21 October 2010
Every day as I walk the dogs, I bump into the same woman, also walking a dog.
It could be a West Highland terrier, a German shepherd, a pair of sprightly chocolate labradors or any other type of dog we happen to have in our village.
This woman is a professional dog walker. She has cards up in the local post-office and shops and the odd self-crayonned poster on lampposts advertising her service. And she seems to be busy.
She does half hour walks for pets whose owners are out at work all day. She cycles in between each appointment and presumably has a load of keys to various houses in the village, not to mention a lot of trust placed in her.
It'll keep her fit, healthy and active and for as long as people have dogs, she isn't going to be short of work. And, as it's cash in hand, she has the option of keeping it shtum too.
I bet she earns a cracking wedge. Let's say eight walks a day, five days a week, assuming that it's somewhere between a fiver and a tenner per walk? That's pushing 400 quid. And the only expense she has is bags, and probably a bit of insurance. If she does do it legitimately, she can put new shoes, warm clothing and her bike on her tax bill. And she never has to leave her home village to do it.
She isn't walking my dogs though, I like doing that myself way too much.