The Ad Account Director With Her Samoyed, Ray
By The Get Leashed Doggy Style Team
Silicon Valley isn’t the only hub for innovation embracing the dog-friendly work space. Imagine driving to work with a fluffy cloud as your co-pilot? For Kimberlee Welch, that’s something she gets to do with her Samoyed, Ray, whenever she wants. Her team at UNION, a creative agency in Toronto, welcomes this furry guy who loves to be social. Read on as we get to know these two and learn what to do when your Samoyed just won’t leave the dog park!
Please tell us about yourself, your profession, and what a typical work day is like:
I am a born-and-raised Torontonian working as a Group Account Director at an integrated communication agency called UNION. What I love about working at UNION is that there really isn’t such a thing as a “typical” work day – each day presents new challenges to be solved and opportunities to unlock for our clients. On any given day I could be shooting on-location somewhere amazing like South Africa or simply building out communication plans for the future growth of our clients’ businesses.
Please tell us a bit about Ray. How did he come into your life? Is there a story behind the name or particular breed?
My husband and I had been toying with the idea of getting a dog for quite some time but we couldn’t settle on the breed that fit our lifestyle. One day, while on Facebook, I noticed that a friend of mine had posted a picture of a Samoyed that her mom had just adopted and I was immediately struck by how beautiful the dog was (I had never seen or met a Samoyed before). Upon further research, we learned that they are extremely loyal and do well in both a condo or house (we were living in a condo at the time) and would be fine with city living. We decided to go and meet them face-to-face and immediately fell in-love with their loving presence and outgoing nature and knew that we had found our match.
I wish I could say that there was an interesting story behind Ray’s name but really we just wanted something simple and certainly loved the idea of having a human name for our dog – Ray seemed to fit the bill!
Can you tell us a bit about UNION and the dog-friendly culture here?
UNION is a cross between a big idea shop and a technology start-up that specializes in making brands more useful.
The culture of UNION is quite unique – we are made up of a group of interdisciplinary individuals that all live by the motto “work hard, play hard”. When you add our fur-babies to the mix, it becomes this amazing, light-hearted and fun environment to work in. Who doesn’t love a quick puppy-cuddle break in the middle of the day?
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is probably best described as classic and trendy. I like to match timeless items with of-the-moment trends to create a look that is all my own. I am also not afraid of mixing patterns and colors and have a wardrobe that reflects that. Accessories are also a huge part of my personal brand and you will often find me wearing a bold necklace or amazing scarf to compliment a rather simple look.
How would you describe the look and feel of your home?
I live in Leslieville where a lot of the homes are period homes (our house was built in the 1880s) so I do like to ensure that I am respecting the history of the house but also adding a more modern twist so I tend to gravitate towards a more mid-century modern aesthetic. I like clean lines but also want my home to feel ‘lived-in’ so I try to inject some pieces that have a history to them (whether it’s a vintage find or a classic design) and that are actually comfortable! One of my favorite pieces is our Eames lounge chair as it is a piece that was created in the 50’s but is still considered modern today. I truly believe that you can have a modern/clean aesthetic that is still comfortable and of course, dog and kid friendly!
What does your ideal weekend look like?
My ideal weekend actually depends on the season – in the spring/summer it would be heading up to the cottage with my family and enjoying time on the dock while Ray gets free-reign of the property and lake (he actually loves to swim). In the winter, I love heading to Cherry Beach off-leash and throwing the ball for Ray while my husband and I sip coffees from our local coffee shop – Mercury Espresso. For me, it’s all about unwinding, getting outside and spending time with my family as much as possible.
Ray’s ideal weekend would likely be the same as mine with a pit-stop to The Bone House for some treats before AND after 🙂
What inspires you?
I have to say that the people closest to me inspire me most. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by amazingly talented women who each day make me proud and honored to call my friends. I am also in complete awe of my husband on a daily basis – his drive and kindness are unlike anyone else’s and I am lucky that he chose me to go through this crazy life with!
Finally, can you leave us with a funny story about Ray?
One thing you need to know about Samoyeds is that they are stubborn. They require quite a bit of training early on in order to avoid them becoming too much of the Alpha in the family. We knew this when we decided to get a Samoyed but never have I noticed his stubbornness more than a particular incident that took place at our local park. It isn’t an ‘official’ off-leash but everyone in the neighborhood treats it as such. It was the dead of winter and I was on my early morning romp in the park with Ray and when it was time to leave, he decided to make it a game. Each time I approached him, he would run in the opposite direction. This literally lasted a good twenty minutes and I was thinking that I may have to just start walking home as I had no cell phone or treats handy to call for support or persuade him otherwise….and then it hit me, what if I pretend that I am hurt? He is a very loyal and caring dog so I curled up in a ball in the snow and pretended to cry (thankfully nobody was around to witness this). About two minutes later I felt this wetness on my cheek and it was Ray standing over me trying to comfort me. I guess it isn’t a funny story but certainly best represents his sassy but sweet personality!
Follow Kimberlee and Ray on Instagram @kimberlee_welch
For anyone with a long haired-dog like Ray, Kimberlee swears by his regular grooming at SPAW Boutique.