I really love dogs.
Like, I love dogs. So much.
For a long time I had considered becoming a dog-walker, but the idea of finding my own customers, deciding what to charge for the service... all the logistics made me feel really intimidated and nervous.
However, a few months ago, in my post-college search for a purpose, I did some research and finally decided to take a leap and apply for a dog-walking website.
So far, my career with dogs has been a joy and a great adventure. If you love dogs, but you aren't sure yet if this would be a good job for you, I would like to share some reasons why I believe being a dog-walker/sitter is absolutely the best.
1. You get to set your own rates and hours
You're work schedule is completely up to you. You choose what jobs you accept, and you get to be the one that decides your availability and you work out with each pet parent when is the best time for you to visit their babies. Even better, YOU are the one that sets your wages. Major score. Just make sure you research the rates of other sitters and walkers in the area. You can make gooood money in some places. Make sure not to sell yourself short.
2. It's so easy to book jobs nowadays!
Gone are the times of making flyers and advertising for yourself on street lamps, subjecting yourself to possible prank calls... Now we have amazing websites that allow pet parents in your area find you. I personally use one called Rover to book my services, and I've experienced a lot of success through it. I like this one particularly, because the application is fairly simple, and it lets you really personalize your experience, including allowing you to set your own rates. I also know some people who have been successful through Wag , which sets rates of services for you depending on the market in your area, and requires a bit more extensive of an application. There is also Care.com, and many other up-and-coming services being created by the dog-lovers of the world. Do your research. See if there are any smaller services concentrated to your neighborhood. Each service often charges a small fee or percentage of your rates to cover what they do, but it is absolutely worth it for the ease and sense of security they provide. They make scheduling easy and payments secure, and if you end up making a lot of money by pet-sitting, they even help you sort out all the info you need to do your taxes. Most services have mobile apps as well, so you can stay connected and book jobs from wherever you are. What a time to be alive.
3. When they start to recognize you
It's so great when you become a regular walker for a pup and they begin to form a relationship with you. I don't know about you, but nothing makes my day like a little furry baby getting SUPER excited about seeing me. When their parent is at work and they are missing them, you become a superhero the moment you walk through the door. That feels really darn good.
4. When they give you the eyes
You know you have become real friends when they give you the sad eyes when you leave. It's SO HARD to say goodbye to that face, but that's the moment that you know they really love you. My heart is melting just thinking about it.
5. When they bring joy to strangers
I really love it when people passing by get really happy about seeing the dog I'm walking. It feels so great to know that a great part of my day has become a great part of theirs too. AND it's so cute to see the little pup get excited about getting a stranger's attention. Dogs love everyone. They are just too good.
7. When people ask how they can become a dog walker
I personally love it when I'm wearing my Rover.com t-shirt and someone asks me about my job. Or, when I run into somebody else that works as a walker. There's a feeling of community among dog walkers. Some great conversations take place at dog parks. It's a nice thing to be a part of, and I find it really sweet when people can see how much I like my job, and want to join that community.
8. Showing pictures of them to everyone like they are your kids
I love sending photos of my dogs to their owners and making their day at work a little brighter. I really just love taking photos of my dogs in general. And I will show those photos to anyone and everyone that asks about my job. I have so many photos of all of mine, and I refer to them as my kids. They will become your babies.
9. Seeing puppies grow up
They grow up so fast. I wasn't able to walk one of my regular puppies for just a week and I swear when saw him again he had gotten SO BIG!! Its such a joy to see them grow up, and so heartwarming to share that experience with their proud parents.
10. Getting to know each dog's unique personality
Every single pup is different. Just like us two-legged folks, they are all special snowflakes with their own likes and dislikes and quirks. It's really fun to get to know them all. I don't know if I've made this clear enough yet buuut... It will feel like they are your children.
11. You get to meet cool people that also love dogs
Dogs bring people together. And if you love dogs as much as I do, you know how fantastic it is to meet people that love dogs as much as you do. It's really great to share that with other people. And all different kinds of people love dogs and need their own pups to get some lovin' while they're at work, or on vacation. This job gives you the opportunity to meets all kinds of people, knowing right off that bat that you have something in common. I've made friends with some of the pet parents I work with. We have good conversations (often about the funny and adorable things their dogs do). It's pretty neat.
Now, since I mentioned all these pros to dog walking, I suppose I should be fair and list the cons.
...Picking up poop, I guess??
Honestly, dog-walking and dog-sitting is a really great job. It isn't an easy job, and it does take a lot of work, but it is also really fun and rewarding. You will learn a lot, and meet a lot of good two-legged and four-legged people while doing it. And let me tell you, after a few months of walking multiple dogs a day, your legs will be looking fiiiiine.
So if you're interested, do some research and start applying! I highly recommend it.