It’s common for people to say they’ll do just about anything for their children. Jeremy Markham is actually doing it.
Markham, 40, got the idea to start Mr. Pooper Scooper, a business in Essex in southwestern Ontario that picks up dog poop, to make extra money to see his three-year-old daughter, Blakely, in Winnipeg.
Her mom moved to Manitoba a few months after Blakely’s birth.
“It’s just been, it’s been hard, you know, trying to live my life here with my family, with bills and all that,” Markham said.
For the past two years, he has travelled twice monthly to see his daughter.
He worked as a personal trainer and at a car dealership, but was laid off and in March. In a post he shared on social media, he asked if anyone needed his pooper-scooper services. Later that month, he posted about the support for his new business venture.
Markham stays positive, but has dealt with hardships. Ten years ago, his three-month-old son, Cruz, died from a heart condition.
“That was really, really tough. From that point on, I’ve always wanted to be a dad. It’s always been very important to me,” he said. “I didn’t know if I was ever going to be a dad again, so being in the position, I am now with Blakely. Yeah, I just love being a dad and I love what Mr. Pooper Scooper has allowed me to do.”
I had to dig deep and do things that maybe sometimes you don’t want to do, but when you do these things, opportunity happens.– Jeremy Markham
Markham had worked at a car dealership, but quit because his business started to grow.
Mr. Pooper Scooper keeps him busy, with more than 20 clients. Markham said many clients have become good friends. Some even invite him for dinner.
“The customer service that we provide, and then they see where this business started and they appreciate, respect that, you know, just trying to get a hustle on to see my daughter and to where the business has grown.”
The message from Markham spoke to Jeff Garton, co-owner of Mr. Pooper Scooper. They met in a gym and share similar stories. Hearing that Markham was doing the dog poop pickup business to see his child made him want to help.
“A lot of people say, like, they’ll do anything for their children, ‘I’ll go pick up garbage in the streets. I’ll go clean toilets.’ When Jeremy actually said he’s doing it, stepping up, not just talk, he’s actually doing it and inspired me to help him out,” Garton said.
Markham hopes his business will inspire his daughter to do what makes her happy.
“I want her to know that. You could do anything that you want to put your mind to. I want her to know that dad did this because I was in the position where I had to dig deep and do things that maybe sometimes you don’t want to do, but when you do these things, opportunity happens.”