Becoming a professional dog walker includes much more than I ever could have imagined. Not only am I responsible for your dog but also for your house. I enter a lot people homes in a day. Which is fine but over the years I've seen some in-depth parts of people lives. Entering a house to hear a new mother sobbing and exchange some kind words to try the lift her spirits. Small interactions with terminally ill mothers that have been a huge inspiration with their pure strength. Then all I can do is in later months is quietly smile or the occasional "how ya doing?" to the left over family. You learn to know when it's good to talk or when to just stroke the dog and be on your way. I've had texts like "Jen the kittens been stuck in the tree over night, can you let me know if he's out when go round" he wasn't, I spent half an hour luring him down. I like a challenge. Then is a certain cat that waits for me to bring the dogs back as he likes a biscuit too when I give out my after walk treat.
Some of the messes the dogs have left in the house for me to find have been similar to what I think the bog of eternal stench would smell like! But I can't and won't leave it there for you to come home too or let the dog walk through it, spreading the mess through the house. I will however go to your under the sink cupboard to find the appropriate weapon to fight it. My nose is tune to these things....like when you walk in a house to smell burning, to discover a forgetful teenager had a half thought about cooking some bacon then had left the house. One the shocks I have regularly is seeing the kids I met years ago in initial consult to see them again for the first time years later all grown up. I regularly let children back into their own homes, or lock the house when they haven't. Then there is the dogs. The only reason I manage to do what I do is too create a bound with each dog. I know what they like, what they don't like and how they act in different situations. One dog I noticed was not himself at all one day. I carried him a lot of the walk and told the owner to get him to the vet asap. That was the Monday he was diagnosed with leukaemia and by the Thursday he was gone. He was only 3 and it's always devastating. Once I was left with a couple dogs in my care for a month while the owner has her usual long holiday. For the 2 year old lab to get very sick, quickly rushed to the vets to find his kidneys where shutting down. He lasted about 2 days until we made the call that he was too sick. I cuddled him until he went. The other dog was his mother and the next year the same happened but I hand fed her and we had little trips to her favourite places to keep her spirits up. She hung on long enough to get through Christmas Day with her owner. Another dog had a big op which left her scared to go to the toilet after 3 days her owner was worried sick. I went round and picked her up like usual. Took her to our local walk where she managed to relieve herself then took her home where she managed to sleep for the rest of the day in peace. There were a couple of dogs I started with that when ever I went in the house where terrified and would of bitten with a wrong move from me. I gave them extra time. Took it slowly. Even walked with the owners until the dog knew I was ok and I wasn't kidnapping them. Once the bound was there they never left my side. I'm reluctant to take on new dogs to walk this is why. I need to make sure everyone gets enough time and is happy in their environment. Each dog I take on is then an adopted dog to me. I've started my dog training 3 years ago which helps read and understand each dog better. I've learnt to better read what their telling me and ways to make them more comfortable. I hate being sick and letting you and your dog down but luckily I think this only happened 10 days in 10 years. There's a crazy commitment level when being a dog walker. It's not just the dogs I walk I care about there's my training dogs and sometimes that includes dog training help on message or call late at night but also if I read on Facebook that someone lost a dog I do my best to help, whether walking the area or advising the owner on what's the best action. I once help capture a dog that had been out 5 days, which included running after it for a couple of miles. It's a job but also a passion and a lifestyle. For the love of dogs! So you see this is just some of the reasons why we are not just dog walkers.