Google Your Way Into a FUN Job
BY WENDY CRAWFORD
Really and truly, pets and jobs can go hand-in-hand (or should we say hand-in-paw!) You don’t have to go to veterinary school to work with animals…although you might end up inspired to do just that. Pet related jobs come in all sizes and shapes and it generally doesn’t matter whether you’re a teenager or a retiree. The only requirements are a sense of responsibility and a love of animals. These jobs range from part-time seasonal positions to full-time new careers…and everything in between Before we discuss job avenues, let’s talk basics.
The benefits of a pet related job go far beyond a paycheck. For retirees, working for a dog walking service offers you a regular exercise pattern, the opportunity to meet/socialize with new people and, above all, it allows you to share the joy our pets experience while on a walk. Plus they’re darned good companions! For teens and college kids, pet related employment runs the gamut from part-time to actual internships, which can often lead to full-time employment once formal education is completed. Internships are the best way to determine if you really want to spend an extra 3-5 years going to vet school after college. This real life experience are a bonus for parents as well as for students. I write this from a personal perspective – my kid eliminated law school from her “I want to be” list after she interned with a lawyer one summer. Apparently she discovered saving the world was only a tiny part of the legal profession. Now, you are reading The Pet Gazette because you love pets. Let’s be honest, that’s sort of a given. So why not turn your affection for pets into a pay-check? That’s why we’ve put together some suggestions to help you earn some extra cash while having a good time.
Dog walking is a thriving business year round. Pet owners who enjoy spending time with their friends often find themselves involved in plans that don’t always include pet-friendly spots. Similarly, a working parent may also choose to coach their kids’ sports team or volunteer for a community activity. There are all sorts of reasons that work in your favor if dog walking appeals to you. Here are two ways for you to approach this:
- Work for an existing dog walking business. These businesses almost always need additional trainee walkers. Do a Google search for the ones that cover your area and contact them. You’ll quickly discover there might be a huge range of selections ranging from the basics all the way up to “concierge walking services.” Go for the ones that appeal to you and whatever you think is right for the dogs.
- Start your own small part time seasonal business. Get the word out to neighbors that YOU are available. The online networking platform, NextDoor, is neighborhood specific and people across the country are using it to find local pet walkers and pet care. Whatever you choose, we suggest putting together a short resume of your skills and experience with dogs. Make sure to share your reasons for loving the job.
CLIENT HOME PET (AND PLANT) CARE
People travel, especially during the Summer and Christmas holidays, and are not always keen to board their pets at the family vet. Pet sitting services can be in your home or in the pet’s home depending on the owner’s preference. Everything from dogs and cats to birds and fish need to be fed and watered and played with when owners are on vacation. If you are reliable, trustworthy, and available, pet owners will jump at the chance to keep their beloved pet with you. Additionally, as a personal pet-sitter you ensure plants are watered, mail is brought in and the house is occupied. This offers the owner peace of mind over and above the fanciest alarm system. Do a Google search for comparable services in your area. This lets you check out your potential competition; their rates, terms, and such. Planning ahead is worth it. Then spread the word that you are available. Once again, NextDoor.com is a great resource and it’s FREE.
PET GROOMING SERVICES
Every reputable groomer can sometimes use an extra set of hands. Having your name on file with the ones near you makes sense. You might have to start by sweeping puppy hair and fur off the floor, but that’s the same way all great human hair stylists start as well. If you are sure this is what you want to do, check out the American Academy of Pet Grooming. AAPOG is a leading New York State licensed institution for pet grooming and offers a full range of classes teaching bathing, cutting and styling, as well as effortless and painless mani-pedis. At AAPOG 99% of all training is hands-on, which is crucial for proper training. An added bonus is that AAPOG offers lifetime placement assistance to help you get that first gig.
VETERINARY CLINIC TRAINEE
This is the ideal role for anyone considering veterinary school! You will be exposed to everything that goes on in a clinic from helping to check in pets, to helping prep for surgery. You will deal with multiple species and breeds and you will quickly learn how to communicate with pet owners, along with unlimited puppy kisses! You will learn office procedures (after all, vet clinics are businesses) and if you’re thinking about your future, you need this knowledge. Being an intern for a few summer and holiday breaks could lead to a job as a full time vet staff member.
PET DAY CARE FACILITIES AND/OR PET CAMPS
Many times these locations offer pet training, but not always. If you are keen on learning to train puppies, find a facility that includes that and make them an offer to do the most menial work available. So, back to Google you go. Visit the facilities in your area; observe sessions and see what they offer and then apply. As a side note, Pooper Scoopers do get paid and that is your fastest entry into these positions. Ultimately your goal is to observe and learn.
Get your resume in order, this will be good whether you are applying to an existing business or persuading clients to book with you directly. If you are venturing out on your own, you will need to market yourself! These days this is easier than you might think. You can post flyers around your neighborhood or tell friends and family what you want to do and see if you get someone interested. Ultimately, you are asking people to share their contact info so you can send them marketing materials. Again, some of the best ways to get the news out, at little to no cost, is to make use of sites like NextDoor and Facebook. Now, I realize many of you know all this, but if you do a great job and that first pet LOVES being with you – you’ll get a lot more business. Who knows, your part-time job just might turn into a year-around business!
RULES OF THUMB:
- Be on time. Always.
- Agree to terms and your rates before beginning the job.