Dog walking apps offer relief to busy pet owners, as well as income and companionship for dog walkers.
In today’s technology-driven age, there seems to be an app for everything. Dog walking is no exception. In fact, several dog walking apps have recently appeared on the scene.
Emily Kennedy, a 22-year-old University of Maryland graduate, has embraced Rover, the leading dog walking app, as a fun way to earn some extra cash and familiarize herself with her new surroundings in Washington D.C.
A sales and marketing associate, Kennedy grew up in Annapolis in a family that regularly fostered dogs and cats. Pet-less for the first time in her life, she missed the presence of a furry, four-legged friend. She found her fix through Rover.
Jmore recently caught up with Kennedy to discuss dog walking apps.
What inspired you to become a dog walker?
My days off fall during the work week, and I found myself with a lot of free time. Since none of my friends were around, I was motivated to find something to do. Not to mention [the fact that] I missed my dogs from home. The extra money is an added bonus.
How does Rover work?
Think of Uber except the dog walkers are the drivers and the passengers are the dogs. I am able to open up my app and see who is requesting a walker, at what time and the distance of the walk.
What was the approval process like?
The approval process took about a month. After signing up, you explain why you want to be a dog walker, your past experiences with dogs and cats as well as provide referrals — the more the better. In addition, they require that you get a background check. Once your background check is approved, you are qualified for pet sitting and/or boarding. It isn’t until you complete an in-person harness test that you’re an approved dog walker.
What’s the walk process?
Once I’ve accepted a walk, I am put in contact with the pet owner who provides me with a way [to gain entrance] into their house. As soon as I exit the house, I click “start” on the app and the walk is tracked by GPS.
The owner can follow along on their phone and receive live updates. At the end of the walk, I fill out a Rover report which includes photos and a brief note about the walk.
What has been your most challenging experience?
I was attempting to walk Lola, a very shy pit bull who wouldn’t leave her house. I thought maybe she had anxiety or was nervous around new people, so I tried encouraging her with treats but nothing worked. After contacting the owner, I learned she’s afraid of the rain.
Do you have regular clients?
I have one regular client who is a year-old boxer named Angus. His owner reaches out to me through the app to see if I’m available because he knows I have a soft spot for his dog. I think Angus and I have started to build a relationship. When I first began walking him, he was very timid but now he greets me at the door with a warm hug.
Have you always been a dog lover?
I’ve always been a dog lover, but I can’t say the same for cats. It wasn’t until this spring when my family had a foster fail [a foster pet who is adopted by the foster family] that I started understanding the [cat] obsession. Shrek was sick with feline leukemia, and as he started to recover, we all fell in love with him.
What’s your favorite part about working for Rover?
Rover is the perfect way to explore D.C. The dogs I walk are in different neighborhoods and it gives me the opportunity to learn my way around. What’s better than having a dog by my side to do that?
Do you see yourself being a doggie mom in the future?
Yes, I definitely want a large rescue dog. I think pit bulls are cute and very under-appreciated, but I also love big furry dogs.
For information about the Rover app, visit rover.com.
Natalie Jeffery is a Jmore editorial staff intern.