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Meet Erin Loy Darnielle of Home Alone Pet Service

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erin Loy Darnielle.

Erin, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1996 with a B.F.A. in graphic design. Although I worked at two wonderful advertising agencies in Chicago after college, I think the best thing that ever happened to me was getting laid off from Upshot! in 2001.

At that time I decided to try freelancing but my heart just wasn’t in it. I couldn’t imagine working in a cubicle for the rest of my life.

When a friend of mine, who knew of my big love for animals, suggested I look into dog walking I had no idea that it would turn into my forever career. Through hard work and great word-of-mouth I was able to start my own pet care business in 2006. I feel so fortunate to be living my true passion.

I am a pet care provider and I specialize in dog walking, cat care and dog boarding in my home.

I’m known for treating my clients’ pets as my own. When boarding dogs, you’ll find them curled up next to me on the couch and very often the dogs will sleep in bed with my husband and me. I’ve been known to spoil both cats & dogs with maybe a few extra treats 😉

I try to go the extra mile by sending my clients photos, videos and fun updates of their pets while they are at work or away on vacation. I have pets of my own and I know how stressful it is to leave them. My ultimate goal is for my clients to be worry-free when they are away.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
As my business has taken off, the biggest struggle has been finding great staff that I can depend on. The pet care business is wonderful but many people don’t realize that you may be on call at odd hours, weekends and holidays. Not everyone is cut out for this job!

Additionally, I am very picky and demand that my staff carry out the same commitment to quality pet care as I do.

Please tell us about Home Alone Pet Service.
I’ve been told that my exuberance for my job is a draw for many clients. I think most people realize you can’t fake this kind of passion.

What’s your favorite memory from childhood?
My favorite memory from childhood would probably be any Christmas morning… waking up (way too early for my parents liking) with my brother and sister ready to tear into the presents Santa left.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.


  1. Sara L

    July 11, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    Erin is amazing. She has taken care of each of our dogs and they were treated like family. I can’t recommend Erin enough!

  2. Kelly

    July 12, 2017 at 2:10 am

    We love Erin!!! She’s the best! We never worry about our dog for a second when he’s with her.

  3. Scott C

    July 12, 2017 at 4:05 am

    Great Article, Erin is a true gem. Moved to CA and I have been unable to find someone comparable to her to watch my dog, now dogs!

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