If you spend any time in Downtown Everett, you’ve probably seen Michael Silva walking a pack of adorable canines around town.

Silva, who lives in the Library Place Apartments, is the owner and sole employee of a burgeoning dog-walking business called Scooby’s Dog Walkin’. His clients consist mostly of Library Place residents, but recently, he’s begun offering his services to other neighbors.

Watching Silva wander the streets with a handful of leashes, it’s easy to tell he’s having a blast. But it was more than a love of animals that drew him to start Scooby’s.

“Growing up,” Silva said , “I was really athletic – really into weight lifting and sports. I loved to be active.” After high school, Silva became a sales manager for a large company. “My job was high-pay and high-stress,” he said.

But suddenly he started feeling sick all of the time. “I couldn’t think straight, I had no energy,” he said. “I went to doctor after doctor, but no one could figure out what was wrong with me.” After more than three years of searching for answers, Silva finally found a specialist who told him he had Lyme disease.

Lyme disease affects the central nervous system and can cause memory disorders, numbness, sleep disorders, and a host of other problems. Silva had to quit his job and scale back all of his activities.

One day, Silva was walking his girlfriend’s two dogs and trying to decide where to go next in his life. “I was thinking, ‘what am I going to do now?’ I can’t have a regular job anymore,” he said. “But then I thought, well – what am I doing right now? I can do this.”

Silva started crafting a plan for a dog walking business - and it worked. His clientele is growing daily, and he now offers pet-sitting services for cats and dogs. He’s also been contacted by some major Northwest media outlets who want to tell his story.

Silva still struggles with the effects of Lyme disease, but nothing seems to be able to kill his optimism. “Today, do something kind for your community,” Silva wrote on his Facebook page, “whether it’s picking up trash, buying a stranger coffee, helping out the homeless, or supporting local business. It all starts with us.”

Need a dog-walker or pet-sitter? Take a look at Silva’s rates or contact Scooby’s Dog Walkin’.