Skip to Content

Dog walking

I’m still learning to let go of what others think.

What is our obsession with judging others, anyway? At 27, I am still figuring out what I want to do with my life. I imagine this will be something I never quite figure out, as my goals will always be changing. And that’s a good thing.

I run dogs, and I pet sit.

That seems to be the description for me these days. I’m not happy with that. These descriptions do little to define me.

I love spending time with animals. I love solitude. I love being out in the country. I love to write, take photos, create art.

Spending all day with dogs is a fantasy for many. I have what many people will never have.

I receive emails every week from strangers who congratulate me on doing something they would never have the balls to do – quit their “secure” jobs and (gasp) walk dogs.

Walking dogs is a fantasy job. I can’t believe how lucky I am.

Maddie the rottweiler mixI literally have my own fan club. I go to work and my “clients” are so happy to see me they cry. I have the freedom to run wherever I want to run. I take days off when I want days off. If I feel like writing for a few hours, I do. I get my doggy fix whenever I need it just be kneeling down and hugging one of my many, many best friends. I make a meaningful difference for rescue dogs, and I bring great comfort to the dog owners who worry about leaving their “kids” at a kennel.

If there’s a better job out there than mine, please share.

But let me tell you, walking dogs is not all fun and games, either. It’s not “a walk in the park” by any means.

Running (or walking) all day is not easy. There are days when I am exhausted. My feet hurt. My knees ache. There are days when the poop bags rip and I get shit on my mittens, no joke. There are dogs that jump all over me, and they are often muddy. There are dogs that freak out over something as ordinary as a piece of plastic blowing in the snow. There are days when I’m so bundled up that I’m literally sweating, even though it’s far, far below zero. Sometimes I feel like my face might freeze off, and sometimes I feel like it will burn off. It doesn’t matter. I am “out in it” no matter what.

I’m out there because I want to be.

In addition to the people who want to have my job, there are the people who seem to pity me because they refuse to believe someone can make a living through dog walking.

“Is that lucrative?” “Are you still walking dogs?” “Is that really the best idea right now?”

These are the kinds of questions I still receive from family members and “friends” even though I’ve had a successful dog running business for well over two years now. Really, if it wasn’t working out, I would’ve come up with a new plan by now. I’m an intelligent person.

From both sides of the spectrum – those who praise me and those who criticize – I see people who are very unhappy with their current lifestyles. They are working too hard at jobs they don’t care for in order to bring home what they believe is a secure, hard-earned paycheck.

I am so fortunate to know that I am on the right path. I am finding ways to do what I love, and it’s paying off for me and for others.

In his book “The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working,” Tony Schwartz asks the question:

Is the life you’re leading worth the price you’re paying to live it?

Absolutely.

Ace the black lab mix and Buddy the golden retriever mix in Lindenwood Park


martin

Thursday 3rd of January 2013

Not sure if you are still doing this and making a living but it was great to read it!! I have been on the managerial hamster wheel but have jumped of it now and need something new and rewarding while also making a living?

For a week now I have thought long and hard about taking on my own dog walking and sitting business............thank for your blog!!

Lindsay Stordahl

Thursday 10th of January 2013

Thanks, and best of luck to you if you start your own business! I'm still running dogs for a living and it's wonderful!

Katie

Friday 24th of February 2012

Just stumbled across this, and I have a question for you. After working for a dog walking company for the past 2 years, I'm looking into starting up my own. My main question is - how can I take days off? I rarely get sick, so I'm not really worried about that. If I want to take a trip though, is that doable, provided I give my clients ample head notice? I don't plan to have employees any time soon, so I wouldn't be able to provide a substitute. How does that normally work for you?

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 24th of February 2012

Easy. I just give them at least two week's notice and say I will be gone. Then they make other arrangements.

Suzanne

Saturday 27th of August 2011

I came across this blog by accident. I am also a dog walker and pet sitter. I decided to start my own business dog walking because I needed a job! Didn't think it would be successful by any means. It has been the best decision I have ever made and have to say dog walking and pet sitting has saved me. I will continue to read your blog for your advise and tips!

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 28th of August 2011

Great! Glad to hear you have been successful! Thanks for reading!

Lindsay Stordahl

Tuesday 22nd of February 2011

Thanks for reading my post. Best of luck to you and your sister. If you want to do this work bad enough, it will work out for you. For more advice, check out my post on how to start a dog walking business. And check out my ebook if you want further information. I also offer consulting. If you have any specific questions, just let me know!

http://www.thatmutt.com/2009/06/08/how-to-start-a-dog-walking-business

http://www.thatmutt.com/ebooks/

Kimberly

Tuesday 22nd of February 2011

I really appreciate your posts. My twin sister and I are seriously thinking about starting our own dog walking/services biz in Florida. We have been thinking about this for a long time and are eager to do this and researching things now. We LOVE dogs, have experience walking/sitting in the past, and are confident and hopeful that we can keep up with the pups athletically! Any other pointers you might suggest would be much appreciated. Thanks again for your posts!