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Paw workout

Dog walking as a career

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For pooch-loving teens, dog walking is easy pocket money, complete with licks and wags.

On weekends, Avanti Shetty, a 17-year-old avid dog lover, is missing from her home for close to two hours in the evening. For a teenager, that's not unsual but but Avani isn't your average teen hanging out with friends. Every Saturday and Sunday, she walks the dogs in her Pune society.

Though Avanti doesn't charge for her services yet, she is planning to take it up more seriously. "I plan to charge around Rs 2, 500-3, 000 per dog. Then I will not have to depend on my parents for pocket money. And, who knows, I might branch out into such services professionally later on, " she says.

Dog walking as a career is increasingly becoming popular with the 16-24 age bracket, especially with lifestyle constraints making owners too busy to take their pooch out for a run. The 'qualifications' are simple - no college degree or job experience required. All that your prospective employer wants is a rapport with his precious pet. And, if you are someone who absolutely adores dogs, and with whom dogs are at ease in an instant, then you are the perfect candidate.

Jitesh Jotwani, who started a dog walking service in Pune with partner Gayatri Adarsh, says, "One day I realised that there are no such services in the city even though people don't have the time or are unable to walk their dogs. I googled it, and found a couple of such services abroad and in Mumbai. So, I was motivated to start one here. "

Jitesh and Gayatri employ about four-five people and are looking for more hands. They charge Rs 3, 000-4, 000 per dog per month.

Both maintain that their ideal candidate should first and foremost be a dog lover. "This kind of a job is perfect for someone looking to make some extra money on the side. One could be an employed person who loves to spend time with dogs, or a student who doesn't mind doing some work after college hours, " says Gayatri.

Mukta Paul, who enlists Jitesh and Gayatri's services, says, "My dogs are happy, what more can I ask for. They get their regular dose of exercise and this really keep them fit and happy. "

In fact, with Indians spending quite lavishly on their pets, jobs for animal care workers have seen a boom in the last few years. From pet groomers to pet sitters, from canine behaviour specialists to pet masseuses, there is an array of careers open to anyone who wants to cash in on caring for the cute and cuddly.

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