It’s time to start talking dog walking.
I’ve found that on a daily basis I’ll be by myself, laughing hysterically over something silly that Carmen did. Or wishing I had a camera to take a picture of Petunia working on her tan in the hot sun. Or needing someone to vent to when I step in some dog poop. Sure, my husband is more than willing to listen to my day as a dog walker as we eat dinner. And I leave notes after every visit so that my clients can read about my walk with their pup. But I walk some wonderful dogs that keep me entertained everyday and I want to share those experiences with everyone!
But first, a little bit about my life as a dog walker. When I tell people that I’m a dog walker, I get one of two reactions.
The first reaction is “oh yea, my friend does that.” After a quick conversation, I learn that this friend has a part time job and to increase her income she walks a couple of neighborhood dogs in her spare time. Hm. I work full time as a dog walker. My business is incorporated. It’s insured and bonded and I have 3 employees. I am a business owner. But ok sure, I’m just like your friend, how cute.
I much prefer the other reaction. “That’s so cool!” I know!! I love my job, I love my business, I love spending my day exercising with dogs. It’s not easy and whoever said it is must walk neighborhood dogs part time. Running a business is hard work, but completely worth the challenge. Since I began walking Kelsey, my first dog, I have not had a single day in which I was not looking forward to going to work. Regardless of snow, cold, or rain…I am always excited to begin my day. It’s the greatest feeling in the world.
My day begins at 6am when the alarm goes off. I get up to make my husband his lunch and see him off to work. After a little playtime with Elsa and Reese, I plop myself down at my computer and get to work. Whether it’s working on QuickBooks, my blog, my business plan, or more, I’m busy all morning long. Then by 10am I’m ready to head out for my first dog walk. The daily schedule always vary, on a slow Friday I may have only 3 dogs to walk, on a busy day I’ll have as many as 10 dogs, and that doesn’t include the dogs that my walkers, Lauren and Logan, must visit. If the weather is nice, Elsa and Reese will hop into the car with me. They get along with every dog that I walk and absolutely love spending the day with me. If I have to leave them at home, I’m leaving two very sad Collies…they love their job too!
My day is busy, it’s all about efficiency and time management. Most clients need their dogs walked mid-day so I must schedule my day to meet their needs, while still staying on track to visit all dogs at a decent time. On an average day I’ll finish around 3:30 or 4, run some errands, and then it’s back home to get more work done or, on occassion, make an evening visit. The thing about running a business from home is that you can never escape it, there’s always something that needs to be done. But I still manage to get some personal time in. I’ll take Elsa and Reese for an hour and a half long walk if they didn’t join me during the day or I’m at the gym or I’ll go for a long run. Regardless of the exercise I receive all day, I need that extra time to work out and relax! Dinner is also a time in which I can relax. And after all of that, if I still have the momentum and motivation, it’s back to work on the computer until I’m ready for bed!
My days are busy, but the most important part of them is the time that I spend with my clients’ dogs. That’s why I’m doing this. I specialize each visit to meet the individual dog’s personality, needs, and energy level to make the most out of our time together. For Gracie, it’s an intense game with her soccer ball. For Sasha, it’s a long walk through the field. For Kelsey, it’s a playdate in the yard with her two Collie friends. Each dog is different, and so is each visit.
So that’s my life as a dog walker. But it changes everyday! My business is growing and I hope to keep that momentum going and look for additional opportunities. And in the meantime, I will continue to share those experiences with you, so that as you sit at your cubicle you can imagine what it would be like being a dog walker instead : )