I, and so many others, are so tired of defending our self-made, self-employeed, animal related job. It seems that if you’re not a Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine you’re nothing. “You need to get a real job”, is constantly mentioned across the dinner table from well meaning (& sometimes I think jealous) family, spouses, friends etc.
I, as well as many others that have come before me, have been blessed with opportunities to carve out a mini empire of their own. I already had a 2 car garage I’d converted into dog kennels for my personal show dogs and I had just offered boarding when I had a vacant kennel or 2. Helped to buy dog food and propane for heat.
I lost my desk job in 2016. I live in a fairly rural community where it’s harder to find a job in my field of study. With the given free time and no true job opportunities in my field on the horizon I took to pushing advertising for boarding just to see what happened. Over the following 3 years business blossomed and snowballed to the point my personal dogs were pushed out of their kennel to make room for boarders.
With the steady flow of boarding now and getting to the point of having to turn people away with even a 9run kennel during peak season it was time to expand. After a mortgage and cussing later I am at the beginning of transitioning into a new 20run kennel with big plans for the future.
Here I am, making the same a basic job would pay around my area with my usual operation doing 4 kennel runs (because my personal dogs need to be back in kennels). This past spring break I lost count of how many I had to turn away and I was operating with all 9 kennels open. It made me sick to know how much revenue I lost. That might not sound like a lot at glance but I had minimal to no overhead at that point, it was all profit, and just using 4 kennels regularly.
I did work a summer job and I substitute teached to supplement what I was losing in boarding. I made a very comfortable paycheck, making easy what I had made at my previous desk job with far more flexibility and being my own boss for the majority of it.
Yet I still here the comment “must be nice to not work”, “wish I didn’t have to work”.
My day consists of early wake ups to feed, once the kids go to school I work on cleaning, letting dogs out, and prepping for next day intakes/exits. I work on my own advertising, talking to people who call, taking reservations, I do it all. I may be able to make my own schedule but even that is limited. I operate with certain times for check-in/check-out to help better plan my day and lessen disruption. The fact that I can’t jump at some family member’s demand for me to run an errand for them shows that they don’t understand or appreciate, or maybe even be jealous of what I have accomplished in such a short time and what my horizon is looking like.
Occasionally I’ll have a calm day where I can take the opportunity to relax and watch a little Netflix or sleep a little longer but these are not a norm. Again, it’s just me with minimal outside help. And the outside help just helps with check-in/check-out when I can’t juggle it. My weekends are busy, haven’t had a true vacation in 7 years, I’m ok with it. My hope is that in the next year or so I’ll be big enough that I can hire part time help to give me some much needed time away with family, even if for short weekends.
No amount of criticism should ever dampen your style if you’re proud of what you’re doing. Just walk away and prove them wrong. I look forward to the day when I can take a moment to be petty and say “BOOM! I did it!”.
If you’re not here to support me in my dream then move the hell out of my way, you can watch me succeed.
This page/post may contain affiliate links from, including but not limited to: Chewy & Amazon.