Professional dog walking has become one of the fastest growing jobs in the UK.
There are about 10,000 registered dog walkers who claim to provide scrupulous care for dogs. They charge from 10 to 30 pounds to walk a dog for an hour, inclusive of pick-up and drop-off, reports the Daily Mail.
AdvertisementAn elite group of pet walkers in London and the South-East exist to pamper the pets of celebrity clients such as Sienna Miller - who has two rescue terrier crosses, Porgy and Bess - and Fulham footballer Danny Murphy, who has a Bernese mountain dog called Jim and a golden labrador, Henry.
Firms such as Pets In The City, run by Sarah Marris, and Very Important Pets, run by trained veterinary nurse Louise Root, belong to a premier league of companies that offer a personal one-to-one dog service for about 35 pounds.
They also offer monthly 'gold' packages for around 650 pounds- which include feeding, trips to the vet and even shampooing.
The firms are registered with the 6,000-member National Association of Registered Petsitters.
The organisation's scheme offers 5 million pounds of insurance cover against a pet's injury or theft, dog bites to passers-by or other dogs, and road accidents.
But this caring job can also have a murkier side because anyone can set up as a 'professional' walker.
The only strict requirement is to follow animal-welfare rules or risk prosecution with a fine of up to 20,000 pounds, plus up to 51 weeks in prison.
In the recession, unemployed people turned to dog walking for ready cash, charging from 7.50 to 20 pounds an hour. Some walk ten dogs at a time.
Dogs are often seen bundled into walkers' vans or cars without any safety harnesses.
Roger Mugford, an animal psychologist from Chertsey, Surrey, thinks it is time dog walkers were regulated throughout the country.
P Tattoo Rage Catches on in India With Divine Symbols Taking Prominence Accelerated Lab Evolution of Biomolecules Using Biomolecules Could Yield to NextGen Medicines M
You May Also Like