Hi, there! My name is Jason Smith and I am the owner of PetCorps Professional Pet Care. I run PetCorps out of my home and serve more than 40 residential customers by providing them with weekly dog waste clean-up service. Yeah, it’s a dirty job, some would even say crappy, but it is something I enjoy. In addition to cleaning up dog waste, I also pet sit for a handful of customers in my county.
People often ask me how I got started in this line of work. I often tell them, “I just sort of stepped into it one day.” Seriously, though, I am where I am today because of the decisions I made.
In 2002, I decided to enlist in the U.S. Army to become a veterinary technician. When I had first learned this job existed, I knew that’s the direction I wanted to go in my life. The Army trained me how to be a soldier in basic training and then they taught me in nine short weeks how to be a veterinary technician. This was no easy task, let me tell you. A civilian veterinary technician course usually takes about two years. The Army crammed all of that learning down into nine weeks of intense training. By the time I received my orders to South Korea, I was ready to perform all the general duties of a veterinary technician in clinical practice.
In Korea, I had many opportunities to learn new skills. I performed numerous dental cleanings on cats and dogs, administered vaccines to pet dogs and cats, drew blood samples for analysis, performed heartworm tests, analyzed fecal samples for the presence of parasites, and monitored anesthesia while assisting the veterinarian in performing minor spay and neuter surgeries.
When my tour of duty in Korea finished, the Army further assigned me to the Fort Knox Veterinary Treatment Facility. Here, I was responsible for being a liaison between the vet clinic and the K9 section of the Military Police. I oversaw the management of more than a dozen Military Working Dogs’ (MWDs) health records, scheduled semi-annual physical exams for the MWDs, assisted in surgeries and necropsies.
At the time, Fort Knox also had a stray animal facility within the same building. We had a civilian employee responsible for the operations of the Stray Facility during the week and on weekends, my coworkers and I would rotate on-call duties. While on-call, we were responsible for the upkeep of the stray kennels for dogs and cats.
In 2005, I left Active Duty to pursue an officer training program. I enrolled at the University of Louisville and concurrently enrolled in the Kentucky Army National Guard as a cadet with the 1163rd Medical Command based in Louisville. Later, the unit moved to Shelbyville, KY. After a year in the green-to-gold program, I decided that this career path was not a fit for me and obtained permission from the Professor of Military Science to disenroll from the program. I remained in the National Guard and finished my enlistment in 2009.
In 2006, I will never forget when my pastor stood in front of the church declaring that God would inspire members of our church to start businesses or to build inventions that would help further God’s kingdom here on earth. Although I didn’t have a background in business, I did feel the call to start something. Then, one fateful night in November, I logged onto my computer and typed “business startup ideas” into the search bar on Google.com and found Entrepreneur Magazine’s website. When I accessed the site, I found a link for pet businesses. Naturally, given my background in veterinary care, I decided this would be an applicable field to investigate. I clicked the link and couldn’t believe what I saw next. There at the top of the page in big, bold letters:
You could be a professional pooper scooper.
I mean it was blindingly obvious. Nobody likes cleaning up dog poop and they sure don’t like stepping in it. Why couldn’t I think of this myself?
From that moment, I began researching the industry and found out that professional pooper scoopers had been around since about 1988. I was in second grade when the first pooper scoopers were getting started across the country. How was it I had never heard about this before?
I bought books about starting up a dog waste clean-up business. I found community in the online forum at pooper-scooper.com. I discovered the trade organization aPaws – The Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists. The evidence was clear. This was a real business and a real need in the marketplace. If they could do it, then so could I. In January 2007, I launched PetCorps.
This blog started in 2009 as an extension of my business. My intent was to publish content that would keep the public informed about PetCorps. Over time, though, as I grew in wisdom and experience, I decided that I would publish content that pet owners could use as a resource to help provide a better life for the pets. Today, though, I am embarking on a new chapter in the PetCorps Professional Pet Care Blog. I want to provide meaningful content that helps improve life for people and pets. What does that mean, exactly? I’m not exactly sure yet. As I listen to podcasts from my virtual mentors, I realize that there are many reasons to maintain a blog and that it is not always about selling products, services, or ideas. This is an opportunity to become a better communicator and to develop a repository of my best thinking. I will continue to post about pets with pet care advice, I will also post the latest news related to PetCorps, I will share promotions, but I will also be open to the ideas that present themselves to me in my daily work. So if you can, please give me some grace, and embark on this journey with me. It will be fun to see where we end up.