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Glen Cove teen starts dog walking, pet care business

Will donate portion of income to Cove Animal Shelter

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Incoming Glen Cove High School freshman Aidan Waters will have quite a busy summer with his new business, “Aidan’s Dog Walking.”

Through his business, 14-year-old Aidan will walk and watch dogs while their owners are out for the day.

“A friend of ours was asking me to take care of her dog for the day and I really enjoyed it and I thought of making the business to make some money and help the animals,” Aidan said. “I think it’s a fun way to earn some money and I just love all animals and taking care of dogs.”

Aidan’s mother, Sarah Finkelstein Waters, said that when brainstorming ideas for work that would be appropriate for a young teenager and something that would keep all parties safe during a pandemic, working with animals seemed to be the best fit. She took to Facebook to help Aidan advertise his new business, receiving a warm and welcoming response.

And not only does Aidan plan to earn some cash through his new business, he also plans on donating a portion of his earnings to Cove Animal Rescue in Glen Cove. “I think they really help the animals and I want to inspire others to donate and adopt animals,” Aidan said.

Cove Animal Rescue Board Director Janine Fakiris said she really appreciates what Aidan, who has volunteered and fundraised for the shelter before, is doing.

And, Fakiris said, the support is certainly helpful for the shelter after facing a period of struggles through the pandemic. “In the beginning of the [pandemic], the struggles were obviously getting a lot of the animals from the people who were sick due to the Covid,” Fakiris said. “So, we were getting a lot of dogs and cats and luckily we were able to foster them and get them adopted. Then, obviously, we weren’t able to have any fundraisers.”

Another challenge, Fakiris said, is the fact that since the shelter was no longer able to run the trap, neuter and release program for a period of time, the shelter received an influx of kittens. The shelter has since resumed the program.

Even through these challenges, the shelter has been able to send many animals to forever homes and has also received much support from the community. That support was reciprocated with a pet pantry set up outside the shelter for community members to grab pet food and supplies they may need.

“It’s amazing that, first of all, at Aidan’s age, that he has learned how important it is to give back to his community,” Fakiris said. “Aidan’s mother truly raised a very smart, caring little boy. So when he does things like that, it shows the community that there are ways to help the shelter.”

“He’s a good boy,” Finkelstein Waters said of her son. “He’s kind, he’s quiet. He’s a really sweet guy.”

Depending on what school days will look like this September, Finkelstein Waters said that Aidan might continue to balance his business with his schoolwork.

Celina Cullen, who works as an English as a new language teacher at the Glen Cove City School District, hired Aidan to look after her Shih-Poo mix puppy named Nala for the day. And she plans on doing so again.

“He genially has a love for animals,” Cullen said. “You can tell by the way Nala jumped up on him and they were fast friends. My dog was in good hands.”

As a teacher, Cullen said that small jobs for young people can help them learn responsibly and confidence. And, during a pandemic, a job like pet care can provide a productive and safe social outlet.

Cove Animal Rescue is open by appointments only. For more information visit www.coveanimalrescue.org.