Sarah Runco picks up poop for a living. She is the owner of Bones Doggy Day care in Foster City, California. Bones is the Ritz Carlton of Doggy Daycare. It is adorned with lime-green walls, crystal hanging chandeliers, plush sofas, and a big screen TV (Shaggy the Dog and Animal Planet are the unanimous favorites). She took a windy road from fashion designing to life-guarding before she turned her obsession for doggies into a living. Her hours are long and she comes home smelling like a fire-hydrant, but it’s worth it—she spends all day long getting slobbery kisses and cuddling.
SB: What’s your typical day?
Runco: I wake up at 6:00 a.m. I brush my teeth and put on my comfiest clothes. I grab Winston, my bulldog, and we’re off to get coffee and hit the shop. (That’s the morning.)
I get to work in time to get the shop warmed up and I start greeting dogs at 7:30 a.m. I interact with the pups until they take naps. When I finally get all fifteen dogs (on average) to nap, I check my emails and return phone calls. One furball will usually wake them all up, and its back to playing until its time for Mom and Dad to pick them up. I do pick up poop, puke, and other unidentifiable objects during that time—it’s not for the weak stomach.
This past Tuesday was a pretty typical day—Sean’s Dad came in and told me he was in big trouble because he ate his red leather wallet. After a few hours of playing, Sean threw up half the red wallet, three crumbled credit cards, cash, and four green sequins. His dad is the art director at a theater. Clearly little Seany was in his closet eating his clothes. Sometimes we play guess what they are going to throw up before it comes out for entertainment purposes.
SB: How’d you get where you are?
Runco: Two words: hard work and dedication. I was sick of the corporate world and sick of wearing heels to work! I wanted a fun job where I actually made a difference in someone’s world. (It also took endless research on dogs and doggy behavior!)
SB: What’s the best thing about your job?
Runco: Gratification, I have made a difference in people’s lives. I am part of their family. Doggies don’t talk back like people do. The best part of my day is when the doggies walk in every morning excited to see me and be here. It makes waking my booty up at 6 a.m. completely worth it. Even though I bitch about my hours and stress-levels, I look back and realize I play with dogs and get endless slobbery kisses for a living. Plus I get to wear my PJs to work; it couldn’t get much better.
SB: What don’t you like?
Runco: Long hours, I work twelve to fourteen hour days. But I get weekends and major holidays off, so it’s not the end of the world. Plus, doggies don’t talk—it’s hard to communicate if something is wrong.
SB: How much money did you make?
Runco: Not enough. It’s enough to live a great, steady life in a picturesque neighborhood. I know there is potential to go way beyond that. I have only been open a year …
Photo Courtesy of the Author