December 22, 2008 09:00 PM

It’s become a common site in this troubled economy: people walking out of their offices with boxes of their belongings after being laid off. But what’s surprising is that many of those out-of-work people are now walking down streets with dogs as dog-walkers or pet sitting other animals to pay the bills.

Even in this faltering economy, people are still spending money on their pets and there’s a demand for services that care for them. Chiara Sforza was a vice president at Deutsche Bank until she was laid off in 2007. When unemployment ran out, she had to find a way to make ends meet. After hearing about Fetch Pet Care of New Jersey on the Internet when she was looking for a sitter for her own cats, she inquired about employment there and landed a job.

“Pet-sitting and dog-walking give me an opportunity to do something different,” she wrote in The New York Times on Dec. 20. “I’m tired of going to work every day in jobs where I have to worry if my position is going to be outsourced, and the new job is actually working out well. I knew I would have to give up some luxuries to take a job like this, and I was willing to do that.”

But taking a job in the pet business doesn’t have to mean sacrifice. Daniel Quinn and Joseph Cocomero were stock traders in Long Island, N.Y. before getting laid off in 2007. Now their dog grooming franchise Aussie Pet Mobile is booming – they doubled their profits after about three months in business.

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