Susan Andresen considers herself a jack of all trades. But with no college degree, she said she bounced from job to job until she went “mad.” That moment is what led her to create her own business, Diamond Dogs, a doggy daycare.
The small corner building sits at 3800 W. Montrose Ave. in Chicago’s North Side Albany Park neighborhood.
Originally from Northbrook, Ill., Andresen moved to the Quad Cities as a young adult and dropped out of school when she met her ex-husband. She said she fell on hard times when the recession hit and she lost her job.
Her marriage failed next. It was time to move back home, where family helped her get back on her feet, she said.
“I didn’t have any real skills so I bartended, I worked as a switchboard operator, I did registration at the hospital, all sorts of crazy things,” she said. “I sat down and I thought to myself, ‘Now what do I like and what do I not like?’ I just decided I had to work for myself.”
Twenty-five years ago, she decided to change her career path. Walking dogs was the new job and it just stuck, she said.
“I made some business cards, and I put them out in the local dog supply stores and somebody just called me and I was off and running,” Andresen said.
The building she operates out of now is both home and work: she lives upstairs. Thanks to an inheritance from her father, Andresen was able to purchase the current space that was in foreclosure, she said.
An average day for Andresen consists of rolling out of bed at 6:30 a.m. and welcoming the dogs. She’s wrapping up her day by 5 p.m. and back home at 8 p.m., she said.
Her services include day care for $17, boarding for $35 and walks for $12. She selected the Albany Park neighborhood because there were no similar business in the vicinity.
“Amazingly, I haven’t had to advertise,” she said. “The only advertising I do is like Yelp and I have a website.”
The sign attracts a lot of walk-ins, Andresen said, so she takes the opportunity to discuss her services.
[pullquote]“What I find that works best is face-to-face,” she said. “They know who they’re dealing with because they’re handing over their kid.”[/pullquote]
One of Andresen’s long-time clients, Anne Rozmin, has been doing business with Diamond Dogs for years. Andresen walked her first dog for eight years and even helped train the puppy.
“She impressed me because she was always reliable, very calm with the dogs,” said Rozmin. “I liked the way she was with the dogs so that’s how I got to know her.”
Rozmin brings her new dog, Charlie, to the business every other day.
Andresen said that she is very “blessed” and loves her job.
“I go to work and they’re all happy to see me,” she said. “They all love me. There is no water cooler gossip going on here.””
For more information on Diamond Dogs, email Andresen at Saa4dgs@aol.com or call (773) 398-6765.