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Are Pets Your Passion? Turn Your Love Into a High-Paying, Remote Job — From Two Women Who’ve Done It

The pawfect life can be yours.

Working from home doesn’t mean you have to sit at a desk all day for very low pay. With a little creativity, you can turn your love of pets into cash. Just ask Dawn LaFontaine, 57, who has a business selling whimsical cat boxes, and Jeanne Crockett, 73, who cares for pets in her neighborhood (dog walking, pet sitting, you name it). Both animal-lovers have grown their second careers into successful, sustainable, and remote pet businesses. The best part? They love what they do. Learn their secrets so you can start earning, too.

Earn up to $2000 a week selling cat boxes.

Dawn LaFontaine, 54, Ashland, MA, holding one of her cardboard designs
Dawn LaFontaine, 57, Ashland, MAPhotographer: Joel Benjamin. H&M: Laura Dillon Team

“I was a stay-at-home mom for more than 20 years, but when my second child went off to college, I started to look for moneymaking opportunities,” says LaFontaine. “I have several pets and volunteer for animal rescue organizations, so I thought maybe I would do something with animals. Then one day, I noticed my mother’s pet sitter had a bunch of cardboard boxes in her home for her cats to play in, and it clicked: I could sell whimsical cat-safe toy boxes and Cat in the Box ( was born.

“To start, I searched for cardboard box manufacturers and had a friend help with the designs. The toy boxes, made with environmentally friendly soy-based ink, include a monster cheese wedge, a milk carton, and a gingerbread house that owners can decorate themselves. I charge $25 to $30 each and sell both retail and wholesale. I love being able to connect with other cat-lovers, and I go the extra mile for my customers before, during, and after the sale.

one of Dawn LaFontaine's creations - a milk carton box
Photographer: Joel Benjamin. H&M: Laura Dillon Team

“The business is still very new, but I’ve made more than $8,000 in a month. Eventually, the money will pay bills and help save for the future, but right now it’s going back to the business to develop new products. I have so many ideas about ways to make the world a more fun place for cats and their humans!”

Earn $80,000 a year taking care of pets.

Jeanne Crockett, 73, Newburgh, NC with a German Shepherd
Jeanne Crockett, 73, Newburgh, NCBob Mackowski/Open Aperture Photography

“Ten years ago, I was laid off from my corporate job. I was close to retirement age but still needed to earn an income,” says Jeanne Crockett, 73. “Years before, I had worked with horses, and when I was younger, I had a part-time job at a veterinarian’s office. Plus I’ve always loved animals. So, I decided to start a business offering dog walking and pet sitting services.

“In order to learn as much as I could, I joined Pet Sitters International ( for $155 ($145 + $10 application fee). I also took an entrepreneurship course at the local college and attended round-table events at the local small business center. I purchased insurance, applied for business grants, and hired someone to design my website. I spread the word by writing editorials in the local newspaper and telling local animal stores about my business, Crockett’s Critter Care (

“I care for dogs, cats, birds, fish, and rabbits, and serve a 12-mile radius in my county. After several years of running the business by myself, I became so busy, I hired eight staff members. I’m so passionate about this, not only because of my love for pets, but also because I’ve been able to give others the same opportunity to do what they love. The money I make — about $80,000 a year — pays the bills, but most goes back into the business.”

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First for Women.

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