Steal This Job
Dogged Devotion: Pet Sitter
Wednesday, August 17, 2005; 2:43 PM
CAITLIN CHIPPERFIELD, 25
JOB: Pet sitter for Alexandria-based doggywalker.com.
SALARY: $8 per half-hour session with a single dog, $9 for a cat and $35 for an overnight stay, plus tips. Salary can double during the holidays.
EDUCATION: Bachelor's in city and regional planning from Cornell University
WHAT SHE DOES: Chipperfield visits clients' homes to provide much-needed midday attention to dogs and cats. Pets get treats and water and, if needed, food and medication; dogs get walks, cats get playtime. Owners get a note detailing the visit, including where they walked and whether the dog relieved itself. She'll occassionally tend to a cat (she stays the whole time even if the cat ignores her) or dog overnight when owners are out of town. "We just hang out all night, watch TV, cuddle, play," she said. A fringe benefit: "I don't have cable and everybody here has cable."
WOULD YOU WANT HER JOB? Dogs still need to do their business in rain, snow and sweltering heat. There's poop, lots of it, which must be disposed of. And you never know what else will end up on your hands. She once had to extract "a very dead squirrel" ("the most putrid thing I'd ever smelled") from a dog's mouth.
HOW YOU CAN GET HER JOB: Any experience with animals is beneficial; Chipperfield was once a veterinary technician. Some companies require a car.
This article first appeared in the Express on October 25, 2004.