How did you get started pet sitting or dog walking?
I had been in corporate medical sales for 20 years and was ready for a change. I wasn’t sure what that change would look like, only that I wanted to look forward to going to work.
Then, I saw a Rover ad on a website, thought it looked interesting and it was something I could do while looking for a different job.
I had always loved dogs. Soon I discovered that I not only loved dogs, but they are my passion. I made a major pivot!
Best move I ever made.
How long have you been pet sitting or walking with Rover?
Two and a half years.
For you, what is the best thing about being a pet sitter or walker?
It’s like being a Rockstar when I walk into the house of one of my dogs!
They are jumping up and down and so excited to see me. They have no hidden agendas. They just want love and return it to you three-fold.
Must be what the Stones feel like… move over Mick! ;)
Would you tell us about causes or activities you devote your time to or issues you feel passionate about?
I'm a major supporter of our Wounded Warriors, being a veteran myself.
We have raised money and supplies for dogs of the last few hurricanes (Houston, The Keys and Puerto Rico). My wife and I left New Orleans after Katrina, but not immediately. Knowing what people go through after something like that, you want to help.
We are very active with Paw Patrol Animal Rescue of Miami, FL, and Blessed Paws of Lake Worth, FL.
All of our dogs are and have been rescues, and we are on our 4th foster dog as well.
What's your sitter "super power"?
The dogs are actually pretty easy...It’s the owners that can be tricky sometimes.
I think versatility with people is my “super power.” Being able to cater to each owners personal needs and demands for their pets, and keeping them happy is the key to this job.
If you needed a pet sitter or dog walker, what are the top 3 characteristics you would seek out?
Love of Animals.
Follower of the Golden Rule, treat others as you would like to be treated. Karma is real.
How do you recharge after a busy day?
I like to relax at the tiki bar at the back of my house with a cold beverage and my guitar or a good book.
I also run or do P90X to clear my mind after a long day.
What is your favorite podcast, TV show and/or movie?
We watch Game of Thrones, Walking Dead and Longmire (lately).
I listen to XM (ESPN U and SEC network) and Audible while walking dogs.
Lately, I’ve been reading/listening to Craig Johnson and Patrick O’Brian.
Shawshank Redemption is my favorite movie; “get busy living or get busy dying.”
Do you have a favorite story about a dog(s) you have met through Rover?
I had a couple of bonded dachshunds, Starla & Memphis, that I had taken care of on a few different occasions while the owner was in the hospital. It was on the fourth or fifth booking that the stay kept getting extended & that I realized their owner was terminally ill.
Starla & Memphis' owner lived alone in South Florida and I wasn’t sure what would happen to the dogs if he passed.
Being connected with the rescue community, I made some calls to see if we could get them adopted together. One of my friends connected with another friend who had lost a dachshund a few months ago said he would love to have them.
Soon after that, the owner contacted me, as he had been placed in hospice, and said he only had a few days left fighting the cancer. He asked me if I knew someone who could give his beloved Starla & Memphis a good home together. I told him I did.
He was extremely grateful and said it took a huge weight off his heart knowing his dogs would be taken care of after he passed.
You really can make a difference in this career!
What advice would you give to a new sitter or walker?
Be open to every new experience, opportunity and challenge this job brings. It’s what makes it great.
Every dog, owner and situation is different. You’re outside with great interaction with wonderful creatures. Roll with it and enjoy it!
Oh, and do not wear flip -flops. I speak from experience...
Ha! Thanks, Michael! Tons of fun talking to you and we hope you stay cool...
If you'd like to check out Michael's profile, you can see it here