Many of us go through life working at a job that doesn't make us happy. If you are going to be doing a job for 40 hours a week, wouldn't it be nice if you enjoyed it. At the beginning of this year, I hung up my keyboard and started my own company; Lethbridge Dog Walking. I offer dog walking and pet sitting services. This is not everyone's dream job, but it is mine. I get to do what I have always wanted to do.
Rewind to when I was younger. From a young age, I was pet obsessed. I loved looking after our families pets and tried to adopt as many strays as I could. I would go over to friends houses to walk their dogs and hang out with their pets. On our families annual camping trips, you could find me catching turtles; frogs and snakes. I love all creatures, and am happiest spending my days in their company.
My love of animals led me to take Wildlife Biology at Trent University. I had visions of sitting in the forests of Gombe Stream National Park studying Chimpanzees...or something along those lines.
I landed my first Wildlife Biology job with the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, Ontario. What a great job! I did a mark and recapture study on turtles. I handled Snapping Turtles with shells almost one meter in length! Surprise, surprise; I still have all my fingers. I did bird surveys and was given the opportunity to do bird banding too. I also did amphibian surveys in the evenings during the spring. Being outside working with animals all day and night was a dream come true.
This is me holding one of the smaller Map turtles we captured in our nets.
The Royal Botanical Gardens was a student position so it only lasted for the summer months. My next position was also amazing. I worked with a graduate student in Georgian Bay Islands National Park. I was a Snake Research Assistant. You don’t see that title on many resumes! In the spring, I caught Eastern Fox Snakes as they emerged from hibernation. These snakes hibernated communally, so the area surrounding the hibernation site was a great spot for capturing these beautiful creatures which could grow to almost six feet in length. After their emergence, I used radio telemetry to track the snakes, and noted all snake species along the way. Including the Massasauga Rattlesnake, which was so amazing too see.
This is me and "Isaiah" one of the snakes I tracked. We handled the snakes to take measurements.
Like my first job, the Snake Research Assistant position was a contract and it came to an end. My next job had me dropping rabies vaccines from an airplane with the Ministry of Natural Resources.
I am on the left. We had no reason to smile in this photo; the vaccines on the table in front of us are covered in fish bits. Not the best smell in a confined space!
The reoccurring theme for these jobs was that they were contract positions. I needed something full time.
I took a year and got a diploma in Geographic Information Systems GIS. In a nutshell, I started to make maps and manage data on a computer. I hopped that one day it would lead me back to working with animals. As the years went by, I felt myself getting further and further away from what I wanted to do.
Finally, after many years of contemplation, I have taken the plunge and started my own dog walking and pet sitting business here in Lethbridge, Alberta. I am so excited to be working with animals again. This is another one of those dream jobs that I have always enjoyed doing in my spare time. Now I get to do it on a full time basis. I could not think of a better fit.
This is me and my first dog, Tyler. He was a great dog.