How I Became a Capital District Dog Walker
So, it started in 1967 in Utica, NY…
Puss, the cat, came into my life. I was three years old. Puss was the first pet that was my responsibility if our family were to take her in. She joined my parents, three older brothers and me, along with Mr. Woo, a Chinese Pug, and Willow, a Parakeet. We moved to Amsterdam, NY on June 29, 1969, my Mom’s birthday, and, shortly after, Puss had her first litter of kittens. What an amazing experience watching her with her babies! We kept one, who we had named JR, and he was crazy! Two years later, we moved again to a small town called Broadalbin NY and only Puss was with us during that move. I was there until I graduated high school in 1982. Over those years, we had Friskie and Sandy, both kittens from Puss. Luvy, a mix breed Poodle and Fritze, also a mix breed (although I’m still not sure what, possibly a Pit Bull mix), joined our family. During those years, I also have beautiful memories of Choc-o-lite, the Rabbit, Crabby, the Hermit Crab, and Sam, the Turtle.
In 1982, I was on my way to college which meant going back to Utica, NY to attend MVCC and proudly graduated with an Associate’s degree in Recreational Leadership. Not being able to live without a furry companion, I got Sebastian, a great kitten who lived happily until he was 19 years old. Mimi, the junkyard cat, joined me. I moved back to Broadalbin, NY in 1986 with Mimi and Sebastian in tow. Mimi ended up staying with my parents and I moved to Fort Lauderdale, FL with Sebastian in 1990. Over the years, I gained some weight (probably weighed in about 180 pounds back then) and decided to get healthy. I left Florida and moved to Manassas, VA with Sebastian. While in Manassas, I lost over 60 pounds and got fit. From there, I decided to go back to Russell Sage College in Troy, NY to learn how I lost that weight and put it to use in order to empower others to do the same. I graduated in 1998 with a BS in Nutrition Science and minor in Exercise Science.
Fast forward to 1998 and I had a whole new career in line. I went from working retail management in sporting goods to management in the health and wellness industry. I moved to Greenville, SC in 2000 where I started at the YMCA as a Wellness Director, then moved to the Greenville Hospital system as a Wellness Director for both of their health clubs. Another opportunity came to me from a local family health club and they brought me on board where I managed three of their health clubs, Sportsclub Greenville, Sportsclub Simpsonville and Sportsclub Five Forks.
In 2008, the economy was down and I experienced my first job loss. I was unaware where or what I would do next for work. I wanted to continue with health and wellness, but this time I wanted to do it on my own. One day, I was out walking my dogs where I do my best thinking. It was right then and there, in that moment I said to myself, “Pets need health and wellness, too!”
It was official. pup-e-cise, LLC was established in 2009. The business in South Carolina flourished but I lost focus on what was most important, my family. As of October, 2014 I am back in Schenectady, NY to care for my aging parents and to be closer to my brothers – and pup-e-cise is leading the pack of Capital District dog walkers!
My goal is not only to help people stay healthy but to also teach people the importance of exercise for their pets. Our pets also have the risk of heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and other health related issues.
Twenty five years ago, I lost over 60 pounds and have been able to maintain my health and fitness through exercising with my pets, as well as many other peoples’ pets. Chloe and Gus are my current pets, all dogs who love to walk, run, and just generally be active. Our pets love to eat just like we do, but by running, walking, playing ball, and staying active one way or another, we are able to maintain our health and fitness.
Just like children, our pets look to us for our guidance and direction and I practice what I preach… walking to stay fit! … and I am proud to be one of the leading Capital District dog walkers.