Dog Walker

For Bryce Olds, 28, a passion for pooches has created a career in pet care in College Park.

Mark Losh Photography

I’ve got about 60 clients. It’s not very hard to keep the names straight of the dogs, but it’s harder to keep the names straight of the owners. I form a closer bond to the dog, and just like you would not forget the name of a friend of yours, it’s the same with me and the pets that I care for.

There is a system to it. I have a lock safe in my house where I keep all my clients’ keys. I code them with hints that only I would know. For example, it could be the name of the street the person lives on or it could be something that I picked up on in that house… So if somebody were to get a hold of that key who wasn’t supposed to, they would have no clue where it was to.

I have been nicked by a couple of dogs. It’s because we take care of some dogs that are very distrusting of strangers and unaccepting of a stranger coming into their homes or their surroundings. Getting to know them can be a difficult task, and sometimes you will get some cuts and scrapes along the way.

I make about $42,000 a year. This is six years of clientele build-up. It wasn’t always that way.

There have been times when dogs have thrown a party overnight and I’ve had to clean up torn-up pillows and feathers that have been strewn across the house. Or dogs who have had explosive diarrhea. I have had my share of doggy clean-ups.

Dogs are definitely easier to deal with than people because they are predictable. Their communication is limited through body language where humans use both verbal and non-verbal signals to communicate. It gets tricky. Dogs are easier to please because their needs are limited to a few select things such as affection, food and shelter.

There is nothing average about my job. On a daily basis I can take care of up to 10 dogs, making up to 30 visits a day, although that’s not the norm. I usually take care of about five dogs a day and make about 10 visits.

Dogs that have a tendency to be difficult, at least in my experience, are Weimaraners and Dachshunds. They tend to be a little less trusting of strangers, and it can take more work to gain their acceptance and trust. Labrador retrievers and doodle dogs [labradoodles or goldendoodles] are the most accepting.

As far as work goes, this is it, but I am also in school at Valencia for criminal justice and I am enrolled in the police academy. My dream is to become a police officer. A lot of clients have brought up the K-9 unit, and it makes sense with my background, so it’s something I’ll explore.

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