About Joan, Founder of Pet Connections and Head Dog Walker:

My name is Joan. I am the founder and owner of Pet Connections. I was attending music classes in 1993 when I first started walking dogs for a well-known Oak Park Pet Service (part time). I felt lucky to be selected for the job and was very enthusiastic and excited to be doing it. At first I was unable to tell a Rottweiller from a Boxer and had some very funny experiences trying to handle the dogs I was assigned to.

Looking back on that 12 years later I realize the vast amount of experience I have gained in many areas that affect the health and training of canines and felines. I could probably say I've walked over 5000 dogs in that period and handled dogs of almost every breed from the littlest Maltese to the largest-a 130lb Siberian Husky!

I've handled dominant dogs like a 67lb Akita mix named Sierra who never stops reminding every dog on her block that she's the boss and will be glad to prove it. Dogs who are senile and incontinent, dogs that are overweight and can barely walk, or dogs that are diabetic and need insulin injections. I've met beautiful Devon Rex cats and an Abyssinian cat - his name is Yoshi.

As I came to know all these dogs and cats I have formed deep and loving relationships with them based on an appreciation of the their individuality and characteristics. I love the gentleness and independence of the felines, I appreciate the loyalty and goofiness of the Akita mix, the playfulness of my Bichon friend, Chloe - her favorite trick is running around you in circles or devilishly stealing the cats food, or the sweet shyness of my favorite cocker spaniel. I've come to understand how important the ball is to Kate, the golden retriever.

Each and every new dog I meet excites me and makes me happier. If I had a motto I guess it would be so many dogs, so little time. They never cease to amaze me. Perhaps the biggest reason I founded Pet Connections was the joy it gives me in making all these pets feel happy and content when their owners can't be there. To me it is a very rewarding and important job and that's why I love doing it.

I consider Pet Connections a home away from home for my pet clients. I attend to their needs on an individual basis. After all, each dog and cat is different and unique. When I send a pet sitter to your home that is the only person your dog or cat will know. We only hire those who have experience with cats and dogs and we don't hire them on a seasonal basis. All of our staff is hired and trained by me. I must feel confident that they know how to properly care for your pet. In this way your pet gets the most expert care we can give.

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