Anna McCracken: dog walker

Estimated reading time:4 minutes, 9 seconds

¬†Everyone has a story. There’s something delightful about seeing dog walkers. Meet Anna McCracken, who runs It’s A Dog’s Life. Every week she walks dogs more than 135km (83 miles) around Islington. Q&A by Nicola Baird.¬†

Anna McCracken, Islington dog walker, with Gibson, a three-year-old Irish setter/retriever. “He’s out at least three times a week with us and he loves catching flies.” Photo taken by London dog photographer Ursula Aitchison.¬†¬†Instagram: @phodographyuk

Q: Where do you live?
I’ve lived in Islington for five years now, I started on Upper Street then moved to a quiet spot just off Liverpool Road and now I’m in the Barnsbury area.¬†

 Q: Have you got a favourite dog?
I’ve grown up with dogs my whole life. I’m 27 and always wanted to be a vet, but I ended up becoming a professional dancer¬†until I had a bad injury. With more time on my hands I finally got the chance to have my own dog and it all started from there! ¬†
I’ve worked with well over 100 dogs over the past four years, All¬†different breeds, shapes and sizes. I walk roughly between 35,000-45,000 steps per day! That’s roughly¬†between 135-150km (83-93 miles) a week.¬†
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Q: What is it about dogs?
Dogs are incredible, I’ve always felt I’ve¬†had a special connection¬†with animals since I was little. They deserve more¬†credit, they’re not JUST dogs! They have feelings and are much smarter than you think. Working with dogs is very rewarding, building that bond with them and pushing them to their limits. It’s amazing what these furry little creatures can do.¬†

Anna and the gang from It’s A Dog’s Life spotted walking in March. (c) Islington Faces

Look out for uplifting dog stories

  • A dog’s purpose was a NY Times bestseller and from end of August 2017 and is out on DVD.
  • Gizelle’s Bucket List: My life with a very large dog by Lauren Fern Watt – yes, a dog with a bucket list. This is one to make you weep, and was to be turned into a film too.
  • Up (2009), a comedy film about growing old. Another one to make you cry, but it has some brilliant scenes with dog and squirrel responses, and features the collar of shame.

Q: Is Islington a good place for dogs?
Dogs in the Islington area are great and¬†that’s because of the¬†community around here. There’s Barnsbury Square dog club¬†which really helps with¬†socialising and not just with the dogs, but people too. We also have Hemmingford dog park in which the¬†council installed some agility¬†equipment. I’ve¬†never seen this anywhere else. This really helps give the dogs a great work out, mentally and physically.

It’s A Dog’s Life walker Jonny with Monty dog. Anna says: “Monty’s a two-year-old springer spaniel, Monty comes out with us everyday. He’s definitely a pro ball catcher, One of the best!” Photo taken by Leonor. Instagram: @posingpooches

Anna’s top 5 places to take her dog Frankie pug in Islington

  • ¬†The Drapers Arms, 44 Barnsbury Street, N1 – The best pub roast in Islington and they love having pooches in.
  • Vagabond – Awesome coffee shop at 105 Holloway Road, N7.
  • Bellanger – Amazing afternoon tea with your hound at 9 Islington Green, N1. They even give your hound a¬†personalised¬†Belanger dog biscuit. A lot of my clients go here, so when we are walking past they all try go in.
  • Pistachio & Pickle ¬†(237 Liverpool Road) – Coffee shop and best sausage sandwich you’ll ever try is served in here. They even have Cooper their Vizsla who welcomes everyone. They love having our dogs in for a quick coffee stop.
  • The Regent Pub, 201-203 Liverpool Road – Good pizzas and beers, and all hounds welcome!

Q: Any funny stories?
I have way too many funny stories. I once had an English Bulldog Bez that I walked¬†regularly (sadly he moved back to Scotland). He was the slowest, most chilled out hound around… a dog sniffed his butt and he did a somersalt flip in the air so high and landed back on all fours – I cried with laughter! Poor guy got the fright of his life.

Q: What have you learnt from dogs?
Be patient and understanding. Live in the moment and forgive easily. 

Instagram: @itsadogslife.islington

Over to you
If you’d like to nominate someone to be interviewed who grew up, lives or works in Islington, or suggest yourself, please let me know, via at

If you enjoyed this post you might like to look at the A-Z  index, or search by interviewee’s roles or Meet Islingtonians to find friends, neighbours and inspiration. Thanks for stopping by. Nicola