When was Walking the Dogs started?
In March of 2007 - we have been serving the local area for 12 years! It’s hard to believe it has been so long. When I first started the company I figured if anyone loved their dog half as much as I loved my dog, they would pay me to walk their dog. I started putting out fliers and the business grew. I asked a couple of friends I had volunteered with and trusted, to join me on this new adventure. Many of our new employees were also military spouses, like me.
What type of animals do you care for?
I was surprised at the number of people who needed care for their cats, and other small animals so we added small animal care.
I have had cats most of my life, and am pretty crazy about them, so it was a natural fit to expand to small animals as well. We have had a few pets who have needed in depth care and we are able to provide things like insulin shots, sub Q fluids, and inhalers, etc for our clients based on our team’s experience with those types of issues. Having kids, I have also owned several types of small animals (hamsters, rabbits, etc) and tanks of fish, so we expanded from there. Our team is comprised of ladies with extensive knowledge about birds and reptiles as well.
We have served all of the following over the years: guinea pigs, rabbits, reptiles, fish (salt water, fresh water, koi ponds), sugar gliders, birds, ferrets, hamsters, turtles, and chickens.
We also do house checks, mail pick up, and plant watering inside or out when clients don't have pets, or take their dogs with them but still want someone to provide that lived-in look for their homes.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
Wow, that is a tough one! Probably getting to meet all of the pets. I get to see so many of them since I do the majority of our new client meetings. I also enjoy getting to meet all of the nice people who love their pets and want the best for them. Some of our clients have become personal friends to me and/or our team. We have met some really interesting breeds of dogs and cats, and some pretty fabulous rescue pets as well. I was surprised early on how attached you get to other people's pets. They really become a part of our family when we see them on a regular basis. Did I mention puppies and kittens... Ya, there would be that too! :-)
How does a client contact you?
Most of our new clients start with either a phone call or an email. It is probably 50/50. Once in a while someone will reach out to us through our social media, texting or through another existing client.
Sounds like a great job – are you hiring?
We are always looking for great people to join our team who love pets and want to spend their days outside getting exercise with dogs or inside snuggling with some kitties, bunnies, etc! We hire a lot of military spouses (active duty and retired); we find they are a great fit for our company. We also have several team members who are currently teachers that work with us. They do pet sitting for dogs or other small animals in the evenings or on the weekends. My husband is retired military, and we spent many years moving around. I know firsthand how hard it is to find a flexible job that is part time.
Lastly, what areas do you serve?
We serve the following areas: Springfield, Burke, Fairfax Station, Lorton, Fairfax, and a small bit of Annandale. We try to maintain that personalized feel to our company. We want each client to feel they are getting specialized treatment from our dedicated team for their special pets and the security of knowing their home, as well as their pets, are in good hands with us.