Dog walking: Twin teens pursue first moneymaking venture

My twin sister Isabella (Bella) and I have been walking Barb Faimim’s dog, Molly, for almost a year now. We started after Ms. Faimim’s late-husband, Kevin, became ill and was no longer able to walk Molly. It’s nice to be able to help, especially when Ms. Faimim needs to work all day. It breaks up the time for her, gives me a little break from my family, and allows Bella and I to exercise.

Ms. Faimim came to our Voices of Youth program as a guest speaker, so Bella and I were able to conduct the following question-and-answer session:

Lorraine: When did you start hiring people to walk Molly?

Ms. Faimim: I think it was after March of last year…Kevin was doing it before that, but then he wasn’t able to, so you could say roughly March last year.

Lorraine: Do you feel like all teens (13-17) should have jobs?
Ms. Faimim: So, you actually started before you were a teenager. You know, I can’t really speak for that because I’ve never been a parent…I think that’s something I’d have to discuss with other parents…I’d have to take their suggestions and be guided by them.

Lorraine: When did you choose to hire us?
Ms. Faimim: Azalea [another neighbor], along with her mother [Michelle], as a guide, picked up in April of last year and continued through the summer, until August. Then Michelle suggested the two of you. So, it was really the end of summer last year, August of 2021.

Lorraine: Do you feel happy having people to walk Molly?
Ms. Faimim:
Yes, definitely. I don’t want to walk her every day, which I don’t. And also, I like to walk her in an interesting [environment] like a trail, and that means I have to get in the car and go somewhere. I get bored just walking in the neighborhood, so selfishly, I want something out of it. I want mileage out of the walk, and in summer, it’s very hard for me because I don’t like humidity, so I try to avoid the heat and humidity. So, I’m very grateful for having other people to do that.

I remember when you first started. You had not walked dogs. Michelle, Azalea, you and I – the five of us went for a walk. So how has it been for you in the past ten-eleven months?

Bella: It’s actually been really fun. Molly’s a great dog.
Ms. Faimim: And she’s very easy because she’s older, not as willful as a puppy.

Bella: She’s not like Digger [another neighborhood dog]. Every time we turn a corner, Digger tries to turn the corner and go home.        
Ms. Faimim: He resists his walks. He’s probably happiest when he’s with his mom. So, I remember when you started, I wanted to speak to your mom because I didn’t want to just assume it was OK because your mom and I hadn’t met each other. She said both of you wanted a pet -- wanted a dog -- and she thought this would be a good decision first of all, to delay getting a dog, because that’s something I think she didn’t want just yet, understandably because it’s a huge responsibility and expense. So, has it compensated at all? You don’t have the financial and 100 percent responsibility, and along with that you picked up Digger [another dog-walking gig]. I know you have a cat. I have a friend who lives in a small town in Portugal, and she adopted a feral cat who was probably not so feral and more domestic, but it was a cat that was living in the wild. What’s your cat’s name again?   

Bella: Wimpy.     
Ms. Faimim: And Michelle’s dog is named? 

Bella: Their spelling is Whimpy.          
Ms. Faimim: So, it gives you a totally different concept of Wimpy. Whim is whimsical, so like a frivolous idea. So, in South Africa, where I come from, it (Wimpy) was one of the first fast food chains…it’s actually from Britain, it’s like a McDonald’s. I came to South Africa when I was about 10, and I was very excited because we had not had anything like that, and this was in the early 60s, and I’m sure that people of my age had already been to fast foods by the time they were very little. So, when I hear “Wimpy,” it’s a little bit like, “Friday.” But I love cats, and I’m a cat person more than a dog person, but Molly is my responsibility now. She’s grown on me, and I’ve always loved her, but it’s just me. She doesn’t have a dad, but she’s got a mom. My friend in Portugal walks her cat every evening, like a proper walk.
Bella: We have a harness for Wimpy, but every time we try to walk…[it doesn’t work].     
Ms. Faimim: My friend didn’t want to deny the cat the outside, so she did it incrementally, like a few feet, then a few yards. Either it’s the breed that you adopt, or you have to train them from a certain age. 

While it hasn’t worked with Wimpy, Bella and I try to walk Molly at least four times a week. It enables us to learn how to make money and spend it wisely. I’ve saved and also gotten to buy rubber band kits, ice cream, Holtman’s, and Starbucks.

I would recommend getting a job to other teens so they can learn to do the same.

Lorraine Williamson is an entrepreneur and rising eighth grade student at Shroder High School. She is a member of the first Soapbox Voices of Youth cohort that took place this June during the 2022 Summer Scholars program.

Voices of Youth is made possible with underwriting support from Cincinnati Public Schools. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of Cincinnati Public Schools.

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