So, as an aspiring photographer, it’s really difficult just starting out. I’m trying to get my name out there by word of mouth, and by offering prices that just can’t be beat considering the quality of the work. I’ve been thinking of getting some part-time employment. A little extra money can’t hurt, especially with three dogs and a hamster to look after. I still haven’t gone to any training classes with my dogs, and I wanted to start Helo in a class early. It’s never too late, but the sooner the better!
I’ve been considering other options as well. Right now I just can’t afford the equipment that would make my life as a photographer much easier. The laptop that I retouch on is crapping out on me. I doubt it will last a few more months. It’s just old and reaching it’s end. I need a new one, but the one I want is between $800-$1,200 (depending on whether I get the one from newegg, or the one from Best Buy). Then I’ve been wanting to save up for a new lens better suited for portrait-style photography, and close-ups.
I’ve been thinking about joining a program at an animal behavior college to learn more about canine behavior, and whatever else they may be able to teach me (I’m very interested in dog nutrition as well). Then I also considered a vet tech program, but training would be more rewarding for me, personally. If I don’t do anything with animals, I’d go into either web development or graphic design. Honestly, though, I would be happiest working with animals. I just don’t see myself making very much money as a dog trainer.
I know several dog trainers in the area, and most of them volunteer their services such as at the Merrimac Dog Training Facility where I’d like to go. The ones who get paid work at a pet store… I wouldn’t mind offering my training services free to help the animals (that alone would be extremely rewarding), but I still have bills to pay at the end of the month, and several mouths to feed.
I really want to start volunteering at the Animal Aid Society again, and I also thought about going into wildlife rehabilitation. Again, volunteer work isn’t going to pay the bills, and I’m not getting enough photo shoots to live off of photography alone.
My fiance is also looking for other employment. Working for my dad is the worst thing he could have ever done, but it was just supposed to be temporary until he got back into a drafting position. He could get into any company because his skills in drafting and design exceed the expectations of someone his age, but he just hasn’t put in any applications. Apparently he’s “taking a break.” I can understand that. He used to work 65hrs a week, making $16.50/hr. The income was nice, but it was a lot for him, and he was getting burned out after almost four years of the same routine, with barely any time for himself to relax. Plus his boss was an ass, so when a good excuse came around, he took it as a way out.
But now he’s not even making minimum wage. Every month it’s a hassle to make sure his $600 truck payment gets paid, along with his credit cards and the monthly bills. It’s really a big difference, and we’re still not used to it. I know money isn’t everything, but if you can’t pay your bills, you’re on the street. I have three dogs to feed, plus my fiance and myself. And by my late twenties, I’d like to think about having two-legged kids for once! I want to get this house rebuilt before then, and actually have a privacy fence around the backyard so the dogs can hang out more outside on a nice day.
Ever since my mom died, everything went downhill for my dad and he isn’t doing anything to pick it back up. He’s just letting his company rot, and although we’re trying desperately to help, we just can’t take it anymore. We’re not getting paid for the work we do. I’ve been answering his phones, and my fiance has been doing the jobs — and it’s hard labor, not desk work. We’re tired of not having any money.
I need to figure something out. I’m not giving up on my dream as a photographer, but for right now I think it would be best to pursue another career until we can get back into being financially stable. Money can put a lot of stress on a person, and I think it’s one of the reasons I’ve been a butthead these last couple of months to my dogs and everyone around me.
I think I might put in an application at an animal boarding facility — preferably a family owned business, but there is one nearby that I’ll probably check out. I’ve boarded my dogs there a couple of times, and actually will be keeping them there overnight this Saturday. That might be a good time to ask if they are hiring. I think I would have an impressive resume for that kind of work.
Being a dog trainer can be pretty lucrative, especially if you become specialized in several areas (agility, obedience, aggression, etc.) I’m working on becoming a dog trainer myself, and I have a BSc in animal behaviour. I’d suggest skipping the degree for now. (I actually got mine because I wanted to get my PhD and become an ethologist and professor, but my health took a downturn and here we are.) You’d be much better off doing an internship with a trainer in your area. This will get you lots of hands-on experience where your mentor will correct your blind spots and show you new training techniques. If you can’t find someone willing to take you on, many trainers I’ve met have started out in places like PetSmart. The only really redeeming quality of these stores is that you’ll be able to meet a lot of people and build your customer base while collecting a steady salary.
Alternatively, have you considered opening a dog boarding place or doing dog walking? With as active as you are with your dogs, dog walking or boarding sounds pretty natural. (A tired dog is a happy dog, after all!)
I would actually LOVE to have my own dog boarding facility (it would have a limited capacity as I would love to have a piece of property for my house and my boarding facility where the dogs could be treated like my own, so the owners are at ease when they go out of town). I’m actually interested in applying to work at one (as I mentioned in my earlier post).
Either that, or as a receptionist at a vet clinic (I’d like to make more than $8/hr). As for training, I’d like to understand basic obedience, and maybe aggression. If I do an internship, would I be able to become certified from that? I have a friend who was taught by another trainer, and now she is certified. I sent her an email and asked if she knew of anyone who might be willing to work with me. I would also like to volunteer at the Merrimac Training Facility, and maybe move up to rally and/or agility training!
I don’t see myself being able to board dogs anytime soon, especially since my fiance wouldn’t like it (if it were done at the house). He’s not a big dog person like me, I guess! I think dog walking and training would be right up my alley. I could even set up a local dog socialization group (I already formed a meetup group where we get together once a month at the dog park, or for a walk — it’s been really nice).