My journey to the job I love!
Why did you decide to become a dog walker? Well sometimes I wonder the same thing when I am slipping and sliding my way along a muddy path in the middle of winter with rain pouring down on me and my waterproofs covered with mud!! Add to that a crazy dog or two leaping at my feet and almost tripping me up and I am sure you can imagine what it is like.
I have always enjoyed being outside and anyone who knows me will tell you that I am happier outdoors than indoors and it is true. Since having children, we have owned three dogs - a Jack Russell Terrier 'Pip' who passed away 3 years ago, Whiz Whippet who followers of my Facebook page will know and now Sidney - Jack Russell Terrier/Chihuahua rescue puppy who is a pure bundle of mischief. With each of these dogs, whenever I have felt that I need some time to myself I pop a lead on them and take them out.
One day I was out walking Whiz at Oldbury Court watching him running around as he does and playing with other dogs. I was going through a difficult time as I have typed since I was 18 (a long time ago now!) and was suffering from Repetitive Strain Injury, Tendonitis and general pains in my arms and wrists. My husband works full time but I wanted to do something for myself too but obviously typing was no longer an option. And then it hit me - dog walking!
Once I thought of it then it made perfect sense to me. My family and friends thought it would be just right for me because I love dogs, love being outside and am not scared of getting wet and cold (just as well really). Besides anything else, no matter how many dogs I walk, I decided it would be good for me both physically and mentally to be out dog walking and have my own business.
I decided on the name Time 4 A Walk and set about designing my logo and website and thinking about what services I wanted to offer. I am rather a technophobe but found that the more I did the easier it got and it built up my self esteem no end - this is an area that I have always struggled with but thanks to what I am doing now and the progress I am making I feel so much better about everything! I love now having my own crated van which makes life so much easier and I feel a lot more professional.
Obviously, like for many other businesses, Covid-19 has made a huge impact on Time 4 A Walk. I shut down from March 23rd to June 1st and now, a month in, am getting used to the new normal. My clients have all been very supportive and I am (or will shortly) be walking my lovely dogs again as required, bearing in mind people are still working from home.
There are many things that I enjoy about being out walking the dogs. I love that the dogs get so excited when I turn up .... some owners report that the dogs even know my van and when they say my name! I really enjoy watching the dogs interact and play with each other; you can learn so much just by watching them. It is wonderful to see any new dogs become integrated within the group - they may start a bit unsure but in no time they pal up with another dog and before I know it they are having the time of their life with their new buddies! It is fantastic to see them blossoming in front of me.
I am slowly tweaking Time 4 A Walk into the business I really want it to be but it has taken time and hard work. Bit by bit I am adding things like my dog showers plus the cool mat for when the sun appears again. Thank you to all my wonderful clients who have stood by me even through broken fingers and coming out of this awful time of Covid-19. My focus for the future is definitely on continuing enriching group walks for all the dogs under my care and I am so excited by my new 2 hour plus walks on weekends ..... roll on 18th July!
If you would like your dog to join in with any of my walks please get in touch as I only have a couple of vacancies. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07803 000669 for more details.
Bye for now! Ali, Whiz and Sidney x