We are kicking off a series of interviews of some of our Rover walkers and sitters!
Today, we have an interview with Walt Galvin in Woodbridge, Virginia.
How did you get started pet sitting or dog walking?
I retired 3 years ago, sold the big house & moved into a smaller place. I finished the “honey-do” list and then after a couple of months of laying around doing nothing, my wife came home, put her hands on her hips and said, "You need to do something!”
Then, I happened to see a Rover ad on Facebook, clicked it & started my profile.
I got no requests for 3 months--but got my first booking 3 months later and am now booked solid Monday-Friday for mid-day walks.
How long have you been pet sitting or walking with Rover?
A little over 2 years--had my first booked on March 15, 2016
For you, what is the best thing about being a walker?
The EXERCISE! I get to walk about 25 miles a week.
You are involved in several pet advocacy organizations, would you tell us about your history with those and what other causes or activities you devote your time to?
I have been involved in a labrador retriever rescue group in the DC area for 18 years and not only served on the Board but also as President. The organization worked with shelters all over Virginia, into North Carolina & up to the Pennsylvania line.
If a Lab comes into a shelter, the shelter would reach out to the rescue. The lab rescue will take the dog to a participating vet to have a check up, spay or neuter if needed or treat for disease as necessary. Once a clean bill of health is given, then the dog will go to a foster home--all fostering homes are those of volunteers. The foster will care for them and then the dog goes up for adoption!
The rescue has an 100% placement for about 1000 dogs a year.
I have had 6 “failed fosters” over the years, which means the dogs stayed with me and my pack.
Altogether, I have had over 150 foster dogs come through my home!
What's your sitter "super power"?
I have a wonderful rapport with dogs. They feel comfort around me. When meeting a dog for the first time, 98% of the time they come right to me at the start.
If you needed a dog walker, what are the top 3 characteristics you would seek out?
1) Physical stamina and ability--walking 25 miles a week and you have to go no matter the weather
2) A good understanding of animal behavior because you are outside, on the street and things can happen. A walker needs to be prepared.
3) Highly dependable--you commit to folks and you will be there Monday thru Friday--you are there--I have never missed a day unless there was someone to back me up.
How do you recharge after a busy day?
My wife & I like to travel. The Rover income is used for some bills but more than 50% of it goes to travel.
What is your favorite podcast, TV show and/or movie?
We are movie buffs! Independent films mostly.
Do you have a favorite story about a dog you have met through Rover?
I have walked a 90 lb. American Bulldog--Walter-- for over 2 years (& he is 3 years old now).
The client was looking for a walker, she had just a baby and needed some help. She got on Rover and saw me; she wanted a guy to walk her dog and liked my background in rescue.
Walter, the dog, is always sitting right by the front door when I come by each weekday at 10 am--ready and waiting!
What advice would you give to a new sitter or walker?
Do your research and educate yourself! Animal behavior training or info is great. Also, be ready for sitter with extra crates, dog proofing your home, cleaning supplied and putting away anything hazardous or valuable.
Thank you , Walt, for your time and energy!
If you’d like to see Walt’s profile, you can click here