Money columnist Amanda Blinkhorn reveals how pet-lovers can boost their pocket money
Britain’s Got Talent winner Jules O’Dwyer isn’t the only person waking up this morning thanking man’s best friend for making her fortune. Jules and her talented pooch, Matisse, may have scooped £250,000 on Sunday night thanks to her dedication and Matisse‘s talent, but thousands of people all over the country are making a small fortune living a dog’s life.
According to Direct Line Pet Insurance dog, walkers now earn considerably more than the average wage of £22,044 a year. By taking three dogs at a time for a walk for £11.50 an hour three times a day, a good dog walker can earn around £600 a week or £26,496, which is 20 per cent more than the average salary. In London, where hourly rates are £14 per dog per walk, you could earn more than £30,000 a year, more than many teachers or nurses.
So if you’re already a dog owner and would like to earn some extra dosh or just fancy being paid to walk in the park, how can you find a new best friend? Gumtree.com has specialist sections listing vacancies for pet walkers, sitters and boarders. Try putting a notice in your local vet’s, pet shop or newsagent’s window offering your services.
Word of mouth or some discreet leafleting in the park will also reap local customers – but be aware some parks will require professional dog walkers to pay a licence fee.
If you want to go one step further and travel the world consider signing up to trustedhousesitters.com and be put up in some of the most fabulous houses anywhere in the world in return for looking after the family pets while their owners are away.
If you prefer a more sedentary life you can always cat-sit or offer a cat a holiday home.
And for the more altruistically minded – or if you just want to see whether you’re cut out for looking after other people’s pets – contact battersea.org.uk or other animal charities who are always on the lookout for cat and dog foster families for abandoned pets.
Amanda Blinkhorn is a freelance journalist who has been writing about money, family life and everything in between since she was 19.
She blogs here almost every day and writes the Money Matters finance column in Candis magazine as well as for The Sunday Times and other newspapers and magazines. She lives in London with her four children aged between 8 and 19. She has almost finished training to be an adult literacy teacher and will qualify this summer, if she ever finishes those pesky essays.