new video!

look what my best pal, award-winning author and filmmaker e.e. charlton-trujillo, made for me!! a wags by mags! promotional video!

i love all the action shots of my adorable clients! and yes, i’m a big ole’ dork and i’m nervous in front of a camera – don’t hold it against me!

so, yeah, this is what i do all day. i walk. i love on animals. don’t you wanna hire me?

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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!

booking for thanksgiving now.

just wanted to announce that i am taking bookings for thanksgiving weekend now. my dog sitting slots will fill up fast, so the sooner you contact me, the better. (cats are a little easier/more flexible, unless you have some really high-maintenance cats!) i am staying in town and hope to be working my way through the weekend while enjoying some holiday festivities here at home.

i haven’t made a decision yet about christmas but will update here when i do. thanks everyone and happy fall!

fall is here!

wow, it’s been a long time since i updated this thing. i’m so bad at blogging these days.

well i seem to have made it through another hot and sweaty new orleans summer. not that the hot and sweaty is done now that it is officially fall – not by any means – but hopefully we are at least on the way to some cooler temps and lower humidities soon. fall and spring are my favorite times of year in this city and accordingly are my favorite times of year to be a dog walker/sitter. the dogs love the better weather as much as i do!

right now, after having a very busy schedule through most of the spring and much of the summer, i do have some openings in my daily dog walking schedule. at this point, though, i’m working on restructuring my business so that more of it can happen closer to home – which is midcity – so i don’t have to spend quite as much time commuting around town and putting miles on my scooter. i won’t necessarily say no to uptown and/or downtown queries, but i will give preference to midcity/bayou st. john/fairgrounds area queries for daily and occasional dog walks. (pet sitting gigs will still be entertained from around the city but obviously will depend on my schedule.)

and have i mentioned how much i love cats? my business has been pretty dog-heavy over the last several months so i’m just putting it out there that i’m actually much more of a cat person despite being a dog lover (shhh, don’t tell my canine clients!) and i’d love to have more cat sitting gigs to balance things out.

so pass the word.

in the meantime… you can see lots of pics of my cute animal clients via my facebook page and my instagram feed. they really are so photogenic.

happy fall everyone!!

openings.

putting it out there that i have a few openings for daily dog walks in the uptown and midcity areas. please email me with your needs and i’ll see if i can make it work. also always happy to get cat sit gigs and low-maintenance dog sits to fill in my schedule.

hope everyone has a safe and fun superbowl and mardi gras!

giving thanks.

wow, i guess it’s been a while since i’ve updated here. on this thanksgiving eve, i’d just like to give thanks to all my clients and friends of wagsbymags for all the love and support over the past week and a half of my bizarre health scare and hospital stay. i got back to work yesterday and seems like everything is ok again so hopefully no more setbacks. i appreciate everyone’s concern and also patience and understanding.

i am still taking select bookings for the holidays/through the end of the year but am shying away from overnight stays for now as i try to make sure i am taking good care of my health and getting good rest. i think i perhaps was overdoing it there for a while. cat sits will be preferred though depending upon the circumstances i might take some dogsits that don’t require overnights. i will be working through christmas but am hoping to have new year’s weekend off (2-3 days) if at all possible. hit me up via email to query.

enjoy the holiday, everyone.

taking off sept. 21-22

i just wanted to make a quick post to say that i will NOT be taking any pet-sitting bookings for friday september 21st or saturday september 22nd, as these are the days of the 7th annual rising tide conference, of which i am an organizer/volunteer.

i will work my regular daytime walking schedule for friday the 21st, but will not be available after 4pm that day, or at all on saturday the 22nd.

if citizen activism, the future of new orleans, and social/new media are topics that interest you, then i highly suggest you check out the schedule of panels and keynotes for this year’s conference. it’s an inspiring grassroots gathering that draws folks together to discuss, debate, and network on topics of importance to us all, i.e. education, cultural commodification, media, the environment, entrepreneurialism, and parenting. i didn’t have all that much to do with the programming this year, but i will be there all day helping behind the scenes. join us!

openings.

after reconnecting with all my clients this weekend, post-vacation, it turns out a few of them have had changes in their circumstances and won’t be needing me regularly at this time.

so what that means is that i have a few openings that i would really like to fill.

i have a 10:30-11am open in the uptown area, preferably in the campus area. and an 11:30 also open uptown, anywhere from carrollton up to the garden district.

if you need a time other than this, or are located elsewhere, let me know and i will see if i can move my schedule around at all to accomodate you.

spread the word. thanks!

i’m back! business as usual as of monday, august 20th.

yes, i am back from vacation and it was WONDERFUL! thank you to all my clients for helping to make it happen, and to julie tweeter, my substitute walker/sitter who also took such good care of my own feline babies. i am refreshed and rejuvenated and ready to get back to all my dogs and cats, who i missed!

i am now booking sits for the fall. october is already pretty full and november is filling up quickly, so if you have a need, let me know so i can get you on my calendar.

i will be back to my full daily walking schedule on monday, august 20th. i am pretty fully booked but might could squeeze in one or two more depending on the timing… so just email me if you are interested.

thanks everyone!