, have been rescued, and have had challenges and issues to deal with. My dogs are and always will be, my family, and life revolves a bit around them.
And then there were two.....
In January 2013 I needed surgery on my knee and my wonderful friend Rachael, who I'd known since I moved to York in 1992, offered to help me out.
She drove me about while I was out of action, we went together to meet the dogs, and I read a book and fidgeted while she took 'my' dog friends out for their walks. I missed them!!
It worked well and by the end of the week Rachael realised that she loved what I was doing too, and asked to join the team.
She is one of the few people I would hand my dog leads over to, and I knew she would be perfect, so rather unexpectedly, York Walkies wasn't standing still as I had assumed it would, but was growing!
Rachael is kind, would do anything for anyone, absolutely loves dogs, and is super reliable and careful. More than that, amazingly, she seems happy to tolerate working with a total control freak and is able to put up with me, so we became Team York Walkies.
Rachael's family includes Prima the staffie and Peggy the dachshund, two of the most spoilt dogs I know (and trust me I know a lot of lucky dogs!) Prima and Peggy are both elderly ladies now but as Rachael is the puppy department, she also gets to play with lots of lively, fun and boisterous dogs too. What a good balance!
And then there were three....
In 2017, another doggy friend Helen, joined the team after realising that we could do with an extra pair of legs.
Helen is another long time greyhound mum, and had lived a few doors down from me. In fact, going back about 18 years, two of our dogs, both called Tess, were arch enemies, and so we didn't talk for a while as we couldn't get near each other!
As time passed we did manage conversations and realised that we shared a love of all things to do with pointy dogs and rescue dogs.
When Helen got in touch, I surprised myself by saying yes I would love you to join us, and so we are now three!
Helen's gang of dogs are Lime, a Spanish galgo, and Benny and Pippa, the friendliest and happiest of hounds, who have the widest smiles and the waggiest tails.
So that's us. If you want to know anything more, you just have to ask (provided it's to do with dogs and us....)
The benefits of York Walkies:
- I provide a reliable one to one dog walking and pet visiting service in and around York.
- I offer a free consultation to enable us to discuss your dog walking or pet visiting requirements and your dog’s needs.
- I’m fully insured and can provide an up to date police check.
- I can send you a text message at the end of the walk to reassure you that your dog has been walked and is back home safely.
“Tina at York Walkies puts her whole heart into her work and looks after my dogs as if they were her own. She’s trustworthy and conscientious and my two elderly greyhound boys absolutely adore her!”
Keris - Huntington
“I think the most important factor when looking for a dog walker is someone who really cares for animals and puts their needs first - Tina does that and it's obvious that both of our dogs love her."
Liz - Poppleton
“Having looked around at a number of dog walking options, I believe that Tina offers a great service with real value for money. I felt much happier knowing that all the time she was out, Wilma was actually enjoying a walk rather than being cooped up in a van with lots of other dogs. Wilma is a large and boisterous dog but Tina is always kind and firm and handled her really well. More than that Wilma is always delighted to see her. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Tina 100%."
Kirsty - York