Who Are We?

Our Mission

Chicago Urban Pet’s mission is to be the expert in the field of pet-care and customer service in order to offer modern day solutions that positively impact our community.

Our Values

We believe that through open communication, and a focus on emotional well-being, we can maximize your peace of mind and bring joy to your day. 

Meet the Team

Scroll down to read the bio of our amazing team of cat and dog lovers.
Our team is thoroughly vetted and trained.


Stephanie Surjan​


Hi, my name is Stephanie and I founded Chicago Urban Pets in 2013. Building this service from the ground up has been a real labor of love, and allows me to be self-employed which is important to me.

My formal education is in Architecture and Design but animals have always been a big part of my life (I grew up with horses). So when I’m not loving on pets and chatting with their hoomans, you can find me teaching at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

Can’t wait to meet you!


Emma Lamke

weekend Office manager

I am a current student at Loyola University studying social work! I grew up in Kansas City but I am now in the great city of Chicago to study and explore.  

I have a two rescue pets that are my whole world. My dog is named Indira and she loves to go on long walks on the beach. My cats name is Ernestine and she enjoys to sunbathe all day long!

In my free time I enjoy being outside, creating art, or reading a good book. I also enjoy spending time fostering animals and finding their forever homes! 

​I’ve been with Chicago Urban Pets since May 2022.

office manager Sophie banfleth

Sophie Bahnfleth

Morning office manager

Hi there! My name is Sophie and I’m so happy to be working with Chicago Urban Pets all the way from Nebraska! I have two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels: Macie and Stormo. I’ve always had such a love for dogs, and it’s so fun to finally have my own two pups to snuggle with!

In my free time you’ll find me with my family, friends, and my sweet dogs. I also enjoy playing board games, exercising, cooking, and learning about nutrition.

I’ve been with Chicago Urban Pets since October 2022.


Vanessa Nwosu

overnight pet sitter

I’m currently a junior at DePaul University Chicago where I major in User Experience Design with a minor in Film Production. I was born in Nigeria but have lived in the US since 2015. However, I moved to Chicago in 2019 for school. In my spare time, I enjoy listening to music, reading, and solving jigsaw puzzles.

I recently adopted a 3-year-old short-haired tabby cat named Chubs who has a little bit of social anxiety as he was neglected by his previous owners. Giving him all the care, love, attention and snuggles is something that I love doing and warms my heart.

​I’ve been with Chicago Urban Pets since December 2021.

Kimberly Cox

Weekday Dog walker / Cat sitter

I am so glad to be working with Chicago Urban Pets. I have been a Feline Foster parent with the Oak Park Animal Care League for many years prior to fostering, I was a volunteer dog  walker for the shelter.
My passion for animals motivates me to provide them with the highest level of care and companionship. Having owned many pets over the years I understand the importance of trusting someone with your beloved furry friend.

I am committed to giving the best care to both you and your furry friend. My goal is to make your day easier by ensuring that your pet enjoys a great time of exercise and loving companionship. It would be my pleasure to help you by caring for your beloved pet while you are away. I will love and care for them as if they were my own.

I’ve been with Chicago Urban Pets since February 2022.


Rena Brady

Dog Walker / Cat Sitter / Overnight Pet Sitter

Animals and photography, my two great loves, have been part of my life for years as I’ve wandered across the US and Europe. Chicago has always felt most like home and after 11 years in Texas, I’m so happy to be back. 
The furkids in my life are senior rescues with medical challenges and make me smile and laugh all through the day. 
I can’t wait to meet your sweet babies and promise to care for them as you would.

​I’ve been with Chicago Urban Pets since May 2022.


Julia Guillory

pet sitter & dog walker

Originally from Texas, I came to Chicago to study fine arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2018 and have since called it home. I love Chicago, however the move has left a big dog (or cat!) shaped hole in my heart and I’m excited to share that love again with you and yours!

I grew up in a household of weenie dogs (Gumbo, Blessi) who loved to cuddle and play, but mostly cuddle, and a goofy black lab (Cash) I adore pets of all breeds and ages, but I especially have a soft spot for senior dogs.

Aside from sitting, I am a tour guide at a local art museum as well as an occasional freelance illustrator. In my free time you are likely to find me trying out a new restaurant or enjoying some live music.
I look forward to meeting your furry friends!

​I’ve been with Chicago Urban Pets since August 2022.

Gretchen Hagelow

Weekday dog walker / Pet Sitter

I was born and raised just outside of Chicago, and after several years of living elsewhere, I’m so happy to be back. It is such a blast working at CUP. I love getting to know each of the dogs and cats we care for.

My favorite way to spend my free time is with my two nephews – playing Paw Patrol, visiting the zoo, and chasing each other around the yard. It definitely keeps me in shape for walking dogs!

I’ve been with Chicago Urban Pets since August 2022.

Melissa Woolridge

Weekday dog walker / Pet Sitter

Hi there! I’m Melissa, a comic artist and an animal lover! Even though my comic’s protagonist is a bear, my dog Mowgli, was a big inspiration behind his character. I love thinking of story ideas on our walks together, and he always cheers me up with his goofy personality. I love seeing animals happy. I promise to give your pet all the TLC that they deserve, while ensuring they get good exercise and a satisfactory amount of tail wagging. They make our lives better, so I’ll do my best for our furry friends and their humans.

I’ve been with Chicago Urban Pets since December 2022 

dog walker pet sitter chicago urban pets Anna

Anna Cosenza

Weekday dog walker / Pet Sitter

Hello, my name is Anna. I’m currently a Doctor of Audiology student at Northwestern University. I was born and raised in a northwest suburb of Chicago before moving to the city in 2018. Chicago has always felt like home to me. 

I’ve cared for loads of furry friends between school and work. Pets bring me such joy and serenity! I hope to bring peace of mind to pet parents by caring for their beloved fur-babies as if they are my own. 

When I’m not studying at the library, you can find me rolling skating/biking on Lake Shore path, or cozied up to the fireplace with a good book in those cold Winter months. 

I’ve been with Chicago Urban Pets since December 2022 

dog walker pet sitter chicago urban pets Anna

Leila Carroll

Weekend Dog Walker / Pet Sitter

Hi! My name is Leila Carroll. I am a sophomore at Lane Tech high school. My favorite subjects are history and science. In my free time I love to paint, snowboard, and research niche topics within political science.

When I was 8 years old I got my dog, Lunchball. Lunchball loves running around and eating grass. My dog has changed my life, he makes me appreciate nature and the small moments in life.

I’ve been with Chicago Urban Pets since January 2023

Dog Walker / Pet Sitter Chicago Urban Pets

Alex Georgopoulos

Weekday Dog Walker / Pet Sitter

Hi, I’m Alex! I’m a maker of art, food, and friends. I studied Cinematography at (and graduated from!!) Columbia College Chicago. I’m absolutely infatuated by the process of filmmaking, and any art form for that matter.

When I’m not on set, or pretending to be a professional chef in my little kitchen, I love caring for dogs, cats, lizards, you name it! I have prior experience in dog walking, pet sitting, and attending at a doggie day care. Still, nothing puts a smile on my face quite like a furry (or scaly) friend. I’m SO thrilled to take care of your best friend!

I’ve been with Chicago Urban Pets since February 2023

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