BRAVE: This College Student Walks Dogs for a Living Instead of Paying for Therapy
College can be a stressful time, and coupled with seasonal winter depression up here in the frigid North, it’s no wonder that therapy is one of the most profitable industries in Evanston - second only to the Temperance Lobby. However, mental health care comes with a high cost, and students that don’t come from intergenerational wealth often find their insurance does not cover treatments like psychotherapy and counseling.
However, one student has found a way around this dilemma with an unexpected remedy: walking dogs for pay. Communication Senior Raymond Mikkens uses the dog-walking app Rover. “It’s like Uber but for poor college students who have a passing interest in dogs” he says. “You fake a few recommendations, pass a background check, and BOOM - random strangers who haven’t heard of legitimate pet-sitting simply entrust you with their adored canine companion for a few days.”
Regarding the mental health benefits, Raymond touts the dog walking 3x daily as somewhat of a depression miracle cure: “the walks really clear my head and distract me from the existential dread brought on by my assignments, job hunting, and realizing my RTVF degree is going to provide me with almost zero return on my educational investment. It’s also nice feeling needed by another sentient being in general. Like, I’m responsible for whether this creature gets its kibble or dies of starvation. How empowering is that!”
Despite his own personal success, Raymond encourages everyone to seek professional help for their problems. “By no means is my treatment the best for everyone. Seriously, if you’re dealing with a serious mental health problem, get counseling, see a psychiatrist, and see if you can get any medication. Seriously, if you find anyone who prescribes antidepressants and doesn’t charge a co-pay please let me know. Like, hit me up ASAP. I’d really like to know. Zoloft, Prozac - I’m open for anything.”