March 4, 2019
Joanne joined our team in November 2016. She manages the Horner Park and Irving Park area for us. Joanne’s love of this work can be contagious. She puts 200% into everything she does and she cares immensely for the company and the people that hire Rover-Time.
Knowing that our customers are always looking for a better sense of the person who’s working in their home, here’s a deeper look into our wonderful Joanne.
Joanne, we simply adore you. Thank you for bringing joy to so many lives you touch. You truly are the gift that keeps on giving. We’re grateful for everything you do.
Julia: Tell us about a challenging day working with Rover-Time, how you managed that or who helped you figure things out, and why it was worth it to you.
Joanne: Being a successful dog walker is all about being flexible. This applies to both my clients and co-workers. On short notice a client may need to change their schedule and I’ll make this adjustment. Or a co-worker may need someone to sub for one of their dogs. Before my day begins, I check to see if any changes were sent in or if Rover-Time needs someone to sub – this way I see how I can accommodate these changes. It’s so important that I don’t interrupt the walks for my regular clients. My dogs come first! Rover-Time has excellent in-house support and the people they hire all seem to have a common attitude of teamwork and flexibility.
In my years working at Rover-Time, I can say challenges are far and few between. One example I can recall was with a client who just got a rescued dog. This little guy had multiple behavior issues, one being the fear of stairs. After carrying him down four flights of stairs a few weeks, I realized more research on this was needed. After checking some of my dog training books and looking on YouTube, I found some techniques to work with this dog’s fear. Between creating trust with him and applying some of the new techniques I learned, progress followed quickly. Within a short time, the dog was greeting me with excitement and walking down the stairs proudly! Thinking outside the box helps me to connect with my dogs.
Julia: If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Joanne: I love and need my sleep and would never give it up!! But…
If there were more time in a given day, I would want to fill it with those people who mean most to me. Sharing a walk, making a meal, good conversation, being more available to help in their time of need. These moments fill my soul and having more leisure time with them would be a treasure.
Julia: You have one of the most brilliant and creative minds. It’s hard for me to picture you being bad at anything you put your head to. So tell me, what job would you actually be terrible at?
Joanne: After so many years working in the corporate world, having to go back to a typical 9-5 job would be difficult! I couldn’t imagine a job just sitting in front of a computer with little interaction with people. There’s aren’t many jobs where your clients are so excited when you show-up that they race to the door, jump on you with happy wags, and lick your face with kisses. I love being a dog walker, having a flexible schedule you’re never stuck in a cramped cubicle, you get lots of exercise, you’re outside and you get to hang out with pups all day!
Julia: Tell us about the first dog you really, really loved. How did that dog come into your life, impact it, and make it better?
Joanne: His name was Bentley, an adorable Cockapoo. He was a member of my sister’s family. I had the pleasure of accompanying my sister to pick him up as a puppy – from that day forward Bentley captured my heart too. Over the years I learned much about the responsibilities of having a dog and the rewards that come back from consistent training, love and attention. My husband and I don’t have any children, so we became “adoptive parents” to Bentley, being able to care for him while his family was away on vacations. Through those times when he stayed with us, I learned so much about caring for a pet. The more you give to them, the more they’ll give back. What began as a mutual bond between two very different species became something much bigger – more like love for us. When Bentley went back home, our own house seemed empty without his energy and presence. This was a dog with an “old soul” who was a teacher – right to the end of his life. He died when he was 11 years old and I was able to be with my sister and her family during the days leading up to his death. This was such a gift in understanding the letting go of a pet- he showed such dignity through the dying process. Because of Bentley, my husband and I have two Cockapoo’s of our own Cooper (11yrs) and Murphy (7yrs). I’m thankful there were many years the three dogs got to share together! The Three Amigo’s there were known as.
Julia: What are some small things that make your day better or easier?
Joanne: I try to make sure I’m doing, and paying attention to, small things to make the day better every single day, no matter how I’m feeling. If I can make it a point to acknowledge and appreciate all those little things that put a smile on my face, it lays the foundation for all-around, better everyday experiences.
I like to live in the present – being aware of the small details in life. It’s not just walking the dogs that brings me joy, but it’s sharing my time with them with their owners. I love finding ways to capture moments with their dogs, either through a photo or a small note.
I have so much fun taking pictures of my furry friends. I find each of them be photogenic in their own unique ways. It’s my way to share an emotional bond with my dogs, plus its makes me laugh during the “photoshoots” with my adorable models. Their smiles are the widest, they perks up adorably and capturing their unique looks and spirit is wonderful. And what’s more important, these exchanges create a bridge between me and the owners. I love knowing I’m making them smile! It’s the small gestures that go a long way.
Julia: What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Joanne: Travel outside of your country. Opening yourself to new cultures and experiences is so enriching and I look forward to continue planning a trip abroad each year.
Julia: What are you most looking forward to in the next 10 years?
Joanne: Retirement is around the corner for both my husband and I. This offers us a clean slate to create a new life. Will we stay in Chicago? Will we travel more extensively? Will we bring more dogs into our family? The possibilities are there and makes this next chapter so exciting.
Julia Rohan founded Rover-Time in January of 2012 and received her formal training at FetchFind Academy, a program for aspiring dog trainers, based in Chicago. Julia lives in Irving Park with her husband Mark. Together they co-parent Archer, their 3-year old son, Lou, their 4-month old, and Chauncey Billups Vanderhoff, an over-confident, territorial, and anxious 8lb. Chihuahua-Terrier mix. All the boys do a decent job of melting her heart hourly.
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