Day 24 - Mark (2nd person I approached)
January 24, 2014 - I wasn't sure about approaching Mark. I've seen him on occasion walking over the Cambie Street bridge, and confess to having taken a picture of him before, from off in a distance, surrounded with dogs. Mark, in his professional capacity, cuts quite the figure. Then my internal dialogue went something like "It's my project, I've not met him before, and he's a stranger. So what if I might be a few minutes late for work..."
Mark grew up in West Vancouver. He has seen a fair bit of the world; starting right after high-school when he did an extensive sailing trip with his parents. When he was just a few months into college he decided that college wasn't really what he wanted to do and went traveling again. Upon returning to Vancouver, Mark worked at a few different jobs, and then started his first business. With some smart entrepreneurial strategizing, Mark sent numerous letters to dog-owners, and addressed the letters to each pet, catching peoples attention. A company was launched, and Mark became a professional dog-walker and pet-sitter, turning his passion for animals into a career.
Mark has still managed to travel extensively, including trips to Tangiers, Tonga, Fiji and Samoa. His girlfriend was offered an opportunity to live and work in England for two years, so off Mark went. He established a successful dog-walking company in London, which he sold before returning to Vancouver. Mark has been a professional dog-walker for twelve years now, and says that while it's a fantastic job, it does have its challenges. I asked if it was one of the most zen jobs going, and he smiled, telling me “No, not entirely, it has it’s challenges as well. There’s the liability insurance and coverage and various things that can make it difficult at times.” It’s a long day of walking dogs, leaving home usually around 7:30am, and then finishing around 3 in the afternoon. Mark then collects his two-year old son from daycare, and heads home.
"They dogs really do become friends with one another, and are always happy to see me, which is great," he says. All eight dogs that are with Mark today sit patiently while we talk, looking up at him as if to say "Let's go!" "Rainy days can be tough, they don't want to be out in the rain and I don't really want to either, but I've always got good company, even if they don't to walk in the rain. I really love my life," #notastranger