MVT Spotlight: Professesional Dog Walker, Danny Kampf
Wednesday September 10, 2014
Mount Vernon Triangle’s Danny Kampf is one of the most recognizable people in the neighborhood, often seen walking 6-13 dogs at any given time. His enthusiasm for his work is infectious and in this interview with the MVT CID, he tells us how he came to be a professional dog walker and why it’s so important for the dogs and their owners.
MVTCID: Danny, can you tell us about your work – how you came to have a dog walking service and your interest in dogs in general?
DANNY KAMPF: I was at GW University at the time, interning at the Mercatus Center and just hating every minute of office life. I found the culture there depressing, and was looking for a change. A friend of mine at Georgetown suggested dog walking, which she said was uplifting and fun. So I gave it a try. Six years later, here I am. I have loved and continue to love every second of it. There is something cathartic about taking these high-strung, neurotic DC dogs and restoring a sense of calm in them through pack walks.
MVTCID: You probably know our streets better than anyone in the Triangle – – how have things changed in the last few years and what do you enjoy most about the community?
DANNY KAMPF: The story of the MVT area is like many of DC’s transitional neighborhoods. When I was first walking dogs, it was a different place. Crime was a much more visible element. I remember being at GWU and insisting that my girlfriend not come down here by herself. The area was not built up at all. Now it is much safer, with 14-story condo and apartment complexes popping up everywhere seemingly overnight. The same can be said for the restaurants around here. While I think food in DC as a whole leaves a lot to be desired, the MVT area has done well for itself, which if you saw this place a decade ago would come as a complete surprise.
MVTCID: What are the biggest challenges in walking a group of dogs that vary from small to large, athletes to couch potatoes?
DANNY KAMPF: The biggest challenge is due to demographics, strangely enough. This city is not like any other. The people here are disproportionately highly educated, ambitious, professional, childless, workaholic and sometimes neurotic. The energy here is as buzzing as any bee hive, and simply put, it can make dogs nuts. In New York, you see dog walkers walking 20-30 dogs with no problem. I do not believe these NYC dog walkers could replicate that in DC. Here dogs are often treated like surrogate children. Most of it is love, but it is possible to love your dog into insanity. That is what my job can be like. I have to unwind these very tightly wound dogs.
MVTCID: Do you have a favorite experience or story walking dogs that you would like to share?
DANNY KAMPF: Every day I see people with ear-to-ear, Cheshire cat grins on their faces when they see my dogs. I have people come down from office buildings, out of banks and pull over in their cars to tell me how it brightens their day to see these dogs together. Sometimes I can’t walk more than a block without people stopping me to declare just how much they love the pack. It’s those daily moments, those smiles and eyes that can’t lie, that together make up the greatest experience for me. I feel like part of a community, and I’m glad to know my dogs can give back.
MVTCID: Thank you, Danny!
For information on Danny’s dog walking services, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.