Signal Hill has long been a communications point on the Southern California landscape. In an earlier era, Native Americans signaled their brethren with fire and smoke, from Santa Catalina Island to the foothills of the Coastal Range bordering what is now L.A.

Today the signals are electronic, connecting us--at the click of a mouse--to vast, new worldwide networks.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dog Poop: An Adventure, a Business

We had met on the Hill before, each time he was picking up dog poop and each time I thanked him. "I always do it," he said, "and it makes me angry when others don't."

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.)

---- RCH


  1. Hi Dick -- I really enjoy the diversity of people you 'encounter', plus your lively writing style! Signal Hill is lucky to have their own blog archive of local personalities and lore. It takes a lot of work to produce a regular stream of content -- so YAY for you! -- Annie

  2. That chocolate lab reminds me of Macho!

  3. Great article.... I just spoke to Evelyn and
    they sound like such great people HUGE ANIMAL
    LOVER'S(all type's of animals).
    Carla A.