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How My Dog Walking Job Became My Saving Grace on the IVF Journey to Parenthood


Sep 19, 2023

I responded to a post in a local Facebook group advertising part-time dog walking opportunities in New York City. I was in need of a side job to help pay for further infertility treatment after my recent failed IVF attempt. The job of being a nanny was no longer thriving, and I was determined to find a way to stop crying and make some money. The first dog I met was a one-year-old male named Sonny, after the famous character Sonny Corleone. Within just a few blocks, I found myself talking to him in a calm and soothing voice, finding solace in the company of this furry companion.

Shortly after, I took on the challenge of walking a Dalmatian puppy that resembled something out of a Disney movie. Surprisingly, I found that I didn’t shed a single tear while walking him. As I built up a small but steady client base, each $30 dog walk brought me closer to affording the $30,000 treatment I needed. Initially, my motivation was solely financial, as my freelance writing income was inconsistent and my husband’s corporate sales job could only support one round of IVF. However, dog walking soon became more than just a means to an end.

Every morning, as I entered someone else’s apartment, I would be greeted by the sound of excited footsteps and two large legs wrapping around my neck. Sonny, and the other dogs I walked, always greeted me with joy and toys in their mouths. Putting the leash around Sonny’s neck became a familiar routine, and it brought a sense of purpose to my day.

Growing up, I had always been a cat person. However, circumstances prevented me from keeping my cats, and I entered a period of not thinking about having pets or becoming a mother. That changed when my husband and I decided to welcome a Goldendoodle puppy named Chief Brody into our lives. Despite facing the loss of a baby and going through multiple miscarriages and failed IVF treatments, Chief Brody became the recipient of all the love I had to give. Walking him, and other dogs, became an essential part of my day and a source of comfort and exercise.

Walking dogs transformed into more than just a physical activity. It became a practice of mindfulness, allowing me to stay in the present moment and find peace. It served as a form of self-care, offering more benefits for my mental health than any other spa treatment or beauty product. Taking care of dogs made me more sociable, breaking me out of my usual New Yorker’s tendency to stay in my own bubble. It connected me with fellow dog owners and created a sense of community.

I realized that many dog owners may not even realize the self-care benefits of walking their dogs. With an increasing number of dog owners in the United States, this is a valuable practice that more people should consider. Walking dogs has given me a sense of purpose and helped me through some of the most difficult periods of my life. It has shaped me into a more compassionate person and taught me valuable life lessons. No matter what the future holds, I know that I will be okay. And for that, I owe a great deal of credit to the four-legged friends who entered my life.

By Editor

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