I've been remiss in regular postings as I now have a job! I'm a dog walker for Belly Rubs Pet Care and it's a perfect fit for me.
I had been looking for something part time since I retired two years ago but couldn't find a position I could get excited about. Every job ad I looked at had some fault--the schedule, the pay, the job duties. I wasn't sure if I was too picky or had just become lazy. After all, doing crossword puzzles over a cup of coffee and then spending time with my dogs is a very appealing lifestyle! But, my husband isn't getting the overtime like he did in his old job and while I can get creative and stretch food dollars, the budget didn't have space for dog shows. I needed to be less picky about employment and just get some income.
After my working interview at the kennel, I didn't have high hopes that I could find a job that was truly part time and didn't involve nights or week-ends. I thought dog showing might have to be put off for a few more months as I applied for a sales position at Yankee Candle. I applied for a substitute position with the school system and thought working full days wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. I saw the position as a dog walker and thought, "Monday through Friday, a schedule of late morning to early afternoon, no nights, no week-ends, working with dogs, working on my own and getting exercise. What's the downside"? Of course, the downside is walking dogs outside in the rain, the heat and the cold. I have to be outside to take care of my own dogs and it doesn't bother me too much so I decided to apply for the position.
I was surprised when I was quickly called for an interview and even more surprised to be offered the job during the interview. I couldn't start until my background check came back but then it was two days of on the job training and I started solo on the third.
There is so much more to this job than I thought there would be! I've learned all the quirks and likes of my individual clients (this one doesn't like to be scratched on his side, that one likes to carry a stuffed toy outside). I've learned how to walk the client, give treats, freshen water bowls and write daily reports all during the time allotted and not run over too much ('cause there is no time limit for belly rubs and snuggling!). I've established a rapport with all my dogs and they know that when I'm walking them, they have to behave like dogs, even if they are a spoiled princess with their owners.
My concern about walking dogs in bad weather turned out to be something I can easily work around. I do have some discretion on how long the dogs are out during hot days and inclement weather. I only need to have them outside long enough to relieve themselves then we can go back inside and play the remainder of their visit time. I've been fortunate so far and we've only had one really rainy day. The dogs seemed to know they wouldn't be outside long and quickly took care of business to enjoy play sessions. The company doesn't offer dog walks on snowy days when the federal government is closed, so I won't need to worry if we get the winter weather some forecasters are predicting.
The best part about my job is that my collies are not affected by my working. I'm still spending quality time with them, both morning and afternoon. They still get to spend days in the play yards and we have our games of tug of war and with Dixie, fetch. I'm able to keep up with their grooming needs and my kennel chores. Sometimes they are puzzled by the scent of other dogs on my clothes when I come home in the afternoon but only Gibson seems a bit jealous by it.
I'll be subbing for a couple other dog walkers during the next two weeks. The paycheck from the extra work should probably cover the costs of some new dog toys. Then my guys will be really happy I'm working again!