good dogs

Dog Walkers Are Basically Texting Novels to Pet Owners

Dog walker crossing the street
Who’s a good boy? Photo: Mitchell Funk/Getty Images

Are you ending 2018 on a very single note? Did you try to find someone this year? Were you simply unable to get a text back, no matter how middling or promising the date? Why not get a dog?

Yes, adopting a furry roommate would mean there’s someone who is always excited for you to come home, and a snuggle buddy should you be the kind of person to share your couch and/or bed with your pooch. But according to the Washington Post, adopting a dog and subsequently hiring a dog walker means you’ll also get lots of texts. (They can’t really help you on the dating front, though.)

Dog walking can be a cutthroat gig; in 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported on the high standards services like Wag! have for potential walkers. Jenna White, the director of dog-walking operations for Rover, explained to the Post that, “Ongoing, two-way communication is actually one of the most important components to a successful walk.” The company requires walkers to complete a report card after every walk, which includes space for details like bathroom breaks, route, and interaction with other dogs. But even freelance walkers have upped the communication ante, to the point where one said troubleshooting a dog’s issues and ailments with pet owners can feel like “co-parenting.”

A dog walker named Christy Griffin told the Post that after each walk she “give[s] 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.” Bonus: She’ll send “six to eight” photos of your dog living their best doggy life, all posed expertly because Griffin holds a treat in her hand as Insta-bait.

There is a lot you could say about expecting that dog walkers, whose rates often vary, to go above and beyond for the gig. But dogs can’t give verbal updates the same way children can (“Mommy, the babysitter let me watch Frozen three-and-a-half times in a row!”) and caring for a dog often takes more nuance than plant-sitting (either they’re alive or they’re dead, there is no in-between).

Anyway, I give it between six months and two years before the New York Times vows section reports on a couple who met because one fell in love with another’s text updates about Fido, details about poop and all.

Dog Walkers Are Basically Texting Novels to Pet Owners