What’s your real job??

You’re a dog walker? Oh ok…but what’s your real job though? Is a question I have been asked many times. Or something similar like ‘oh so this is your ONLY job?’ followed by a shocked expression when I say yes.

It’s usually old ladies who I get talking to whilst I’m out walking dogs that will say ‘aww well at least it gives you something to do’ as if I’m on school holidays or can’t get a ‘proper’ job. I just smile usually but very tempted to say thanks for the compliment but I’m 32!

Oh and how could I forget the time someone misheard me and thought I’d said I was a duck walker haha! I did wonder why she looked so surprised, but she just politely said ‘oh I see’, later realising I had said dog not duck.

Dog walking and pet sitting businesses seem to be booming at the moment but only a few years ago when I first started it was something that not many people had heard of as an actual career option or even knew it existed at all! (I must be making it look too easy).

I think a lot of people can’t believe that you can actually make decent money from it, or enough to live on anyway. I always say to people just think how many pets there are in the area I cover alone, how many people are out at work all day every day. That’s a lot of pets needing walks and feeding! I don’t want to give away how much I earn exactly but let’s just say I am earning more than I did when I was working for the City Council, whether that says I’m doing well or that The Council don’t pay very well is debateable….

If you’re willing to work early mornings, late nights, weekends, bank holidays, and everything in between then you can make a very decent living from dog walking and pet sitting. For example, most people charge around £10 for an hours walk, and say you walk on average 5 dogs a day Monday to Friday, add on visits to cats and other pets, any weekend jobs… you do the maths.

I would say it’s not really a part time job, you need to be available at the last minute sometimes, early mornings, late nights and obviously lunch times are very popular.

I think it is beginning to be seen as a ‘real’ job and certainly a worthwhile one. On days where I think I’m not really doing anything spectacular I remind myself that the owners of the pets I see can go to work with peace of mind, safe in the knowledge that their pet is not home alone all day, that even my half an hour or hour visit is giving them exercise both physically and mentally. That their cats are not shut in a cage in an unfamiliar environment for 2 weeks or that elderly or less able customers can keep their pet at home with them even if they aren’t physically able to walk them themselves.

To me it certainly counts as a REAL job.

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