Thursday 8 April 2021

Book Review: London's No 1 Dog-Walking Agency by Kate MacDougall

London's No 1 Dog Walking Agency by Kate MacDougall book cover

AD* | 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. 

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 neighbourhoods 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 homeownership along the way. But, as Kate says, “It’s all down to the dogs” and what they taught her about London - and life. 

London's Number One Dog-Walking Agency is a beautifully-written memoir, equal parts poignant, reflective, and laugh-out-loud funny. 

It details the author's experiences of setting up and running a successful dog walking business in London. From the ups and downs of life, the recession, starting a family, and expanding the business, Kate chronicles it all in this charming memoir. Some clients are demanding and some dogs are tricky and disobedient, while others are wonderful characters bringing joy to their owners' lives. However, they are all great to read about and you definitely get to know a wide range of canines in the pages of this book! 

Although many great dogs are mentioned in the book, my personal favourite was Stanley. Stable and unpretentious, Stanley's presence throughout the book was solid and enduring. He must have been such a character, and the relationship he forged with Tom, his walker, was extra special. 

The book perfectly combines dog walking anecdotes with Kate's own life as she strives to carve out a career and start a family. Learning how to become a proper adult is a struggle many people face, and Kate's approach to life is surely familiar to many of us reading the book.  

Kate writes in a frank and honest style which makes the book approachable and easy-to-read. She is open with her thoughts and experiences, to the extent that reading this book feels like chatting with an old friend. It is familiar, welcoming and comforting; the perfect tonic to the sadness and loneliness of lockdown life. 

This book is a real gem - bound to make you fall in love with dogs all over again! 

Rating: 5 stars

London's No 1 Dog Walking Agency is available to buy now. 

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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Will you be reading the book? Let me know in the comments below! 

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