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Spring is in full effect and the flowers are blooming all around us! This month we highlight S’wooft team member Kris, who left her long-term high-end retail job last year and planted roots in her new role working with animals. Just as she worked her magic in the retail industry by providing superior customer service and individualized attention to her clientele, she has now taken that experience and applies it to the dogs that she walks, as well as to the greater pet community that she serves. She has blossomed in her role and has been an asset to Team S’wooft!

Kris always wanted to work with animals, but it never seemed to work out until she found S’wooft. In the past (and even now), her family, friends and neighbors had always counted on her to watch their dogs when they went away, so she figured that not only would dog walking suit her, but she’d also be able to get in a good work out at the same time.

Kris’s interest in animals goes back to the tender age of 5, when her grandparents brought home a cockapoo puppy named Fifi. Kris’s family had always been surrounded by not only dogs, but other animals as well, including hamsters, birds, lizards and ducks. Yes, even ducks... in the city! Kris remembers Fifi of being so smart; she made sure to keep Kris and her siblings in line. When her parents went out for the night and when they returned, Fifi remained on the couch while all four kids sat on the floor and watched TV. Fifi didn’t allow the children on the couch. If one of them got up, she kept a watchful eye on that child and made sure she knew where they were going. (Talk about the perfect babysitter!) In addition to her protective nature, she really had a sweet temperament. Fifi was the queen and Kris and her family made sure to treat Fifi as such.

As an adult, Kris has had several dogs that have impacted her life. During their time together, she and her husband Bob have had four Labradors. Each one has had an impact on her life due to each one not only having a distinguishable personality, but also an unfortunate health issue to battle. Their first pup Remer suffered from Cushing’s disease. This is when a non-cancerous tumor forms in the pituitary gland and this causes excessive release of ACTH (a pituitary-released hormone), which results in an elevated production of cortisol. This condition causes an increase in appetite because of the raised cortisol levels, as well as fatigue and poor hair coat.

Kris’s dog Otis braved through his battle with cancer, even after having had half his jaw removed. Despite his health challenges, he lived 15 happy years! Kris and Bob’s twins Jake & Elwood also had their share of health concerns. Elwood suffered from a health condition and lost his sight before he passed away 2 ½ years ago. A few doctors had suggested that he be put to sleep, but Kris and Bob decided against their advice. Because of this, Elwood lived another two years of quality life. Jake recently lost his jaw due to cancer, like his brother Otis had. Thankfully, he is doing well and making sure to not let this slow him down from being the happy and loving dog that he is. The fact that all her pups overcame obstacles and persevered when things got bad certainly made an impact on Kris and her family. The challenges that her pups faced never slowed them down.

Kris’s love and compassion for animals is evident in the dogs that she raised at home as part of her family, as well as those that she takes care of at S’wooft. We asked her how she landed at S’wooft and to tell us a little more about her story with us.

Why did you choose to work for S’wooft?

K: When I decided to leave retail and was considering walking dogs, I went online and S’wooft was the very first one on the page. S’wooft allows me to work close to home, so I can let my dog out if I need to. One year later I am loving it!

What is one tip that you would give on finding a good dog walker or on dog walking?

K: I think a good dog walker needs to have patience and a very even keel temperament. The retail world is where I learned this quality. One needs patience working with the public, as well as with animals. A person could not work in high-end retail for a long period of time without providing exceptional customer service and possessing superior listening skills. That’s what I did for many years. When walking dogs, it’s necessary to pay attention to their body language and to “listen” to them. That’s their way of telling me what they need or what they’re looking for.

Kris has shown us many times over that she possesses tolerance and a positive nature to be an effective and

responsible dog walker. She also has respect for all living creatures. She doesn’t kill spiders or centipedes in her house but rather relocates them. “If they’re in my basement they can stay there!” Her best memory of spending the day is going up to northern Wisconsin with her dogs and watching them jump off the docks for their toy. She told us that she could do that for hours, followed by sitting on the dock while watching the sunset and waiting for them to dry.

Can it get any better than that? S’wooft is privileged to have such a compassionate soul on the team, and the pet community is also fortunate to have her!

For more on Kris and the rest of Team S’wooft, check out Our Team!

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