Right off the bat I have 5 dogs that I need to take care of. Luckily three of them sort of live near each other. They’re all pretty small so I just walk them together. The problem, of course, is that Dog #1 wants to sniff and say hi to everything we walk by. Dog #2 likes to bark at any human or canine we walk by. Then Dog #3 likes to stop and mark his territory quite frequently, if you know what I mean. So here I am with three different dogs wanting to do three different things. You can imagine the leash tangles.
Anyway, I walk them, clean up their messes and bring them back to the house. Dog #1 and #2 go back in the car and I bring #3 in for a treat. I sign the notebook to let the owners know what happened on the walk and I drive off to bring the other two home.
When I pull into Dog #1’s driveway, the owner’s car is already parked in it. I pull up behind, park, and bring the dog inside. It isn’t until I’m walking by it on the way back to my car that I notice one of the owners is actually in the car. He’s still belted in the driver’s seat and his window is partially open, but he’s asleep. This isn’t the first time I’ve come across him sleeping in odd places, I just want to mention he’s really old. I get back in my car and make a quick call to my dog walking boss so she can call the man’s wife to let her know he’s done it again.
After dropping off Dog #2, I head to the “enemies of ankles” house. These are two little dachshunds who aren’t the friendliest of dogs. One of them actually bit another walker when he slipped out of his harness and she tried to put it back on.
They have their harnesses already on when I arrive so all I have to do is clip their leashes on. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Sitting on the ground with treats in my hand, I entice them to get closer. I make no sudden movements, especially since the female is pretty skittish. The male climbs on me in the hopes of receiving more treats, so I take this time to gently pet him. After several minutes of this, I’m able to clip him in. Rather than trying the same tactic with the female (which takes forever to work), I take her brother to the front door and she follows. I make sure she can see my hands at all times as I carefully put her leash on.
Fifteen minutes of this and we’re out the door for the walk. Mind you, visits are thirty minutes so half this visit was spent getting the dogs ready to go out. Luckily taking off the leashes is a much easier process than putting them on.
That’s four down and one to go. The last dog for this time block is so easy and everything always goes so smoothly that I won’t even bother telling you about him.
It’s actually a little after 1pm when I finish the first shift. I go pick up a Portuguese Water dog so I can bring him to a playdate. He’s never been to the house I’m bringing him to and while the other dog is used to having friends brought around to play, we’re not sure how the two will interact.
As is typical, Rocky, the other dog, pays some attention to the Jesse (the Water dog) before losing interest. Meanwhile, Jesse is more fascinated in the pool. None of the dogs we’ve brought to Rocky’s house has ever been interested in the pool. Except to maybe drink from it.
But Jesse has this look I don’t like. He’s staring into the water like he wants to go in. And it doesn’t cross my mind that a breed that has “water” in its name would be called that for a reason. So I shoo Jesse away and try and get Rocky to chase after a stick. A few minutes later, Jesse is back at the pool but he’s on the far side where the steps are. I yell at him to come. Instead, he puts his front paws in the water. I don’t want to run to him because I’m afraid he’ll just jump in and I don’t know if he can swim! So I slowly walk over but before I reach the pool, he fully submerges himself. I gasp and run over, hoping he’ll stay close to the edge but nope! He paddles himself out to the deep end and just swims around. It’s then that I realize he’s fine, everything will be fine and I double over laughing. But I quickly stop because I realize he has to get back in my car…
Yeah, it took a couple of towels to dry Jesse off. Did I mention it started raining shortly after he got out of the pool?
Now on to the dinner-time dogs. First up is a little Beagle who I’ve only ever heard bark once. She’s a good solid walker too only you have to be careful she doesn’t eat anything she’s not supposed to. I once left her in my car for a minute while I went to get another dog. When I came back, she somehow found an old muffin wrapper and ate it.
The next dog is a Golden Retriever who PULLS. Even with the easy walk harness, she was never trained enough. As a dog walker, we can walk them properly when they’re with us, but without us…this is something that we can’t really fix.
So after 30 minutes of me being walked by the dog, I drive 5 minutes away to let a Chocolate Lab out. The poor thing has a lot of hip and ACL trouble so I can’t play with him like we used to. This time around he had just gotten something removed from one of his paws and because of the stitches, I can’t even take him on a walk. Despite his infirmities, this dog always wants to play and is constantly boisterous so it’s tough to make him settle down and take it easy. I don’t encourage him at all and sit down on one of the outdoor couches. When he realizes I’m not going to play, he joins me and cuddles up. We sit there for the entire visit.
It’s a busy time of year and lots of people are away so it’s all hands on deck, all hours of the day.
I have to go back to the Golden Retriever’s house to let her out one last time. Her house is right near the local amusement park which has a fireworks display two nights a week. It so happens that night was a fireworks night. It also so happens that the dog is petrified of loud noises. The walk wasn’t happening. I couldn’t get her off her property and onto the sidewalk. I figured I’d just let her out in the backyard instead. Even that was a no-go. She really dug in with all her might and would not budge off the patio. I tried to carry her off, but it truly was not going to happen. I make my second phone call to my boss that day to let her know what’s going on. She said she’ll have the walker who’s supposed to come the next morning come earlier than usual.
With that settled, I head back to the Chocolate Lab. The visit is pretty much the same as the earlier one only there’s a skunk in the yard and the dog tries to chase it. Thank goodness I manage to grab him in time and he doesn’t get sprayed. Also, his stitches don’t break open. We go in shortly after that.
By the time I get home, I’m exhausted. But honestly? That’s not even the craziest day I’ve had walking dogs…
What’s the craziest day Melissa has ever had walking dogs? Check back in for Confessions: A Day In The Life of A Dog Walker, Part 2!