Jersey City’s Amghy Chacon spent her childhood surrounded by dogs of all breeds and sizes. Though always adding chaos to her life, “running in and out of her room, stealing her socks, [and] drooling on her face,” Chacon considered her pets to be beloved members of the family. Now all grown up and still canine-obsessed, she has turned her lifelong passion into a business. For the past eight years, She Walks My Dog has provided its services caring for an innumerable amount of creatures throughout the Hudson area–and Chacon has enjoyed every second of it. I think I can speak for all members of The Digest in saying that we are more than a little bit jealous.
If you take a look at Chacon’s Instagram, you will find countless posts and archived stories dedicated to the animals that she works with. Every dog is treated to their own special photoshoot, resulting in the dashing individual “pawtraits” that line her page. However, Chacon does not stop there. In addition to these more professional displays are playful shots, videos, tiny mic interviews, and even personalized memes that celebrate the distinct traits of each dog. It comes as no surprise that Chacon’s uplifting account is gaining a significant following, and is on the path to becoming recognized as Jersey City’s very own Dogist. I recently spoke with Chacon to find out more about her future plans, response to the pandemic, and overall experience as a professional animal carer.
1. What inspired you to begin your dog walking business? Did you always know that this was what you wanted to do?
Dogs, dogs, dogs, (and their really amazing pawrents!) were the inspiration. You know, I started walking dogs when I was 19 years old—and when I really think about it—that’s a lot of poop bags!
At one point, I didn’t think I could do it. I wasn’t sure how to introduce She Walks My Dog to the Jersey City community. There were already so many established companies—but I was confident that I could really make my business stand out, and because of that confidence, She Walks My Dog is what it is today!
2. How has She Walks My Dog changed over the last eight years? Has business been affected by the events of the last year? If so, how did you adapt?
Gosh! She Walks My Dog was actually just my regular Instagram page. I never thought it would turn into a company. Eight years ago, my following was just my pals and my family. The day I decided to turn the page into an official business—seeing the followers pour in—that’s when I said, “Oh heck, I think I may actually have a shot here!”
I think, and I am certain folks in the same field can definitely agree, it hasn’t been easy adapting to this new normal. But, dogs still need to go out, and folks still need their walker, so I’ve been out in the field abiding by all guidelines.
3. What does a typical day look like?
Oh! I love this question. I wake up to my French Bulldog plushie (his name is Paquito) and give him a nice smooch before I start packing my essentials: poop bags, leashes, keys, snacks, hand sanitizer, extra masks, camera gear (if weather permits!).
Once I am confident with my checklist, I hop on a Via to take me to my first appointment! My day can be a bit stressful at times since I go from one appointment to the next, it’s important that I am always on top of time. But seeing all my daily pups brings me so much joy! The bond is really special, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
4. Dog walking, cat visiting, home sitting, oh my! How many animals would you say you work with at a given time? How many pets do you have of your own?
Oh my indeed! I love it all so much! Every day is unpredictable actually, sometimes I’ll work with just a handful of appointments, and other times, I’m so overbooked that I have to close out my calendar. It’s so much fun. I always give myself a pat on the back when I finish up a solid day.
I don’t have any pets (gasp!) but I do brag about all my dog and cat pals, and I call them my kids, too. I think sometime in the future I would like to become a Pibble mom. They’re like baby hippos, so cute!
5. How did you get started with your “pawtraits” on your social media page? Are they simply a hobby or another growing business?
Believe it or not, I started “pawtraits” just a little over a year ago. I purchased my first Canon DSLR, watched a few YouTube videos, and then I went off and practiced taking photographs of my dog pals.
At this time, it’s just a hobby, but folks are starting to recognize me and my work, and I’m really humbled by all the positive feedback so far.
6. How has social media helped you to build your business? Would you say it has allowed you to become more connected in the Jersey City community?
The Instagram reach is absolutely bananas! I don’t think I would be where I am today if it weren’t for social media. The following, the reposts, the hashtags—they’ve all contributed to my growth. It’s funny because no one really knows my name, but as soon as I bring out my camera and introduce myself, “Oh! @shewalksmydog, we follow you!” It makes me blush!
7. Do you have a favorite part of your job? How about a least favorite?
All of it! But my favorite is definitely just seeing my dog pals every day. There just isn’t a bad day when you get to spend time with dogs. I’m always having a hoot! Least favorite? Forgetting to pack poop bags. There’s nothing like that sinking feeling in my heart when I don’t have an extra roll on me, but thankfully, there is always a kind human walking their own dog(s), fully stocked— some heroes don’t wear capes!
8. What are your hopes for your She Walks My Dog in the future?
To walk more dogs, to visit more cats, to photograph as many Jersey City dogs, cats, birds, pals, as I possibly can! To continue being of service to a city and community that has opened up so many doors for me.
If you’re in the Jersey City area, make sure to keep up with She Walks My Dog on Instagram and visit her website for more information on pricing and scheduling.