Occupation: Dog walker and owner of Olympic View Dog Walking
City: Seattle, WA
Four months ago, Laura Stoudt quit the beer business to become a professional dog walker. Growing up as the child of brewery owners, she had taken the path of least resistance, falling into the business she knew so well. Her family also had dogs and cats, bred rabbits and hamsters, and raised peacocks and a few steers. Her dreams of becoming a veterinarian stymied by “all kinds of medical things I didn’t want to do,” she finally found a good fit in dog walking. Now, she’s enjoying the perks of a job that keeps her moving and outside—no bar food required.
What do you like most about your gig?
When I open the door and a dog is just so excited to see me, it's instant gratification. And then once I play with him or take him on a really long walk, he’s exhausted and gives me that happy, happy look, where he’s almost smiling back at me.
If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?
Less poop. That's challenging. I have these two dogs that I care for, and they have the nicest, most compact, perfect poops. Another dog’s were like these massive mounds. It was obvious the owner was feeding his dog total crap. You can kind of see if someone is feeding his dog a better kind of food; it comes out nicer.
What is something that most people don't know about this type of work?
People actually do this as a real profession. A lot of people are like, You can actually make money doing that? They think it's a part-time gig, which it certainly can be.
What are your interactions with clients like?
I don’t see most of my clients, because I'm just coming into the house, taking their dog on a walk, and coming back. Then I'll shoot them little texts, or write notes,“Great day walking the dog,” that sort of thing.
Unfortunately, I lost one client, an 88-year-old man with four crazy dogs, to pancreatic cancer. I loved going over to his house. He'd tell me these old fishing stories about back when he was living in Alaska. I'm going to miss him.