Nicole Rathje is the sole owner and operator of WALK HIKE PLAY LLC.
Nicole believes in building a connection with every member of the pack through clear communication, consistency, and compassion. She honors them as individuals and feels it is her responsibility to help each animal in her care to grow and thrive. She believes in having the flexibility to differentiate her approach to meet each dog where they are.
Nicole has earned several certifications in best dog training practices and has twelve years of professional dog handling experience. Prior to working with dogs, Nicole was an elementary school teacher in Los Angeles, CA for several years. She loved teaching, but in 2010, Nicole left the classroom to complete her master's degree and picked up a part time job as a dog walker. This quickly turned into a new career path as Nicole fell in love with spending her days hiking packs of dogs through the hills of Los Angeles. She spent five years working for and learning from her boss and mentor, Teresa Apollo.
In October 2015, Nicole relocated to Kirkland, WA. Nicole opened WALK HIKE PLAY LLC and started offering her signature service, the pack walk. Over the last seven years, WALK HIKE PLAY LLC has grown into one of the premiere pack walking companies in the area.
When not working, Nicole enjoys volunteering on the Dog Behavior Team at Homeward Pet Adoption Center. She is also a volunteer at Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center and sees a strong correlation between the horse world and the dog world. Other favorite pastimes include hiking with her 12 year old rescue dog Abby, watching her niece play soccer, and trying out new vegan restaurants in the area.
Qualifications & Certifications