I was sitting in a coffee shop on the north side of Chicago searching for jobs online. To my surprise there was a listing for a dog walking position available. Dog walking? That’s a job? Really? So, I applied for the position, but never really thought I would hear back. I was wrong.
I arrived to the interview, filled out some paperwork and passed a background check right on the spot. I had the job! I was not only thrilled because I needed money, but I was going to being doing something different. I was considered an independent contractor. That fact that it said independent made me excited, but to be honest I didn’t really know it what it meant until it was time to do my taxes.
For the first time I would have a job where I would have minimal supervision. In fact, the only time I really heard from my boss was when there were changes in my schedule. It was great. Aside from having space from an authority figure, I had the privilege to bike around Lakeview and Lincoln park doing dog walks. I enjoyed the north side of Chicago and I also realized I loved biking. My first bike happened to be a fixed gear. Basically I had no breaks. It taught me to be very alert while biking to and from clients homes. To be honest though, I wasn’t very good at riding a fixed gear right away. It took me some time to get comfortable riding it, but once I did, it was a lot of fun. I loved zipping down the streets listening to music on my headphones flying through red lights. It felt like I was taking a risk every day I woke up and I loved it. Biking got me into shape and got my energy into movement!
For the most part most days were fun to walk dogs, minus the heavy rain I encountered from time to time. I started the job in the summer time and if you know anything about Chicago, there are only two season – summer and winter. Well, it was like game of thrones out there because yes, winter came. I had to get creative with the balance of keeping warm and being flexible and comfortable while riding. Under Amour was key! I wore a top and bottom and to remain flexible as possible I actually wore shorts. It made it easier to bike and also meant nothing getting caught into the gear. Speaking of gear, wind proof gloves, a ski mask and ski goggles were apart of my inventory. It gets cold in Chicago and its worse when the wind is blasting you in the face while on a bike.
Dog walking isn’t for everyone. To be honest, when you think of dog walking you usually don’t think of it as a career or even as a job you do when your an adult. But, I’m an artist and while being creative I needed a job to make money. I didn’t want to invest to much of my energy attempting to build a career in something I didn’t really care about while also working on art. A simple job did the trick. Dog walking is simple, but it can also easily burn you out; the weather, the repetition, the biking or driving and the lack of socializing.
When you are dog walking you are alone for the most part. Sure you are walking a dog and occasionally you run into strangers on the street, but you are primarily alone with your own thoughts. I enjoy being alone, so this didn’t always bother me. There is a different between being alone and being lonely. I enjoy being alone because I tend to think more clearly then and I get to be creative. Don’t get me wrong though, I don’t enjoy being alone all the time and even long periods of time of being alone starts to get to me. That is why I have a love / hate relationship with dog walking. It’s simple, it allows me to work with dogs and be outdoors, but after a while you start to crave talking with others.
Dog walking is one of the coolest jobs I’ve had and I have had a lot of jobs. What worked for me is that I had little supervision. That is also why my job as a janitor in Colorado worked. If I have someone breathing down my neck or constantly telling me what to do, it doesn’t work. This is why I love working for myself. That is why I created a dog walking business.
So if you are like me and you love animals, see if there are any dog walking companies hiring in your area. If you live in a rural area you will probably be driving to and from clients. If you live in a city, you will most likely be biking. Are you interested in dog walking? Have you worked as a dog walker before? Let me know in the comments below. As always, keep it rockin!