Markets in everything those new service sector jobs

In a nation where people lead ever more busy lives and increasingly view their dogs as family members, professional dog walking is flourishing. And along with it is what might be viewed as the unusual art of dog walker communication. Many of today’s walkers do not simply stroll — not if they want to be rehired, anyway. Over text and email, they craft fine-grained, delightful narratives tracing the journey from arrival at the residence to drop-off. They report the number of bathroom stops. They take artistic photos, and lots of them.

“For an hour-long walk, I send six or eight, depending,” said Griffin, 44, who holds a treat in her hand when shooting to ensure her charge is looking at the camera. “Then I give a full report that includes not only peeing and pooping but also kind of general well-being, and if the dog socialized with other dogs.”

After walking a dog named Stevie Nicks earlier this year, Griffin’s blow-by-blow mentioned that the dog had collected a chicken bone from under a bush, then “crunched down on it and broke into 3 pieces.” At the end of another walk, Griffin related that she “picked the foxtails out of her little beard and mustache,” and explained precisely where the foxtails had come from — “the fence around the yard at the corner.”

Dog walkers’ notes are often more exhaustive than those parents get from the caregivers of their human children.

The article is interesting throughout:

“Ongoing, two-way communication is actually one of the most important components to a successful walk,” White said. “What we’ve heard from owners is the more details, the better. You can’t have too many details.”…

“All of our dog walkers have been really good communicators, but Perry wins the prize,” said Tucci, a nonprofit executive. His texts “are really are more logistical and poop-oriented than anything else. But they’re always so enthusiastic.”

Here is the full WaPo story by Karin Brullard.


Are these people making enough money to fund their retirements or will they down the line vote for the next braindead bunch of populists to make up for their inability to think that far ahead? Seriously, people should study medicine, finance, tech, you know, something with stable prospects. Being a social media microinfluencer is fun for a year or two but financial reality will hit them like a self-driving Uber.

The job may not be highly paid, but it does seem relatively stable. It's probably going to be a while before a robot with AI will be able to walk and play with a dog, take artistic pictures of it, and create daily micro-stories with the dog as the protagonist.

Meh, next time there is an economic downturn people will just tie their dogs to the bumper of a self driving car.

Perhaps given the state of the job market this is the best job for their abilities?

"... people should study ..."

Our dog-walker who ran her own company for over 10 years, just retired in her mid-50's. She had 4 employees (she transferred the client list to her most senior employee, who now walks our pup) who worked for her full-time (6-7 days a week). I asked her what her individual annual income was, and it was over $200K. My wife is a teacher and helped cover employee vacations during summer months. Each 30min walk is $15 (she took $5 for every walk and employee kept $10). She also provided some type of insurance (I'm not sure what exact) that was used if either dog or dog-walker were injured.... all that to say, if you're organized and dependable, you can build quite a lucrative business.

Do you have a dog? If not, do you have a young child? Many people really do treat their dog as a member of their family. So like a child, people want "the best" for their pup (friendly, dependable, etc...) and are willing to pay for it. You can argue all you want about whether this is over-the-top or wasteful, but the demand is there. I would argue that if you feel that way, you're probably a soulless monster.

So it's true. Your country really does have too much money.

No, it's simply impossible to get a job that will pay rent, student loans, etc. with a humanities-degree and many people don't have any particular career-aspirations when they're 18 so they get humanities-degrees. And people don't have relatives who can hire them, either; everyone's on his own. Unless you know how to work the welfare-system -- but this requires having grown up within the "community" of welfare-systemoids.

Oh, are you referring to the people who pay the dog-walkers? Those people work 12 hours a day in downtown or midtown Manhattan and probably spend 2 more hours on the subways getting to and from work.

Yes, it's all a matter of perspective. Americans hiring people to walk their dogs is the same as me paying my cousin to milk my snakes here in Elbonia.

If you have to be away from home 14 hours you're gonna have to pay someone to milk your snakes and it might as well be your cousin.

Here in the USA there are no cousins because there are no siblings -- only one child per family (at least among those who have jobs and therefore must pay people to milk their snakes).

If they make such bad choices when they're 18 then they do have too much money. People who are struggling rarely make such bad decisions by the millions and then expect others to pay for theirs, all the while expressing contempt for the lower classes who did at least find boring, remunerative work.

From that right-wing bastion CNN;
Median starting salaries for graduates in 2018 was $50k per year, and chances of getting a job are very high. This would be considered film star wages in just about any other country in the world. I suspect the dog walkers are people who like the job - a lot of people would consider being paid to walk the dog a dream job as they love dogs and abhor responsibility.

The rent is high in places with good jobs - Seattle, SF, SV, Portland, NYC, etc. We have the wealthy and everybody else. If one is in the set everyone else life is precarious.

We had a dog walker in our neighborhood - within commute distance of SV. Her precarious housing situation evaporated. She moved away.

"Dog walkers’ notes are often more exhaustive than those parents get from the caregivers of their human children."

All men have a stock of love laid up in them by nature which they cannot forbear to bestow on something or other. We should therefore take care to choose fit and worthy objects of our love lest...we grow fond of little dogs and monkeys.--John Locke

Yes, one step toward restoring American reproduction would be to ban dogs. It's infuriating seeing comely, intelligent-looking young childless Brooklyn couples walking dogs. Not really their fault, though -- both of them have to work full-time to pay the rent.

Wealthy Effective Altruists might consider paying comely, intelligent-looking young Brooklyn couples to have children, with one of the parents staying at home to nurture said children.

How many kids have the average NRx with time to post on comments thread / Russky trollsky given birth to? I am guessing 90th percentile = zero?

Note that I said "not really their fault, though ...."

I have one child, if you're really curious.

And if you're really curious about my time -- I taught seven classes last semester, have an "intersession" one coming up, six next semester.

There has never been any "Neo-Reaction" -- indeed (as you seem to be suggesting) that was primarily an attempt to find a cool new way to be anti-American, but it fizzled out pretty quickly.

"Russky trollsky" is very far from hitting the mark. I most dig 1950s America, 18th Century England, and the Rome of Hadrian through Marcus.

That seems to another misleading statistic, that fewer American women are having children. That last statistic I saw from a couple of years ago is that 43% of American women age 18-45 are childless. That is so patently wrong and ridiculous, it is difficult to argue with. Of the approximately 1000 women that I know, ages 20-70, (at least enough to know if they have children or not), fewer than 50 do not have a child and most have 2-4 each. One wonders what reasons are behind this new found concern over supposedly declining American fertility. motivated by other reas

How did Nixon win the election? Not a single person I know voted for him!

Most of the people I know voted for Nixon, as much of a mistake as that might be. I also knew quite a few people who threw a party when Robert Kennedy was killed. They felt the country had been saved from continuing the flawed Kennedy dynasty. Of course, the country then was "blessed" with the Bush dynasty.

+1 good comment.

My dog walker charges $18 per visit (one dog). If I am away, that means at least three visits per day ($54), or four visits per day if my dog walker has the time ($72). And contrary to what might be inferred from the excerpts of the article, dog walkers do not spend much time with the dog - they can't because they have lots of dogs to walk.

Low trust? People don't trust people who obviously like dogs enough to make them their occupation - to treat their dog humanely. Thus the micro-story, not because its of intrinsic interest, but to prove that all was well. Probably smart. Somebody on NextDumb posted a porchcam video of a dogwalker pulling on (!) a recalcitrant Fido to get it in the door. There was much hissing from the commenting "neighbors." She'll never walk dogs in this town again.

But perhaps the photographing and texting also serve to relieve the tedium of endlessly walking dogs that are not your own. And getting the "story" lets you know you are done. Much as with children's activities - the photo is nowadays how you know something happened, and we can stop now.

A few people will be wealthy and able to afford all manner of servants. The rest will be, well, servants - and poor.

This will not end well.

The claim that Americans "increasingly view pets as part of the family" is patently false. Has Brullard noticed the ongoing collapse of the veterinary profession/education? Fewer people than ever are taking Fido to the vet. This is part of the ongoing 3rd-worldization of America.

Dogs with poor owners will die.

When I lived in NYC (2007-09), I hired a woman to watch our cat (visit him in our apartment) when we went out of town. She did that and also walked dogs. She was well educated, highly organized, and very professional. The first time we went out of town, I emailed her on the 2nd day to ask how our cat was. She told me, but also replied, politely but firmly, that she was a professional and highly experienced, and that if there was anything unusual or needing care, she'd contact us immediately. Otherwise, there was no need to contact her. That was actually pretty good, I thought. This sort of helicopter parenting for pets (outsourced, even!) is more a sign of neurosis than anything good, I think.

That's precisely what I would have written to you, too, if I were helping myself to your wine cellar or your wife's jewelry box.

If the person was doing that, why would it matter what they wrote? More importantly, though, I have had cat watchers come look after my cat when I'm out of town in several different cities (and now even countries), and have employed at least 7 people to do this. They all do it in my home. Exactly none of them have stolen anything. It's true that I have had, at best, a modest wine collection, and my wife doesn't care for jewelry that much, but even when valuables are around, literally nothing has been stolen. Perhaps you need to reevaluate your view here.

Basically all the new and improved service sector jobs are converging on providing boutique services for the upper middle class.

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