Samantha caters to the whims of dogs, taking them for walks, feeding them, and hanging out with them. In an interview reported by the Daily Mail, Samantha says she’s “basically the dogs’ confidante.”
To any pet parent, this sounds familiar. After all, don’t we do the same for our dogs? But in this case, there’s one big difference: Samantha isn’t talking about her own pets. She’s a full-time “dog nanny,” and she’s paid handsomely for time spent living with other people’s dogs.
What Exactly Is a “Dog Nanny”?
Dog nannies have become increasingly popular among the UK’s wealthy elite, who spare no expense in looking out for their precious pooches. According to a recent NBC News report, in 2016 the average dog guardian will spend $1,641 on their pet, which is no small number in itself. Hiring a dog nanny can cost 46 times that amount, with a live-in caretaker charging upwards of $74,000/year
What do you get for all that money? According to a story in the Telegraph, dog nanny duties include:
- Sleeping in a shared bedroom with the dog
- Taking special excursions to scenic locales (in other words, going for walks)
If you’re anything like me, by now you may be wondering…is a dog nanny just a surrogate pet parent? According to one pet nanny profiled in The Telegraph:
What we offer is bespoke. It really depends on what the customer wants. For most people their pets are like their own children.
Pet parenthood on the rise
In recent years, the cultural conversation around pets has shifted from pet ownership to pet parenting. In 2012, a survey conducted by a dog treat brand found that a majority of pet people consider themselves “parents” rather than “owners.” And 47% of Americans have at least one dog, with 94% of them considering their dog a member of the family. In other words, the shift doesn’t only involve vocabulary, but how we treat the animal members of our family as compared to how they were treated generations ago.
The same study revealed ways in which caring for a dog has become more and more like parenting:
- 81% of dog parents know their pets’ birthdays, and have celebrated at least once.
- 77% have admitted to buying their dog a present for their special day.
- 74% of pet parents said they like to share one meal with their dogs each day, with 75 percent choosing dinner as their favorite.
- 71% admit to having at least one picture of their dog on them at all times to show off to other.
Some people object to conflating pet guardianship with parenthood, but even if you don’t think of your dog as your kid, chances are you consider her an important part of your family. In that light, the idea of hiring someone to help give her the care she needs doesn’t seem so strange.
It takes a village to raise a dog
Balancing family and work is a challenge, and a helping hand — whether it comes from a friend, a dog sitter, or a help wanted ad — can make a world of difference. Of course, for most of us, a live-in dog nanny is out of the question. For one thing, it’s prohibitively expensive to pay someone a full-time salary to look after your pet. For another, it feels a little strange to hand over the leash and let someone else take full responsibility for our best friends.
Personally, even if I was a billionaire, I can’t conceive of giving up my unique bond with my dogs for the convenience of a live-in caretaker. But that doesn’t mean I don’t need a little help.
Dog Nannies for the Rest of Us
The good news is, if your precious pooch needs some extra care, there are myriad ways to pamper her without breaking the bank or giving up your special relationship. In fact, a different type of “dog nanny” is well within your reach. A regular dog walker, daycare, and the occasional overnight sitter can make life with dog easier without draining your bank account.
Rover.com‘s network of dog lovers for hire provide the ideal alternative: someone in your neighborhood who can’t wait to watch your dog, who understands and celebrates the unique bond you and your dog have, and who is qualified and insured to provide excellent care. Rover sitters do it all:
- Drop-in visit
- Workday walks
- Daycare or playgroups with other clients’ dogs
- Overnight pet care in their home or yours
- And more!
If you’re seeking the best possible care for your dog, but you don’t have the budget for a full-time, live-in dog nanny, search Rover.com for an insured petsitter in your area. You’ll love being able to rest easy knowing you made the right choice for your dog, and your dog will love making a new friend (and having you to come home to, of course).
Top image via flickr/kgregory