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Just over a year ago I started dog-sitting. It's something I did simply because I discovered that I love being around dogs. Since I started I've had the pleasure of hosting about fifteen different dogs. There have been as many as four dogs in this 600-square-foot condo at once.
Throughout this time, I have gotten the question many times, why don't you get your own dog?
I suppose that's a logical question. Overall, because of my lifestyle (going out a lot, lots of traveling, etc.) I don't want to commit to having a dog permanently. Beyond that, though, there are some really awesome advantages to being a dog-sitter versus getting your own dog. So if you love you some puppies and you're hesitant to get one for yourself, read on and find out the greatness you can experience doing what I do.
1. The dogs are already trained.
Every furry friend that has checked into this doggy hotel has been house-trained. Most the time they are already a few years old and are very good at, you know, being cute, playful, happy doggies. So you won't have to worry about teaching them not to eat your furniture. You won't have to keep them on a strict schedule of going out for walks so that they get used to peeing and pooping when they get outside. Unless you agree to sit a three-week-old puppy or something, of course, they will have already gone through those growing pains. All you need to do is ask the owner what the dog's routine is (how many walks per day, when do they eat, etc.) and then focus on having fun with the dog.
2. Avoid the expenses.
In fact, you'll get paid. Yes, you love dogs, and you get paid to play with them. How awesome is that? You also won't have to worry about vet bills or grooming expenses. Most the time, the owner will bring the dog's food, treats, and toys over so you won't have to worry about those either. You literally just be there for them.
3. You get to help an owner and doggy in need.
When you're taking care of a dog, it's usually because the owner is going on a trip or is too busy to be with their pet. Often, owners will contact you a few days before they are going away desperate for someone willing to keep their mutt safe while they're gone. Being there for them and putting their minds at ease is quite the rewarding experience. If you love dogs, knowing that you were able to be there for one when they needed it is incredibly gratifying. Plus, it's super fun to take a selfie with a pooch and sending it to her owner while she is away on a business trip. It really makes their day sometimes!
Imagine being on a trip and getting pictures like these of your dog from your dog-sitter.
4. You get to experience more than one dog.
Each dog has their own personality. They have different likes, dislikes, and tendencies. I've had super quiet, shy dogs I never heard one bark from. I've had other pups that bark at the slightest noises and follow you around everywhere like a shadow. Getting to know them and watching them slowly warm up and get comfortable with you is a dog lover's dream. As a dog-sitter, you get to do that over and over again.
5. You can commit to whatever is comfortable for you.
If you're hesitant to get your own dog, you might be like me—yeah, you love them, but you feel like you might not always want one every day of your life. Sometimes a break would be nice, right? What if the walks and playing with them soon become more like a chore than it is a pleasure?
Well, that's exactly what you can control when you're a dog-sitter. Don't get me wrong, it has been my absolute pleasure to take care of every pooch that has come through here. But, sometimes, after a week or two of doing that, it's also great to not have to take them out, for example at 8 AM in the winter. Then after a few weeks of not having a dog here, when a request comes in, I'm ready for the next dog. I'm refreshed. I'm craving those walks and all that fun again.
Now, obviously it's not just fun and games. There are some challenges as well. Some dogs have complicated routines. Even though they are mostly house-trained, sometimes being in a new environment without their owner there, dogs will act up. There has been an accident or two here. One poor chihuahua was so disoriented he howled all day and earned me a noise complaint—on Christmas Day no less. Another sneaky one jumped on my kitchen counter and chewed up an avocado pit (don't ask) and then chewed up part of a flip-flop. There are so many stories that perhaps I will tell in a future article. Overall, though, the benefits I mentioned above far outweigh the challenges.