Tough economy, man! No jobs. No cash. No fun. Fifteen million out of work. • Two of the unemployed — cousins Samantha Woodring, 11, and Sydney Grace, 10 — got to make something happen. Can't lie around Grandma's pool all summer (like a "lazy" 15-year-old cousin of theirs named Aaron.) But what can they do? What are they good at?
They're good at dogs. They understand dogs.
Samantha calls over Buc, her short-haired retriever, named after the Buccaneers.
"Sit!" she says.
Buc just stands there.
"Fine! Don't sit!"
"See?" she says.
Samantha checks Grandma's Meadowlawn neighborhood. Dogs everywhere, dogs stuck in back yards, dogs yearning to stretch their legs. Very dog-friendly neighborhood. Even has a dog crematorium.
She makes up a brochure, titles it: "Scratch and Sniff Dog Walker."
"I am 11 years old and love dogs. I've had many dogs before and have 3 now. I walk dogs from tiny Yorkies to big Golden Retrievers. … I walk in heat and light rain. I don't walk dogs in groups. I'm very strong and can deal with most any dog size. … Dogs are man's best friend but here in Florida it's just too dang hot to walk them, but for me it's what I love. …"
She researches the Internet. Some dog walkers make a dollar a minute! She makes up a price list. But she decides on less than the going rate because she's only 11:
15 minutes: $4.50.
30 minutes: $9.50.
45 minutes: $14.50
60 minutes: $19.50
Samantha closes with a hip-hop song lyric:
"Go ahead do it you know you want to."
Samantha and cousin Sydney print out 120 copies. They hit the bricks. They stick their brochures in mailboxes all over Grandma's neighborhood. They practice walking Buc and his best pal, Amber, a yellow Lab mix. They walk them in heat and light rain, as they advertise.
They get no callbacks.
The girls are stuck at Grandma's pool with lazy Aaron. No money for horseback riding. No money for Busch Gardens.
Grandma finds something else they're good at:
Vacuuming dog hair.
Tough economy, man!
Scratch and Sniff Dog Walker can be reached at (727) 259-3386. John Barry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 892-2258.