It was during this latest exchange that I noticed he was walking different dogs. It dawned on me: "You're a professional dog walker," I said.
Yes, retired Bellflower resident Harry Ruiterman--seen here with chocolate "curly" lab Coco and mix-breed Chase--and his wife, Evelyn, operate the small business Affordable Pet Sitters, providing dog walking services for just $18 a 45-minute walk for up to two dogs. Add two dollars for an additional dog.
It begins with an interview where dog-human compatibility is determined. They walk some dogs daily and others two or three times a week; and it takes "dog people" like Harry and Evelyn to be successful. Harry takes the larger dogs, while Evelyn walks the smaller ones, since she suffered a health set-back recently.
They also provide overnight pet sitting services and plan to expand soon into poop scooping--a technical term of the trade.
Business is good. Harry and Evelyn have their hands full, working mostly in Signal Hill and Long Beach, and relying on word of mouth to bring in new clientele to accommodate turnover. In fact, Harry resists pressures to expand the business, decrying the unwanted complexities that would come with hiring others.
For Harry, picking up dog poop is not only the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense.
(Scroll down for more Pleasant Encounters on Signal Hill or click on slideshow to the right for the complete project.)