Ex-NYC teacher earning $120k — as a dog walker

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This well-paying gig is a walk in the park.

Michael Josephs went from making under $40,000 a year as a teacher to raking in six figures doing what he loves — walking dogs.

The seemingly humble job has allowed the former Brooklynite, 34, to buy a home in Middletown, NJ, where he currently lives, as well as a new car. He’s also been able to take his family to Disney World and put aside $10,000 in a college fund for his 18-month-old kid.

“It’s been a blessing,” Josephs told The Post.

In early 2019, he started walking dogs as a side hustle to supplement his $38,000 annual salary as a special-needs teacher at a private school in the Financial District. He relished walks in Prospect Park with his black Labrador mix, Willy, and local dog owners were always commenting on how obedient the pup was. Some asked if Josephs was for hire, and he said sure.


Michael Josephs, 34, a former special needs teacher who lives in Brooklyn, raked in $120,000 in 2022 for his dog walking business. He recently expanded into the New Jersey market.
Michael Josephs, 34, with the pooch that started it all — his black Lab mix, Willy.
Courtesy of Michael Josephs

After seeing how lucrative it could be, he decided to quit teaching and focus on Fido. In July of 2019, he officially started his own business, Parkside Pups. By the end of the year, he’d made $35,000 and had a dozen regular clients who paid $20 for 30-minute walks. Last year, he made $120,000.

“I’m amazed by the lifestyle I can have as a business owner,” he said.

Business stalled when the pandemic hit in 2020, but quickly picked up again when New Yorkers returned to the office. Last year, he decided to grow the business, creating an app and hiring more employees.


Josephs' dog walking business started out with just a few pups in the park. Now his business, Parkside Pups can take on between 25 and 30 dogs per day.
Josephs’ dog-walking business started out with just a few pups in the park. Now his business, Parkside Pups, can take on between 25 and 30 dogs per day.
Josephs

He now has five full-time workers as well as various independent contractors serving dozens of dogs. The business spans Brooklyn, lower Manhattan and soon will be available in the New Jersey locales of Red Bank and Middletown. Services offered include walks ($25 to $30 per hour), puppy training ($60 per hour) and overnight puppy-sitting ($65 per day).

Josephs lost his health insurance when he left his teaching job, but his new gig comes with its own perks.

Well-heeled clients regularly offer him their vacation homes upstate or out on Long Island.

“People are really hospitable,” said Josephs, who gets health insurance through his wife’s job at a nonprofit.

He misses working with his students but loves the freedom of being outside with his four-legged charges.

“I love this business — it’s always been about the pups for me!” he said. “They give you excitement and loyalty. There’s not many downsides to that.”

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