The paw-fect job for students

Junior digs her first job caring for dogs


Swarmed by doodles, retrievers and shepherds, junior Soraya Peirson casually strolls into her shift at Wiggly Tails Doggie Daycare.

Peirson began working at Wiggly Tails over winter break after finding out the daycare’s management was interested in hiring high school students. Wiggly Tails is a training, grooming, boarding and daycare center for dogs located in Northbrook.

Peirson’s favorite part of working at Wiggly Tails is playing with the puppies.

“There’s one dog named Mocha, and she likes to just sit next to me and then sleep,” said Peirson. “And she [is] just very cute.”

According to Wiggly Tails owner Judd Hackl, when hiring, he looks for dog lovers who are willing to take on the responsibility that comes with caring for dogs.

“It’s not just playing with dogs,” said Hackl. “There is a lot of work that’s involved in it. Behind the scenes, [there is] a lot of cleaning, feeding, medicating. There can be long hours and sometimes stressful days, believe it or not.”

For Peirson, a day at Wiggly Tails as a Junior Pack Leader includes playing with the smaller dogs, bringing them outside and cleaning up various messes.

The hardest part of Peirson’s job is dealing with doggy accidents. 

“A dog ate its own poop … and ended up vomiting on my shoes,” said Peirson. “Those are work shoes now, forever.”

Despite the grosser parts of her job, one reason Peirson loves working at Wiggly Tails is because she gets to make connections with the dogs.

“There’s [one dog] and he’s a bit of a jerk,” said Peirson. “He’s really mean to people and other dogs, but for some reason he decided to like me.”

According to Hackl, his favorite part of the job is the relationships he builds with his clients, both humans and dogs.

“It’s great to get interaction with the clients … We really enjoy getting to see all of the different dogs,” said Hackl. “Many of them have been coming to us for years, so we really get to know them on a very personal level.”

According to Peirson, the most rewarding part of her job is seeing shy dogs come out of their shells.

“[Two new dogs] sat in the corner for an hour, and I just brought them into the group,” said Peirson. “Then towards the end they were running around with puppies.”