Tag Archives: pet sitter

summer 2017 update

happy summer everyone! hope everyone is hydrating – yourself and your pets – and staying cool.

i haven’t updated here in a long time so thought i’d drop in to say hello and make a few announcements. business has been booming at wags by mags – i’ve been super busy and beyond booked since memorial day weekend, it’s been crazy. folks sure have been traveling a lot!

two things:

#1 – i have an immediate opening between 11am-12pm for mon-friday dog walks, preferably in the uptown, broadmoor, riverbend, carrollton or midcity area, so it fits easily into my route. hit me up if you are in need and let’s see if we can make it work.

#2 – i have an important birthday coming up – i’m turning 50! – so i’m not booking any dog or cat sits over the weekend of august the 11th-12th-13th so i can have time off to celebrate with friends.

ok, that’s all i got.

thanks to all of you over the years for keeping me in business! six years and counting!

holidays 2016

hi everyone – just an update to say i am completely booked for thanksgiving 2016 already! i have an overnight dog sit that whole week plus a few other dog and cat sits on top of my regular dog walking schedule, so i can’t take anything else on.

christmas/new year’s holidays are filling up fast. i am booked overnight both christmas weekend and new year’s weekend but could probably still squeeze a few cat sits in if you get to me soon.

i’ll be celebrating my sixth year of this business in december! thanks to all my amazing clients over these years!! and may your holiday season be wonderful!!!

happy new year + carnival!

i’m a little late in posting this, but happy new year everyone! and, since 12th night was last night, happy carnival too! 33 days til mardi gras!

so just a quick update here: wags by mags! is now operating at pretty much full capacity in terms of daily dog walking clients. i’m keeping a pretty solid 9am – 5pm schedule with between 8-10 walks a day servicing the cbd, uptown and midcity, and occasionally squeezing in 1-2 more of my occasional clients. so it’s safe to say i’m not taking on any new dog walking clients at the moment; there’s simply no time in my schedule.

in terms of pet sitting, coming off of the hectic holiday season, i’m not gonna do a lot of dog sitting for a while. i just need a little break from overnights, probably through the carnival season. i will continue to accept once-a-day cat sits in this timeframe in my service area, however.

i will make my annual disclaimer that i love mardi gras and want to enjoy all the festivities, so i will not be taking on ANY mardi gras weekend sits of any kind or evening walks (2/3 – 2/9). i am NOT working at all endymion saturday (2/6), bacchus sunday (2/7), or fat tuesday (2/9). i will have limited service for my daily clients on lundi gras (2/8) and ash wednesday (2/9), with everything returning to normal after that.

thanks everyone and i hope y’all have a safe and enjoyable carnival season!


just a quick announcement to say that wags by mags is now accepting squarecash.

i’ve been searching for a simple electronic way to replace the tedious process of clients paying me by check every week/gig, and i found it! now clients can pay quickly and easily via their smartphone, tablet or even computer by sending payment to: https://cash.me/$wagsbymags. and for me, as a business, the service fees are considerably less than paypal or even using a card reader like square. (only 1.5%)

i don’t get anything for signing anyone up – that’s not the motivation here. the motivation for me is that clients can relax about remembering to leave me checks and have a faster, simpler secure way to pay me. and i have a less annoying way to remind them to pay me and can save all those trips to the bank! also the deposits are virtually immediate. no more waiting til payments clear. so high tech!

feels like a win-win situation. so cash.me/$wagsbymags!

three years!

i realized the other day that i – and by that i mean, wags by mags, LLC – am celebrating my three year anniversary of dog walking and pet sitting full time! i can’t believe it. my how time flies!

i don’t really have a specific day or even month that i think of as an official start to this business, as it was sort of a rolling process over six months. it all began in december 2010, when i was offered a regular gig walking one dog three times a week by a friend who had started a dog walking business but then had decided not to do it; she was looking to pass off a client to someone else. as i was in desperate need of money at the time, i took it, not thinking much of it other than that it would at least be some steady money coming in for little time commitment while i looked for other work. (this was during a particularly low point in my life after a major relationship break-up and my art and writing businesses had dwindled to next to nothing.)

spicy saying goodbye to me on my last day of walking her

spicy saying goodbye to me on my last day of walking her

well, as it turned out, i fell in love with the dog (spicy, an adorable boxer who i continued to walk until just a few months ago) and i started realizing that maybe this was something i could expand upon, make a go of. by march 2011, i had come up with a clever name, designed a logo, business cards and this website, and i was using social media to put the word out that i was doing this kind of work as well as making good use of craigslist to advertise for free. within a few weeks, i had all kinds of clients! it wasn’t an instant 40 hour work week, but it was one or two regular walking clients (that weren’t even friends! total strangers!) and a whole lot of occasional dog walking and pet sitting (mostly friends and friends of friends), enough to make me feel like i definitely had some momentum going with this pet business idea.

a few months later, around may 2011, as fate would have it, some friends knew another dog walker who was moving to hawaii and was looking to place her favorite clients with someone she could trust. our mutual friends hooked us up and boom, all of a sudden, i had a very full schedule! that month i filed the paperwork to make wags by mags official, a legal LLC, and joined pet sitters international and pet sitters associates, two of the more reputable professional organizations in the field, so i could learn more about my profession and also get liability insurance and bonding. (i’ve remained with both organizations and have learned a lot!)

and the rest, as they say, is history!

a rare shot of millie, one of my longtime dog walking clients, letting me love on her

a rare shot of millie, one of my longtime dog walking clients, letting me love on her

i recap all this to explain why i’ll be celebrating my three year anniversary from now through the spring. while i won’t be throwing any big parties (i don’t have a budget for that kind of thing), i do want to acknowledge it as an accomplishment that i’m proud of. three years in this business is nothing to sneeze at, particularly when you work solo, without any employees. burn out is very real in this line of work when you do it full time. it can get very monotonous, day in, day out, spending all your time alone with animals; it can be extremely physically demanding, walking 5-7 miles/day in every kind of weather from extreme heat/humidity to severe thunderstorms to sleet and sub-freezing temps; and it can be frustratingly time-consuming, as the hours can be nonstop when you pet sit at night and on weekends as well as dog walk during work-week daytime hours. i have definitely struggled over the years to maintain a balance of steady 9-5 dog walking clients with occasional night and weekend pet sitting gigs to supplement my income while still leaving enough time for myself to have a personal life of some sort. it’s not easy trying to maintain friendships and/or a relationship when you constantly have to be working nights and weekends, oftentimes overnight, when everyone else is having downtime and being social.

but i think after three years i’m getting a little better at it. the hardest part is learning how to sometimes say no when clients call. i’m a people pleaser – i always want to make people happy, especially if they are regular clients. but i’m learning to sometimes take time for myself, and i’m blessed that i currently have enough work to be able to occasionally say no. (i’m also blessed that my regular clients understand my need to occasionally say no and they continue to come back to me!)

romeo resting his head on my shoulder while i drive

romeo resting his head on my shoulder while i drive

[this seems a good point to interject that i do again have an opening for a daily dog walking client. i thought i had a new client that was starting up this week, but as it turns out, that fell through. so please spread the word that i could use one mon-fri regular walker or a few clients that together would amount to the same (two or three folks who could use me regularly one to three times a week). midcity, downtown, or uptown preferred.]

yes, this job/business has its downsides. but it’s also the best job in the world. i get to hang out with sweet, adorable dogs and cats all day (and sometimes night). i get to make my own schedule. i work for myself. i work outdoors, not in a stuffy office. i get to ride my scooter all day. i get lots of exercise and get paid to do it! i get to see so much of the city i love, experience so many different neighborhoods and architecture, see how so many different people live. it’s fascinating, really. and i’ve met some really wonderful folks who love their animals so much.

i really am just so grateful to have stumbled upon this life, this work. i had no idea what i was getting into when i started, but i’ve learned a lot along the way and have become a better person through it all. so thank you to every single person who has ever hired me to care for their pet – and there are hundreds of you at this point. without you and your trust, i could not be doing this. i could not be having the life i have now, which, despite its ups and downs, is a pretty fucking good life.

here’s to the last three years! and, i’m looking forward to seeing what this next year will bring.

me and pig the pug being silly.

new year!

oh it’s been far too long since i have updated this blog and site. i somehow missed the holiday season entirely, so let me take this moment to thank all my clients for a great 2013 and wish everyone a wonderful 2014! i have a feeling it’s going to be a fabulous new year!

i’m starting the year off with a slow schedule but it is filling up quickly. i’ve just added a new every-day walking client to my roster, starting in february – you’ll be hearing about him soon! – and i will have another repeat client on the schedule every day starting next week through february. that will pretty much fill up my daily dog walking schedule for now. (existing occasional clients will of course be worked in whenever possible.)

i’m still doing sporadic overnight dog sitting, depending on my schedule, and can usually work in non-overnight sits for dogs and cats. but i do ask that you try to book as early as you know your needs, as it’s helpful to me and increases your chances of me being able to do it. i am still a one-woman show here, so there will be times i will already be booked. also, i am trying very hard in 2014 to take time for myself more, not schedule myself to work every single weekend and/or multiple nights in a work week, so that i might try to actually have a life outside of work! i know this will sometimes inconvenience some of my clients, but burnout in this profession is very real and i’m trying my best to avoid it, as i love my job and would like to keep doing it… but also need to work on balancing work and non-work life better.

so, that being said… i won’t be taking any bookings for dog sits (overnight or otherwise) during krewe du vieux weekend (2/15-2/16) or on the nights of muses (2/27) or endymion (3/1), or of course mardi gras day (3/4), as i would like to enjoy some of carnival season with friends. (cat sits i can still manage as long as the visit time is flexible.) my daily walking schedule will be business as usual per client needs.

lastly, i’d like to plug my instagram account again, as that is where i am posting most of my client photos lately since it is easiest to do from my phone. (i still have my wagsbymags facebook page but it’s harder to keep it updated with photos.) the photo below is a screenshot of some of my instagram pics – you can click it or the button to the right to get to my feed.

thanks again, everyone, for your continued support and trust. i love taking care of your adorable pets!

some of my photogenic clients!

some of the many critters in my life!

a day in the life…

i thought it would be fun to share with y’all what a typical workday is like for me and introduce you to some of my regular walking clients. i won’t be using their humans’ names, only the animals’ names, in order to respect my human clients’ privacy.

most days start around 9ish, heading out on the trusty scooter to walk the dogs who get two walks a day. right now, i have one regular and two intermittent twice-a-day households; it can get a little tricky when all three of them need two walks a day, as i try to get them all done before 11am. one is located in the cbd and the other two are uptown, but rather far apart within uptown. so on the days where it’s just the one regular twice-a-day client, i can leave the house a little later and take my time. but when i have two or all three of them to get to, i have to be on the ball and get to the first house by 9:30am. it can get a little hectic. thankfully, it doesn’t happen all that often.



most days, that first house is where millie and lucy live – two beautiful, gentle, sweet greyhounds. before meeting them, i hadn’t had any experience with greyhounds before, but wow. they are just amazing. i love their energy. when i first met them, millie was very skittish and shy; but it only took her a week or so to warm up to me. now they are both super affectionate and always so well-behaved. lucy has recently gone through a minor surgery on one of her toes, and the recuperation has been long and has meant that she’s had to sit out the walks and just go out in her yard. she was so sad seeing millie and i going for walks without her! but the foot is healing up great and we’ve been able to get back to regular walks with just a bandaid on the foot, so lucy is happy again. i really love spending time with them.

romeo (front) and monk (back)

some days/weeks, i’m asked to give my cbd dogs, monk and romeo, two walks a day. (their normal walk is an afternoon walk, but sometimes i pick up a morning walk too, depending on their humans’ schedules.) romeo is a belgian tervuren (a kind of belgian shepherd) and monk is a mastiff/great pyrenees mix. they are big, furry dogs with monk being particularly large and intimidating-looking. walking them is like being with celebrity dogs; people stop us everywhere to ask “what kind of dogs are they?” (the #1 question), with stupid questions like “are those lions?” or “are they wolves?” close behind. most folks want to be able to pet them, and, well, that’s not really a good idea. neither of them is truly aggressive, but romeo is kind of a scaredy cat, and monk can be tempermental. he doesn’t like it when people look at him funny. and, well, when you look like monk does, it’s hard, cuz lots of folks stare at him cuz they think he’s really pretty or interesting, but he misinterprets it as a challenge or threat. so he lunges and he barks. and he’s loud. he looks pretty vicious, even though he’s not. i don’t generally have a hard time containing and correcting him – he’s actually really quite submissive and gentle – but the trick is just snapping him out of that high-alert mode, preferably before he’s lunged out at someone on the street. they can sometimes be a handful. but i love them to death. they are both super sweet and loving and really funny. they have great senses of humor, both of them. and are very playful in their home environment. i’d love to be able to go to a dog park or beach or somewhere where they can really run around and play, so i could really see their personalities come out.


and then the third sometimes twice-a-day client is kai, who is my newest client. she’s a cute little pit bull. we are still getting to know one another, but i can tell she’s a sweetheart. just maybe a little stubborn. or testing me to see what she can get away with. nothing a little pupperoni can’t fix, i’m told! i look forward to getting to know her better and getting into a routine with her. she likes to go on long walks on streetcar tracks where she can stop to smell every single thing!


so then by 11ish, i’m trying to make my way to the audubon park area to get to dozer. he’s my adorable french bulldog who is a regular daily walking client. again, a breed i hadn’t had much experience with before, french bulldogs, but that i’m quickly growing to love. dozer loves to go for walks. he loves to stop and sniff everything. and he particularly likes the idea of chasing squirrels in the park. (of course, i don’t let him do this, but he sure would love it!) he’s also really obsessed with lizards. i have seen him throw himself in the air like a projectile after a lizard. it’s really quite a sight! dozer is a sweetie and very well behaved – one of my best walkers.

lucas (front) and lillie (back)

next, i’m off to the other side of the audubon park area to the home of lucas and lillie. like millie and lucy and kai, lucas and lillie came to me by way of much-beloved new orleans dog walker extraordinaire ally kirk, who recently moved to hawaii. mutual friend katy green of twisted hair salon hooked us up together when ally was getting ready to move, knowing she was looking for someone to take over some of her special clients. and i was just getting started and in need of new clients! so it worked out beautifully for all parties. when i first met lillie, she was also really shy and skittish, didn’t trust me. but it didn’t take long before we were fast friends! and lucas is just a big old teddy bear who likes to walk around with his stuffed toys in his mouth. it’s so adorable. they are really easy and fun to be around.


after lucas and lillie, three days a week i then travel up to the garden district to walk spicy, a beautiful boxer gal. spicy is where it all began, back in december. my friend grey had just hatched the idea for her own dog walking biz and spicy was her first client. but shortly thereafter, grey needed knee surgery and asked if i wanted to take spicy on as an odd job until her surgery was over and she was able to get back to it. at the time severely under-employed, of course i said yes. and, well, the rest is history. spicy taught me that i really enjoyed hanging out with dogs and that maybe, just maybe, this could be a sustainable business for me. when we first met, she was super skittish and shy and scared of just about everything. she remains, after all this time, somewhat skittish. not towards me, but when we are out in the world, on our walks, she is still hesitant and on high alert, jumping at every noise. she has gotten much better – she used to pull so hard my arm would be sore, but with the help of a no-pull harness and some patient work on my part (and i’m sure her owner’s, as well), she’s gotten much better at walking. but we’ve still got a ways to go. nonetheless, i am totally in love with spicy. she’s got a sweet, playful spirit and we have a good rapport.

by this time it’s usually somewhere between 12pm – 1pm. on the days i don’t walk spicy, i get a longer lunch break. on the days i walk her, i have a shorter one. sometimes i manage to go all the way back home to make a sandwich and relax in the a/c for a while. sometimes i just stop in somewhere to get a quick lunch, somewhere in the lower garden district or cbd. occasionally, when i have those longer breaks, i might try to meet up with a friend for lunch or even take in a matinee at the prytania. those days are awesome!


but some days, i pick up a random walk in that time period, and then i get no lunch. (i usually stop and get a granola bar or fruit or something at a convenience store.) one of the random midday clients is one of my favorites – pearl. pearl lives in the irish channel and belongs to two of my good friends. she is the cutest puppy on the planet! another french bulldog, she’s less than a year old and quite aware of her cuteness. she loves to stretch out in the sun and pose for pictures. i usually only get to see her once every other week or so, but i always enjoy doing so. it’s really fun watching her grow up.

after lunch, it’s the morning schedule in reverse for the twice a day dogs. always monk and romeo. sometimes kai. always millie and lucy. and lately, now that it’s summer, it’s often raining or about to be raining, which often thwarts my walking plans. with millie and lucy, it’s easy – they have a yard and i can usually coax them out in it to pee, even though millie is super afraid of thunder. kai also has a yard but i haven’t really had to deal with the rain with her all that much so far; i guess we’ll see. but monk and romeo, living in the cbd, don’t have a yard, so when it rains, i either have to just walk them in the rain or wait it out until it stops, cuz there is no other option. so that can get complicated, especially when also trying to get to millie and lucy and kai. timing can be tricky. (which is why i had to stop servicing algiers point, because i used to have 2pm dogs on the point which really made it complicated!) but so far, it’s always worked out ok.

i am generally done by 3 or 3:30, 4 at the latest, depending on traffic and the rain situation. and whether i have a pet-sit stop that i am also incorporating into my schedule. on the easiest of days, i work 10-3 with a lunch break and life seems pretty grand. on the hardest, i work 9-4 with no lunch break, in the scorching heat and may or may not get drenched on the scooter at some point. those days can kinda suck. but the dogs always make it ok. it all balances out and in general, i’m so happy getting to hang out with dogs and cats for a living! it definitely beats working in an office or sweating it out hustling freelance writing gigs, and it even beats lugging all my art crap all over town trying to sell it. i miss having the time to create stuff, but hopefully i will get to a place where i can manage my time better and not be so exhausted when i’m not working. i think things will be easier in the fall and winter when it’s not so hot.

my afterhours and weekends can also sometimes be hectic, depending on how many pet-sitting gigs i take on at the same time. when i first started, i wasn’t saying no to anyone, and often found myself juggling three or four pet-sits (some dogs, some cats, some both) at the same time. but i quickly realized i really needed to learn how to say no and carve out some downtown for myself on the weekends. and some time to be social with humans! so in the past month, i’ve gotten a lot better about it. i’ve made a rule of only booking two weekends a month and leaving the other two free for fun and relaxation. that might occasionally change, depending who needs me (friends of course get preference) and whether i need to hustle to make extra money (like when i needed new tires for the scooter). but i think in general it’s a good rule to keep, at least while it’s just me without any other help.

speaking of which… i’ve been saying since i started that i want to hire some help. but lately i’ve been giving it a lot of consideration. and i do really want to assemble a team. not necessarily a bunch of other full-time positions – cuz i think i’m pretty far away from being able to fulfill that – but it would be nice to have a few folks i could call on (particularly for pet-sitting gigs) when i get more calls than i can handle by myself. i have lately had to say no to a lot of folks and i hate that. it would be great to be able to keep those folks as customers even if i’m not servicing them myself all the time. keep them in the family, so to speak. but it is hard finding just the right people to trust to bring on board with the business. i’m working on it.

so stay tuned. all this and more coming soon from wags by mags!

now accepting paypal!

just a quick note to let all current and future clients know, i’m now set up to accept paypal payments for my services. i can invoice you via email or you can just initiate a payment yourself and send it to: mags@wagsbymags.com. (i’d appreciate it if you’d throw in 2.9% of your total to cover the fees paypal will charge me, though. thanks!)

this will be helpful for those who are not so great at remembering to write out checks or for those who call me on the fly for emergency/last-minute walks.

openings filled!

and just like that, i’m back to being booked to full capacity on my daily walking schedule. thanks everyone for all the support!


to be more specific, i could add a daily dog walking client at 9am, 1pm, or 3pm. those are the times i have open right now every weekday. the 1pm slot would have to be somewhere uptown/broadmoor/garden district; there’s a little more flexibility about location for the 9am or 3pm.

(wed and fridays are currently a little more open, so if you would only need one or both of those days, times are more flexible. just inquire.)