Teen earns school funds despite COVID

By Merna Emara
Staff Writer

There is no doubt of the negative effects the pandemic had on the workforce, particularly those working by the shift in industries that were forced to close.

Raina Johnson, 19, found herself having to navigate COVID-19 uncertainties as she tries to save money before going off to college in the fall.

“I work at the Rendez-Vous’s event hall,” Johnson said. “We weren’t really getting that many shifts because of the pandemic. People were not having weddings.”

With the limited shifts at work, Johnson said she thought it would be a good idea to have a business on the side that could help her save for college.

Raina Johnson didn’t let the pandemic get in her way of earning college funds – she launched her own got walking business. – Merna Emara photo

“I was already walking my dog everyday anyway so I thought I might as well see if anybody else needs their dog walked,” Johnson said. “It’s also something to do to get out of the house a little.”

Johnson said she does not recall how she got the idea to walk dogs.

“I probably saw a TikTok or something that said what you should do in quarantine,” she chuckled. “There’s not really anyone that does that around here and I was also thinking for the winter when it gets too slippery and cold for people to walk their dogs.”

Johnson has about three dogs that she walks on Mondays and Wednesdays. The walk lasts about an hour that Johnson charges $15 for.

“I walk eight dogs off and on depending on whether the owner needs it,” Johnson said. “Some of the owners get caught up with work so they do not have the time to walk them. But most of them are just older people who might have knee problems or have big dogs.”

In order to take COVID-19 safety precautions into consideration, both Johnson and the dog owner wear masks when they are handing her the dog and Johnson brings her own leash.

Johnson said she usually walks the dogs by the waterfront as that is where most of her clients are located.

She said she is planning to do this until September before she goes off to Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, to take her outdoor expedition program.

“There’s a whole bunch of different certificates that you get with it,” Johnson said. “I would learn how to Kayak, rock climb and scuba dive. It’ll be easier to travel, and I could have a work visa. Hopefully, one day I could open a camp and work in different areas. I love being outdoors. I love to fish and camp.”

Johnson said the money she receives from walking dogs is not the same that she would have received working her full shifts at the Rendez-Vous’s event hall, but she said any amount helps.

If you need your dog walked, you can give Raina Johnson a call at 807-271-2502 to check her availability.