The Dog Walker
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The Dog Walker

Dogwalking: it's every eight-year-old's dream! You spend your day outdoors; you interact exclusively with silly, loving dogs; and you get paid for it. But the reality is . . . well, actually, the reality is pretty great, too. That's what Joshua Stephens learned in his decade as a professional dogwalker in the nation's political and financial capitals. And The Dog Walker is his eye-opening memoir of the good, the bad, and the smelly.

In 2002, Stephens had been protesting and organizing for over a decade, and he was even more broke than usual. So when a friend suggested dogwalking, he decided to see what it was like working in the world's most open office. His clients, he discovered, were the very people whose dominance he was trying to dismantle: millionaire lawyers defending corrupt corporations, millionaire lobbyists lobbying for corrupt corporations, millionaire CEOs running corrupt corporations. But the money was good, and the dogs were hilarious, and a new career was born.

What followed was a decade spent observing some of the oddest things one could be paid to observe. Stephens was allowed into the homes of people who would, under different circumstances, try to get him arrested, and he befriended the strange but close-knit group of misfits and rebels that make up the dogwalking community in America's big cities. As the job got easier, Stephens became an urban chronicler. He noticed how gentrification would inevitably begin soon after the first dogwalkers appeared, and he learned more about police oppression than he ever did at the barricades.

In The Dog Walker Joshua Stephens displays an ear and an eye for the perfect anecdote and the brilliant, big idea, the pithy portrait and the damning statistic. At once a hilarious fish-out-of-water story to rival The Devil Wears Prada and a work of observation that calls to mind Jane Jacobs, The Dog Walker is irresistible.

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