Tomika Bruen and Dog photo

The day-to-day life of a professional pet sitter is often misunderstood.

So much goes on ‘behind the scenes’, both in the office and in the field, in order to give the impression of an effortless and successful job.

This series will spotlight 15 Professional Pet Sitters and Their Stories in an effort to pull the curtain back on extraordinary jobs well done.

Today, we say hello to Tomika Bruen of Out For A Walk Pet Sitting and Dog Walking in Los Angeles, California.

You Won’t Know Until You Ask!

Tomika Bruen pet sitter2014 was my first official year in business and what a year it was!

There are several highlights, but the one that stands out for me is the “Halloween Yappy Hour” my business organized for an apartment complex in Los Angeles.

I went to drop off my business cards in the lobby of a high-rise apartment building that I frequently pass. While I was there, the thought came to me that I should also ask about the possibility of hosting an event for the pet parents in the building.

The events coordinator for the complex loved the idea of a Halloween-themed pet event! She told me she had wanted to plan something for the doggies in her building, but didn’t know what.

From there we made arrangements via email and set the date for the week of Halloween.

The tenants of the building were so appreciative – everyone that attended participated in the costume contest.

And Sponsors, Too!

Another aspect of the Yappy Hour that stands out for me is the sponsorship provided by other local small businesses. The businesses donated items for the goodie bags given to each Yappy Hour attendee.

Out For A Walk has social media to thank for sponsors’ participation. There are many pet related businesses on platforms like Instagram, several of which we follow.

All it took to get other small businesses on board was to reach out via direct message on Instagram.

And to think, all we had to do was to ask the apartment complex if they were interested in such an event. And to put the word out on social media about wanting sponsors for the goodie bags.

We are looking forward to all the connections we will make in 2015 simply because we ask!

Over To You

Read More: Click 15 Professional Pet Sitters and Their Stories for all the featured pet professionals in our series.

In this story, Tomika made it look so easy. In fact, it truly is as easy taking the first step and simply reaching out.

Today, the Internet has legitimately leveled the playing field by making everyone accessible.

How can you do what Tomika did by getting over her own fear and asking the right person (in this case, asking the apartment complex if they are interested in working with her on a holiday-themed pet event).

Funny enough, the complex coordinator had already given the idea thought but had no knowledge herself on how to pursue such a thing.

Thankfully Tomika stepped up, took action, and made it all fall into place.

Now Your Turn

Let’s keep this topic and dialogue going…

What is currently the one thing you would love to make happen for yourself and your business this year? Who can you reach out to in order to gain the needed support?

Think big!

You’ll be surprised who you can get on board simply by making a call or sending an email.

Who would you love to reach out to?


  • Anthony

    Confidence is what I take away from Tomika’s story. Confidence in yourself and your business will take you a long way. I dislike the phrase “fake it till you make it,” people can see through the fakeness and
    can sense a lack of confidence.

    I admire your confidence Tomika, you saw an opportunity and you went for it. That was a very impressive move on your part, especially being a first year pet sitter. I predict you will do very well in this business.

    • Joshua Cary

      Exactly right, Anthony. In addition to confidence, it is about, as you pointed out. seeing an opportunity and going for it. I heard a quote recently that said “It’s not what you look at, it’s what you see!” Think about it.

      • Tomika

        That’s a great quote, Josh!! And thank you Anthony for the encouraging words! ????

      • Anthony

        I love that quote Josh. Thanks for sharing.

  • Great Job Tomika. We all need to have confidence in ourselves. You never know who you may meet. Happy for you that your 2014 was a good year. May 2105 be even better.

    • Tomika

      Thanks so much! Yes, we definitely need confidence. And here’s to a wonderful 2015 for you, as well!

    • Joshua Cary

      You’d be surprised who you can get the attention of if you simply reach out and ask! We all run a powerful and much needed service. As long as the other person understands “what’s in it for them” you will have a win-win on your hands.

      • Tomika

        That’s so true, Josh!

  • kristinsk9

    What an inspiration you are Tomika???? I have left my business cards at an apartment complex awhile back. Your story has given me some ideas

    • Tomika

      That’s great, kristinsk9!! It sounds like planning a pet related event is in your future! ????

      • kristinsk9

        The initial visit at the complex, I had handed the Manager my cards and we talked for a bit, I will speak with her again for some ideas????

        • Joshua Cary

          Excellent plan! Let us know how it goes.

    • Joshua Cary

      It sounds like you are prepared to take that very next step. What is it? Speak to someone directly at the building? Prepare a brief outline of what you plan to do? Glad to know this story is helping.

  • Congrats! You truly never know until you ask. Way to step out, Tomika, and make things happen. Professional Pet Sitting is ALL about making connections (with people & their pets) & cultivating relationships. Sounds like a wonderful event. :)

    • Anthony

      Very true Cynthia. This business is all about building and maintaining relationships.

    • Joshua Cary

      Connections and relationships are vital to your success in ANY business. You can not sustain without help and support of the right people around you.

  • What a great way to think outside of the box. People think that we only walk dogs, but it can be so much more than that! You thought of a fun way to network, connect pet owners with other pet owners – and have fun doing it! Going outside of the box can be scary but look at the results! Great job!!

  • Kudos for going out on a limb, Tomika! :) Especially that you’re a newbie! (I’m still far from being a veteran in the industry myself!) It’s true that we’ll never know what happens unless we try! I’m sure the next bigger steps will be easier for you to take since you’ve already taken the first huge initiative!

    Last week I reached out to someone with similar interests to mine to collaborate on a community service that would benefit the local area as well as both of us. I e-mailed her after I spotted her ad on the local university classifieds. I pitched the idea of combining pet therapy, music therapy, and holistic modality therapy in facilities such as nursing homes, hospitals, schools, etc. I thought that would be unique since I don’t think anyone has ever attempted to do something like that around here. I invited her to meet up for lunch or dinner or whanot to get to know each other. I’ve never heard back from her ever since. She’s probably either busy or just plain weirded out. But it was better than doing nothing at all! I guess that was worth a shot! (BTW, Josh, I alluded to this project on my comment on the PSO FB Page when you asked everyone what they would need help with late last year. I think it was around or right before the holiday season or something like that.)

    So I’m not sure about the next step aside from trying to reach out to friends and relatives who mostly work in health care and see if any of them would be open to this (as they’re on the conservative side, so I don’t know how they’d take it) and if they’d know any other people or resources. Ditto with musicians, music teachers, and other holistic practitioners. This would take some guts to do it, but hey, gotta do what Nike says. JUST DO IT! :)

  • Great job Tomika!! You never know until you ask. Now I need to follow in your footsteps!

  • WOW Tomika, if you can push past the fear and so something like this in your first year, you’ll be a huge success for many years to come!

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