London's Number One Dog-Walking Agency: A Memoir (Hardcover)
The irresistibly charming memoir of a young woman who started her own business as a dog walker for London’s busy, well-heeled dog lovers. A true love letter to London, dogs, and growing up.
Aside from the odd biter or growler, the occasional bolter and the one dog who didn’t want to walk, the canines were the easy part. They were a muddy, messy joy in all shapes, sizes and breeds, from greedy Labradors to pampered pugs and everything in between. It was the owners who were the real challenge, a giddy mix of the over-protective, the clueless, the eccentrics and the perfectionists. There is no rule book on how to navigate the obsessions of the London dog owner. A degree in human psychology would have been far preferable to any sort of animal qualification. Not that I had either…
In 2006, Kate MacDougall was working a safe but dull job at the venerable auction house Sotheby’s in London. After a clumsy accident nearly destroyed a precious piece of art, she quit Sotheby’s and set up her own dog-walking company. Kate knew little about dogs and nothing about business, and no one thought being a professional dog walker was a good use of her university degree. Nevertheless, Kate embarked upon an entirely new and very much improvised career walking some of the city’s many pampered pooches, branding her company “London's Number One Dog Walking Agency.”
With sharp wit, delightful observations, and plenty of canine affection, Kate reveals her unique and unconventional coming-of-age story, as told through the dogs, and the London homes and neighborhoods they inhabit. One walk at a time, she journeys from a haphazard twentysomething to a happily—and surprisingly—settled adult, with love, relationships, drama, and home ownership along the way. But, as Kate says, “It’s all down to the dogs” and what they taught her about London—and life.
About the Author
Kate MacDougall is a writer and journalist who now lives in rural Oxfordshire with her family. She writes features for publications including Country Life, the Telegraph, Horse & Hound, Homes & Antiques whilst also wrangling three small children and two disobedient dogs.
“It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me long for a dog! Incredibly moving, very funny and wonderfully wise, this is a brilliant debut memoir and a beacon of hope when we need it most. I shall be recommending it to everyone I know, dog-loving or otherwise.”
— Annie Lyons, author of the bestseller The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett
“A joy from start to finish. I loved it.”
— Stacey Halls, author of The Familiars
"Readers will be delighted... This entertaining and lighthearted look at the life of a woman who took control of her own future is a perfect nonfiction crossover for fans of British chick lit like that of Sophie Kinsella."
— Booklist (starred review)
“This is a glorious treasure of book starring a cornucopia of canines and their hapless humans. It tickles the funnybone and tugs at the heartstrings. Hugely entertaining.”
— Ruth Hogan, author of the bestseller The Keeper of Lost Things
“With gentle humor, this charming coming-of-age story captures the ups and downs of a young woman defining life on her own terms…warmly uplifting and wise.”
— Kirkus Reviews
"MacDougall's fun, brisk storytelling and cleverly rendered details largely focus on growing, improving upon and sustaining her business. However, philosophical undercurrents profoundly define how work--and canine companionship--can enrich the soul and spirit, ultimately giving shape and form to living a more meaningful existence."
— Shelf Awareness