Woman, 24, ‘proud’ of ditching 9-5 to make cash doing what she loves

A woman from Scotland is making up to £300 every single day after turning her passion for dogs and weddings into a chaperone business.

Hailing from Edinburgh, Oliva Thomson, 24, said she used to walk dogs for cash during her lunch breaks as an admin assistant before heading off to travel South East Asia and Australia last November.

After returning in March earlier this year, Ms Thompson decided she wanted to get into event management. Ms Thompson said: “I always wanted to be a wedding planner. But I found it really hard to get a job in that industry without experience.”

Ms Thompson managed to secure a job as an event sales assistant at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and got an insight into the weddings they held.

She worked there for three weeks before deciding to quit and start up her own dog chaperone business – the Dog Lady – after realising she could combine her two passions.

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Ms Thompson said: “At the botanical gardens you could have dogs there. I thought ‘Who is looking after the dogs?’. I realised the dogs make me the happiest. I love weddings. That’s where I come in – it’s a dream job.”

Ms Thompson launched her business in June 2023 and has attended four weddings so far – making around £300 each day. She also restarted her dog walking side job to keep the money rolling in and says she earns up to £2,500 a month.

Before the big day, Ms Thomspon meets the bride and groom and their dog to find out what they need.

She said: “I always meet the client before the wedding day – to find out anything I need to know and see the behaviour. It’s kind of customed to the bride or groom. Lots of people book me for the photographs.”

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“Some people don’t want the dogs at the ceremony – sometimes they want them after. A lot of people find it important to have their dog in their photographs.”

At one wedding, the couple even booked Ms Thompson in to walk the dog up the aisle. She said: “I felt nervous, and it wasn’t even my wedding. That was my first wedding and they wanted her for the ceremony.

“Every single dog has been well-behaved so far. I’m dreading the day they are not.”

Ms Thompson already has bookings in for next year, as well as 2026. She said: “I love seeing the different venues and I love to see the wedding dress.”

Ms Thompson and her partner, Conor, 29, an electrician, have just got their own 10-week-old puppy together – Ginny, a Hungarian Vizsla, who Ms Thompson hopes will one day be part of her own wedding.

She said: “I think she’ll be the ring bearer. I have visions of her coming down the aisle with the bridesmaid or maid of honour. This is if Conor decides to pop the question.”

Ms Thompson said she is “proud” of her success and has proved doubters wrong. She said: “A lot of people doubted me. I’m proud of myself for going for it.”

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