Ping Lim and Rachele Santoni are both pet sitters/dog walkers with Dogbuddy. Ping started pet sitting because she wanted to find the perfect dog breed to adopt. Even after adopting her own dog, she couldn’t stop, because she simply loves it! And Rachele is an international student who manages to pay her rent and help her family with this amazing part-time job.

work as a professional dog walker
Ping is Australian/Chinese and makes money as a pet sitter in Stockholm.

How did you discover Dogbuddy?

I came to Sweden because my husband and I were working with electronic products, and we have been living here for almost 4 years and a half now. We love dogs, and we have always wanted to have dogs. But we never got the chance because we’ve always traveled a lot and moved a lot, so this was the perfect opportunity. We moved to a new apartment, a new place, so we thought “ok, let’s try and see what kind of dogs we are going to have!”. And we discovered Dogbuddy app!

How is it going? Do you have many bookings?

We had 28 bookings since I started, in May. It’s phenomenal. I don’t even have to advertise. They just come because today I have nineteen 5-star reviews. Every week I have a dog. And the summer was perfect because some people went away for like 10 days, so we had like six dogs over the summer holidays. It was amazing!

And my first one was actually a puppy (French Mastive). He was only 4 months old when I got it. It was so much fun, we fall in love with him, and now he comes regularly. We are going to have him for Christmas for sixteen days. It’s wonderful, I love him! So he comes and visits me every once a week at least, we hang out, and his owner and I became very good friends.

What are the main perks of being a pet sitter?

Having a great time hanging out with a dog and getting paid. That’s what I love. And I am also meeting all these different types of dogs. Now we cannot think of not having a dog. So now we are actually looking for more space so we can have more dogs. Our own dogs but also keeping the ones that come in and out.

What is the biggest challenge?

The challenge is not being able to say ‘No’. When you are triple booked for example. “OMG I have all these dogs but I can’t take them because I don’t have space and it is difficult, so…” And today I discovered I only can have two dogs.

How does Dogbuddy app work?

Basically, the pet owners request the booking, then you can choose to respond or not. Then you agree to meet, and if you like each other it is great. But most of the times they (pet owners) don’t have the time to meet and greet so I pick up the dog or the owners drop it off. So, they come to your house and then you just get to hang out with the dog, you know. Usually, you spend an hour so they can calm down, so they can just take it easy and relax. And then you do your own thing. So, I get time to do all my personal stuff while the dog is just hanging around. It’s like having your own dog. And when we don’t have it we miss it.

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work as a professional dog walker
Italian, Rachele is a young student who pays her rent by working part-time as a pet sitter/dog walker.

What does this job mean to you?

As a student it was very useful for me because I have to face all the challenges of student life and I also have to help my family. In Sweden, everything is beautiful and people are very nice and I am enjoying it. But it also means you have to face some costs sometimes. So I am helping my family through this app. Also, people are asking more for dog daycare service, which means you they need you to stay with the dog for a whole morning or afternoon. This is good for me because it is part-time and I need to study.

Why pet sitting?

I also got this idea to start working with it because my mom is a dog instructor. So I started wondering “what if I started working with dogs and propose a different approach to the whole thing?” And I was surprised by it because I discovered that I probably have some skills that I haven’t experienced before. For example, organization, keeping in contact with people, providing them with photos and videos about their dogs, making dogs having fun. I am enjoying it and I will do it more often and also suggesting it to other students.

What are the perks of the app?

I was trying to reach clients through Facebook but it is not the same thing. One time, I remember there was this girl who contacted me because of her dog and she was a bit disappointed because I asked for 20 euros/day as it is in the app because she thought that half of the price would be enough. In fact, it depends on the needs of your dog. If you want me to just stay with the dog in the house if you want to provide him with some education. Because some people need help with their dog’s behaviour.

How so?

It’s similar to parenting a child. It’s useful when someone can provide a different approach to educate them. So sometimes people say: “my dog is improving with you, he used to have very intense behaviour and now with you, it’s better”. Usually, people ask me how is it to work with dogs. And, apparently, it is an easy thing, but if you want to do a good job it is not easy at all.

What does it take to be a good pet sitter?

It’s very important in this job to be very up to date to notifications because the demand is big, and as fast as you reply, the fastest you get the job. It’s also important the way you reply to possible clients.

You have to be very positive and open even if you don’t have a close relationship with them. After you got the notification, you have to pre-approve the purpose of dog sitting (walking, daycare, etc) and the clients can reply to you positively or not. Then they can come to your place, or you can go to their place to get the keys. So it is a job of responsibility too, people have to rely faith on you.

Then, it is important to send images, videos, in which you play with the dog, you show them that the dog is having a good time and you are educating him. This is a very important thing to succeed in this job because then they can leave you a good review which helps you to grow in the process of having new clients.

What are the main challenges?

In my case, what was tricky is that I had an Italian bank account, not a Swedish one. But you can just ask a close friend of yours to borrow his or her account.

How about the earnings?

I actually pay my rent with pet sitting. One thing I’ve learned about this job is that you have to be very organized about your calendar. Because if you want to earn more from a day you have to puzzle all the bookings to collect more appointments on the same day or week. I honestly suggest that if you have a bigger dog, just work separately with it.

work as a professional dog walker

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