"I've walked dogs in DC for a long time, since 1992. I started walking dogs because I was laid off from my job. I used to work for a law firm and my neighbor was a full-time dog walker, and she suggested that I start doing this when I was looking for work. So, she promoted me around the neighborhood by putting a small sign up in Marion Park advertising my services. The funny thing is that I was afraid of dogs as a younger person. As I got older, I realized that dogs are more your friend than your enemy.
"To be a good dog walker, the first thing that you have to know is that the dogs can feel if you love them or not. This has never really been a problem with me because I love all animals. Each dog has its own personality and can be a lot like a person. Actually, they are more like infants because they never talk.
"You know, when I was in the workplace, I really didn't know my neighborhood like I do know. At that time, I was either in the office or at home. But this way, I have gotten to meet all of the neighbors, including those who have lived here since the 1930's, and the police department. I help the police with suspicious packages and other things. I've seen a lot of kids grow up here, too, because I am always out, walking around. I have really learned a lot about many things in my neighborhood. I think that many people in Capitol Hill are so fascinated by living in DC that they don't take advantage of the wealth of information in their older neighbors who have been here forever.
"This job, also, is great exercise and keeps me in great shape. There is no stress in my work or queen bee attitudes. At the end of the day, my feet are tired, but I always say it was worth it. You feel so much better about yourself and your life when you are making a contribution and serving people. This job is so rewarding."
Joanne is pictured with Highway.