Who’da thunk it just a few years ago?
What am I talking about? Walking dogs for a living, that’s what I’m talking about.
I’m sure if you’d said in the not too distant past that there would be a whole industry where people paid other people to walk their dogs, merriment would ensue.
Or to put it bluntly, they’d have laughed in your face.
These days however, walking other people’s dogs for money can earn you a good living. Ask one of mum’s friends, who gave up her job a few years ago to set up a dog walking business.
Within a year she was earning at least her previous salary, and finished her working day by 3:30pm.
She worked hard for it of course – set up the business from scratch, earned herself a good reputation with her clients and built up a thriving business which she sold on after a couple of years to start a new venture.
Far worse ways to earn a living though, eh?
I’ve had Izzy from Safe & Hounds as my walker since I was 12 weeks old – and we struck gold finding her.
And it was by chance that I ended up with Izzy. Mum works full time and knew she’d need a walker for me, so she set about doing some local research, emailing numerous dog walkers whose websites said they covered the area where we lived.
Then she waited for them to reply.
Amazingly, at least half of those contacted didn’t have the courtesy to respond even if only to say no (we found the same with dog groomers, come to think of it – is it something endemic with dog-related businesses?!).
A couple did reply stating that they had no current spaces to take on a new dog. Fair enough – but why not indicate that on their websites then? Without exception, all the walkers we contacted encouraged you to get in touch to discuss requirements.
The most irritating one though, was one who did reply, and gave every indication that I would be considered. She outlined how she worked in terms of walking and day boarding and then said the next step would be for her to meet both me and mum to discuss next steps.
‘A-ha!’ though mum. It looked as though our search was about to come to an end. Mum replied with the dates and times she was available to meet.
And we never heard from the woman again!
I mean…why? Why not just say circumstances had changed and she could no longer consider me? Or tell us to shove off? I don’t know…maybe she was spirited away by aliens?
Plain rude, quite frankly.
And then Izzy replied to mum’s enquiry on her website, said she did have space for another dog and suggested we meet up.
The rest is history – she came round, made a great big fuss of me, and talked mum through her experience and relevant registrations, licences and insurances. My walker was found.
She is brilliant! We truly have found the best possible person to walk me – she knows I’m boisterous and uses it to her advantage. Izzy has told mum that I get all the lazy dogs moving!
I’m walked with all sorts of dogs of all shapes and sizes, and we all have great fun running about. I like nothing more than being chased by other pooches and my dog chums are happy to oblige. If they don’t, I chase them!
I recognise the sound of Izzy’s car and go bananas when she comes through the front door, giving her one of my special Wilson smiles (to the uninitiated it can look a bit like I’m about to rip your face off). In fact I make considerably more fuss when Izzy puts her key in the door than when mum does!
She’s really accommodating too – mum occasionally has to change a walk, and Izzy always manages to squeeze us in.
Sometimes she even gives me bonus walks, and I get taken out for longer than mum has paid for (£10 per hour-long walk, in case you were wondering). Mum is always super-grateful when this happens and I’ll use some of my pawket money every so often to buy her a bottle of something bubbly to say thanks.
So, all’s well that ends well. If one of the other walkers had actually run their dog-walking businesses like, well, viable businesses, I might not have ended up with Izzy.
Our local council does seem to make it as difficult as possible for walkers to do their jobs though. It implemented a Dog Control Order last year which has limited the number of dogs someone can walk at any one time – down from six to four.
In itself this isn’t a bad idea actually. It is difficult to effectively keep six dogs under control, particularly if they’re off lead.
But from a personal point of view it means that Izzy can’t sneak me in an extra walk quite as often as she used to…horrors!
That aside, a good dog walker is worth their weight in gold and I’m looking forward to many more years of walks with the lovely Izzy.