The Dog Days

Senior starts pet-sitting business, along with podcast.


Submitted Photo

Senior Melynn Cunningham snaps a picture with one of the dog she walks.

Daniella Moreno

Melynn Cunningham is not your average high school senior. She’s a business owner. A podcaster. A soccer player. And most importantly, an advocate for mental health. 

The senior began her dog business two years ago and her podcast: The Jaguar Hour Podcast last March, and has been an active member of the school through soccer, track and NHS.  

“My mom’s always like, ‘You need to be a teen,’ and I’m like it’s fine,” Melynn said. “I like working, I like keeping busy.”

Melynn’s love for dogs and being able to make her own schedule prompted her to begin her own dog-sitting business. 

“It started with dog-sitting here and there,” she said. “Then more people would ask me and I was like, ‘I’ll just make a business card and put my name out there. If it works out, it works out. If it doesn’t, I’ll just get a job.’”

She was able to build up her clientele to where people know her and can recommend her to other dog owners. 

“I think I love talking to people and getting to meet new people and having connections,” she said. 

When Melyn first started walking dogs as part of her business about two years ago, she said she needed entertainment, so she started listening to podcasts and eventually got addicted. But then she thought of how funny it would be if the school had a podcast, and if she was the one who started it. 

“It was a lot of research and I had to figure out how to work the equipment, audio and microphones and teach myself that,” she said. 

The only way Melynn has been capable of keeping up with all her activities is through reminders on her phone or through planners. 

“I’m that girl,” she said. “I was never that girl, but I have to be or I will forget about someone’s dog.”

But at times when Melynn is not busy enough, is when her mental health takes a toll. During the end of her sophomore year, she was facing depression which led to an eating disorder and a month in the hospital. 

“I don’t think I would be who I am today without it,” Melynn said. “I want to help people that struggle with [mental health] and I want to speak up about it, cause I didn’t speak up about it.”

She isolated herself from her friends and pretended to be okay, even though she wasn’t. Melynn said none of her clothes were fitting her anymore, she was feeling weak and her hair was falling out.

“Food is fuel, and I didn’t get that rule,” Melynn said. “If anything I was just very obsessive about being a certain way and being healthy.”

One of the factors that helped Melynn heal was support. She said support is everything, but it has to be your decision to get better. You can’t make the move to be better unless you make that choice. 

“If you would have asked me a few months ago, ‘No, I never had an eating disorder,’” she said. “But now I feel like I can talk about it because it’s life and you go through stuff.”


Biology Teacher Sheri Knight, who taught Melynn her freshman and junior year, said she is a really hard worker and one of the nicest people she’s met. Knight said Melynn is one of those people that can talk to anybody and has a passion for understanding people.  

“She’s just one of those students that make the class super fun and everyone more interested because of her presence,” Knight said. “She’s constantly asking questions and making fun comments, and she’s really listening to what I have to say.”

In the future, Melynn has hopes of making a name for herself and traveling the world, but as of right now, she wants to attend the University of Texas to major in journalism.

“I’m happy to be better now and happy to wake up and just live life happy,” she said. “Waking up and not dreading the day is great, because I used to dread the day.”