This Labor Day, I'd like to take a minute to recognize the professional dog walkers and pet sitters that dedicate their lives to caring for animals of all ages, sizes, temperaments, and species seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Despite many financial articles to the contrary, professional pet sitting is a tough industry. When done properly, it's tough to turn a profit. Whether as a pet sitting business owner, independent contractor, or as an employee of a business, professional pet sitters operate in an environment where expenses abound, time is limited, and challenges can present themselves out of nowhere. The industry is oftentimes seasonal, clientele bases can, for varying reasons, be unstable, and burn-out is a popular industry term that is regularly sited as the reason why many professional pet sitting companies go out of business within the first few years.
At this point, you should know that, when I refer to professional pet sitters, I'm referring to professionals, licensed business owners, insured and bonded workers, and employees of licensed, bonded, and insured businesses. I am NOT referring to the lady that takes in pets for friends or the kid down the street that makes extra money playing with kittens over holidays. I am NOT referring to someone that completed a profile on a popular "pet sitting" website that links pet parents with people looking to care for pets on their spare time. And, I am NOT referring to someone that walks his or her neighbors’ dogs as a hobby or as a way to supplement their income.
Professional pet sitters are more than just animal lovers and pet enthusiasts. Professional pet sitters study our trade and earn certifications in business, pet care, first aid, you name it. We work tirelessly to succeed, oftentimes putting our physical and emotional wellbeing on the line for the comfort, safety, and happiness of the dogs, cats, small animals, etc. that find themselves in our care and in the effort to make pet parenting easier on their families. When I say "professional pet sitter," I'm specifically referring to pet sitters like those that comprise The Wag Pack team, 17 professional dog walkers and pet sitters that meet and exceed expectations daily.
Every day, I watch as our employees enthusiastically take on new hire training exercises and continuing education opportunities and recognize them as true and dedicated professionals. I hear them speak of the pets in their care with such love and respect that it oftentimes brings tears of joy to my eyes. I observe as they face challenges with pets and pet parents with courage, compassion, and unwavering patience and am downright impressed. I notice their voices shaking when they are reporting on a sick pet's progress or lack thereof and worry about compassion fatigue. I see the concern in their eyes when we discuss the importance of preventing accidents, injuries, or illness and recognize their infinite value.
Today, I heard one of our staff members confidently tell me that a pet in her care needed immediate veterinary attention. I listened as she emotionally gave me an update on the status of the pet's condition. I cried as she calmly stated that she would be by the pet's side as she transitioned to the rainbow bridge. "I want to be with her," she said. I stood in awe of her conviction and strength. I felt proud that TWP was providing such professional, loving, and compassionate care to both the pet and the pet parent, who is currently traveling, during such a difficult time.
Labor Day is meant to celebrate workers and honor hard work. I couldn't think of a better time to celebrate the companies and individuals that make the professional pet sitting industry great. To our extraordinary team at TWP and to the many wonderful pet sitters that I've had the pleasure to meet, teach, coach, and/or share a drink with over the years, I honor you and your hard work. I thank you for contributing to and enriching the lives of companion animals and their families. I admire you for being more than just animal lovers. I wish you a wonderful holiday weekend and remind you to take a minute to celebrate.