She bought a pet beagle. Little did she know he would inspire her to start an award-winning business

Kay Green of The Dog Walker Nottingham on grass with trees behind with two husky dogs on left and right sitting and brown old looking dog sniffing ground in front
-Credit: (Image: Kay Green/The Dog Walker Nottingham)

Mum-of-two Kay Green used to work as a duty manager in a gym. Then in 2018, she welcomed beagle Loki into her life.

It was then she realised that her calling was with pets - not people. "I prefer animals," says the 35-year-old, from Arnold. "Is that terrible to say?"

The old "follow your passion" adage is arguably over-used. But Kay did exactly that when she started her dog-walking business - aptly named The Dog Walker Nottingham - in 2019.

Like any business, it was a demanding first few months getting the word out there. Kay would spend her days designing adverts for social media and chatting to other dog walkers when she took Loki out for a stroll.

Then the coronavirus pandemic hit. "That was a bit scary," says Kay. "I was like: 'No-one needs me at the moment. What's going to happen?'"

Kay Green standing on grass nature path with some of the dogs she walks, including beagle and other breeds, sitting or lying and looking up at her
Kay with some of the dogs she walks - including Loki (3rd from right), who likes to join in with the fun -Credit:Kay Green/The Dog Walker Nottingham

But the business survived and emerged on the other side. Then, through word of mouth, custom started to pick up. Now, Kay's roster is full of clients - some who've used her services for years.

Her business has only five-star ratings on Google and last year, she found out she'd be heading to the Kennel Club headquarters in London to pick up an award for being one of the top-rated dog walking services in the country.

Out of 2,200 listed on aggregator site, hers had racked up the third-most votes. She picked up her gong in November.

Elated, Kay had never considered winning a prize for her capabilities. But then, in 2024, she was contacted by Maria Burgess from the Animal Star awards, and been told that she'd not just been nominated by someone she doesn't know, but listed as one of 12 finalists in the dog walking category for the Northern region.

"Just getting to the final is amazing," said Kay. "I'm happy with that. I didn't expect a nomination, never mind to get to the final. I'm truly grateful. It's nice to know I'm appreciated for what I do."

You'd think dog walking was a simple task. But there's a reason Kay is classed as one of the best.

"I love being outside in nature," she explains. "I love being around the dogs. I treat everyone's dogs like my own."

Most clients are people who work during the day and want their dog to have some time outside or even just be taken out for a chance to use the toilet. Others need their dog walking because they physically can't, through disability or age.

Kay mostly walks the dogs in groups, to give them a chance to socialise, but if they're a dog that doesn't like others, she's happy to take them out alone. She picks them up directly from their home and takes them on a new trip every time.

"Our dogs LOVE Kay!" says one Google review. "She takes our two boys out every week and it really has helped with their social skills. They get so excited when we tell them it’s “Kay Day” because they always have so much fun!"

"We’ve just started having Kay as our dog walker, she is fantastic and my dog already loves her," says another. She’s really helping with my dog's confidence around other dogs and is great at reporting back to us too. We love seeing the photos afterwards."

Come rain or shine, Kay - who's fully insured, canine first aid trained and has a full DBS check - is out with her furry friends. And she loves it.

But she says she's only got one person to thank for making her passion a vocation. It was the boy who inspired her all those years ago.

"My business wouldn't have started if it wasn't for Loki," she explains. But why have one dog, when she can have dozens more?