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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Free to pee with you and me!

Spring is here which means that dogs are happy and people are crazy.  It's as if over the winter people crawl into a little hole and they stop caring.  They don't care about the facade of their house or the environment or what others are doing around them.  They leave, they go to work, they come home and they do their best to avoid interaction.  The second that it gets nice outside they become fastidious creatures who suddenly give a damn.

Picture this.  I take care of 2 dogs at 1 house, 1 of whom is VERY old.  She has accidents in the house at times - but usually when I get there we make it outside with no problem.  They reside in a courtyard with a long outside corridor/hallway that leads to the gate to get to the street.  At the entrance of the gate, there is a mat on the ground on the sidewalk.

The moment that the gate was opened, the elderly dog immediately squatted on the mat and peed.  My first thought was "Wow!  She really had to go - glad that she held it until we got outside!"  Then her sister sniffed the area and peed right next to it (because that is what sisters do).  While dog 2 was in mid stream, a woman who lives in the courtyard comes walking up the street saying, "Well that's just great!  Right at the front where we walk in?  Really?  Come on!"  My immediate response is always, "They are DOGS!  We are on the street - they are gonna pee where they have to go.  Give them a break!"  The rest of the conversation went like this:

Her:  Why can't you just move them?  Why would you let them just go here?"

Me: I can't just move them!  She is 14 - she's going to go anywhere.  Plus it's an outdoor mat!! It's filthy from being outside!

Her:  Well, I also have a dog and I would move him.

Me: Has anyone ever tried to move YOU while you were in the middle of peeing?  I doubt you'd be ok with it.

Her:  Well I just think it's disgusting, right at the front door.  Next time you should move your dogs

Me:  Listen, these are not my dogs.  I'm doing the best that I can - thanks though!!!

Her:  You're an ass!!!

You may be asking yourself why I didn't just walk away.  Well the answer is this.  She just stood there at the gate adamantly, staring at me, waiting...  (I guess waiting for an apology?)   I had 2 dogs in my hand that move like molasses, especially the older one.  She is 98 in human years, she's not running anywhere anytime soon.  She was making such a fuss that the dogs were just staring at her confused!  She finally went in to her house. I was livid, the older dog had diarrhea (I blame that bitch), I'm scrambling to get them out of the street and clean up and all I want to do is call the owner and give her the heads up that I had a fight with her neighbor.  Luckily, she was VERY understanding and on my side.  

Here is my deal (and yes, my mother was right - I should have been a litigator)
*The dogs waited until they were OUTSIDE of the courtyard to eliminate
* The dogs went on the mat that was on the street (every dog in the neighborhood has peed on that mat)
* That filthy mat could be thrown away at any time - even by her if she thinks it's a pee magnet.  No one uses it to wipe their feet  - it serves no purpose.
* It's a sunny day, the pee was going to dry within 30 minutes tops
* If she had a dog, she should be sympathetic to other dogs  in her neighborhood and their walkers.  he should know that an elderly dog is going to just spontaneously go and that it is no ones fault.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Slander! Sort of....

I had a client for about a year (give or take) and I assumed that everything was great.  She never told me that she had any problems with me, I loved the dog, and our professional relationship was as it should be.  Then out of nowhere I stopped hearing from her.  I didn't think anything of it. People don't want to spend the money, their schedules change, they move... there could have been a million reasons.  Then I hear through the grapevine that she got another walker.  I was curious as to why, but never asked.  In a way, I didn't even want to know.  This walker lasted a bit, and she was replaced by another walker.  Then that walker dropped the owner as a client.  The owner then  got another walker who was actually a good friend of mine.  Then she dropped him and called me back to be her walker! This was about 2 years and 3-4 walkers later.  She left me a voicemail as if nothing ever happened!  I still didn't know why she stopped using me, but based off of that as well as what I have heard from the pet sitter community, I decided to keep my distance.

This past week I ran into her previous walker (2 walkers ago) who brought her up.  We had never met, but knew of each other.  She mentioned this client that we had in common and hesitantly said that there were some not nice things said about me.  Well then I had to know!  I had gone over everything in my head a million times!  Did I do something wrong?  Did I piss her off in some way?  Did she just not like me or my services? We never had a fight or confrontation, I just stopped hearing from her.  So the truth finally came out!  She told this next walker that she fired me because "the new person that I hired stole her diamond earrings." Um, WHAT????  First of all that is a blatant lie. No one that works for me would steal anything.  I trust them implicitly.  Secondly, no one has ever been alone in her house except for me.  Thirdly, if that actually happened, why would she say NOTHING?  And lastly, if she thought that was true, then why did she call me back 2 weeks ago to work for her again??   I have gotten jobs because the last dog walkers DID steal and the police officer that took the report referred me as a walker.

I let this sink in and I then sent a text to the next walker that she used to ask if this was what she told him.  He said that he didn't remember hearing anything about diamonds, but remembers her saying that I left dog poop all over her basement and wanted to send someone else besides me to fill in for a walk.  Let me just touch upon these two things.  First, if anything comes out of an animal and it is on the floor and I SEE it, I am cleaning it up.  If I don't go into that particular room and see it, how am I to know that it is there?  If something happens between the time that I leave and the time that the owner gets home - I cannot be held responsible.  The next major point is that I am one person running a busy business.  I cannot always be the one to do the walking and or feeding.  I will not send someone else to a house alone without giving the owner a heads up, especially for clients that were used to it just being me. My newer clients know that it could be me or 2 other people right off the bat.

This situation infuriates me because I was accused of things that I didn't do and I didn't even have a chance to defend myself!  She accused me of this to other people and never confronted me!  I know that I did nothing wrong, and I'm pretty sure that she knows it too since she keeps changing her story and going through dog walkers as often as she changes her socks.  I hold no grudges, I am just in shock.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Sad Goodbye to an old cat friend

Last Saturday I had to say goodbye to an old man cat (19 years old to be exact) that was owned by a client turned friend.  He had been having issues with his mouth for quite some time, but in the past month it had gotten progressively worse.  He was hungry, and he would eat - but he had attacks after most meals where he would gag and struggle to swallow.  He would shake it off, calm down, and then go eat more.  It got to the point where he didn't eat for over 24 hours and his owner knew that was it.

We were in constant communication about this.  When is the right time?  How will she know?  Is he suffering?  It's tough to answer these questions, because you really just know when it's time.  They will tell you.  Last Saturday, he told her.  She asked me to come to the vet for moral support. I met her over there midday and he went very peacefully.  You could tell that he was ready and that he had enough.  He had 19 years of adventures and crazy times (more than my own cats!).

He was an indoor/outdoor cat in the city which meant that he mostly hung out in the backyard (and other backyards that were close by)  He chased birds, killed mice, snoozed in the sun (and sometimes rain), and came in for meals and love.  He was loud and grumpy, but so sweet!  He also gave me some heart palpitations  over the years.  One time I went in to feed him and could not find him anywhere in the house.  I searched everywhere and then thought to look out back.  I'm calling for him and he doesn't come running.  I see him sleeping on the roof of the shed (outhouse?) in the yard behind his.  I call him and get no response.  I clap my hands and start yelling his name.  Nothing.  I tried to climb on a chair to reach him to tap  him and he was Just out of reach. I then thought he was dead and began to freak out.  I was looking for anything around me to be helpful.  I started throwing small pebbles at him to see if he was in fact dead.  I hit him with 3 or 4 rocks and I saw him stretch, yawn, and proceed to come over the neighbors call and stand at his back door yelling for dinner.  (the little stinker)

R.I.P. Arlo, you will be missed

This was where he was outside when I couldn't reach him! Directly in the middle behind the giant tree.             

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Glass is NOT a good snack

I went in for my normal afternoon dog visit to my favorite Great Danes and saw that they had torn the living room apart (no more than usual) Pillows and blankets were all over the floor amongst the toys and chew treats. I saw something shiny rolled in a blanket and fished it out.  It was a glass nightlight.
They were intentionally chewing on glass the little stinkers!  Now granted, they are 100+ lb dogs, and this teeny amount would probably pass, but it still made me nervous.  Just in case I called Mike to bring over some bread for them.  In case you were unaware, when a dog eats something sharp like this, feed them bread. It cushions it as it passes through.  He runs it over and I give them each a big piece because I wasn't sure who did the eating.  They were excited and took the bread, but didn't know what to do with it.  There were guilty faces and confused looks.  I had to break it up into pieces to get them to understand that it was food.  These two dogs!  They keep me on my toes!

Big BIG box

Sometimes while an owner is away - you get last minute, urgent requests.  Today I got a call from a client who is away for the week.  He told me that Fedex just sent him a message stating that they left a large box on his step.  He asked if I could run over and bring it inside.  This is no problem at all!  I bring packages in all the time and I wasn't far.   I arrived on his street to see this :

That's a huge box!  I get closer and see that Fedex screwed anyone getting in or out of the house
They left it there completely preventing the door from opening.  I had to maneuver it enough to open the screen door to open the main door and then slide it in because it was HEAVY (and about as tall as I am) 
Finally got it inside and had to lay it down in his living room while the cat gazed upon me with such confusion.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Expect the Unexpected

I started my day at the vet.  I have a cat who had a partial urinary blockage a week ago and I have been closely monitoring him since.  He was showing signs of pain again and after a few bouts of peeing on shirts in the past 24 hours, I thought it best to recheck him and make sure he didn't re-block.  This was in-between visits this morning.  I got him back home and headed right out again.

Fast forward to 4 dogs later.  I go into the house and see mail ripped up.  Not normal, but not unusual.  Then I see plastic chewed up and an unraveled roll of poop bags.  Ok.... then I see a VERY jittery and hyper dog.  Hmm.... then I walk into the kitchen and see MANY silver wrappers that are all torn up.  Damn!!  I quickly figure out that they are chocolate protein bars and call the owner.  No answer.  This dog is looking at me like he is going to jump out of his skin from sugar overload.  I call again, no answer.  I am then contemplating just taking him over to the vet to induce vomiting, but I hate doing that without the owners permission.  I search the bathrooms for hydrogen peroxide so that I can induce vomiting on their deck.  I don't see any!  The owner then calls me back, confirms that there were at least 5 protein bars in the box that he ate, and we agree that I will take him to the vet and she will meet me.

I clean everything up - throw a leash on him, and fly out the door with the box that the bars came in (the box was untouched, sneaky bastard) We get to the vet, we go in a room, and they look up the ingredients in these bars that could potentially be harmful.  I hate walking in there, but as a former employee they at least know that I wouldn't do it if it weren't emergent. All the while, he is giving me cute guilty looks

They take him back to give him apomorphine (a little pill that you put in the eye that dissolves and induces vomiting) and see what came up.  At that point I went to leave and the owner came in to talk to the doctor.  By the time I finished 2 dogs I received a text from her that he threw up all of the protein bars and they sent him home!  Hooray!  Crisis averted !  Always expect the unexpected in this line of work.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Long hours in deep freeze

I honestly think that I am losing my mind from lack of  "me" time.  On the verge of madness!  Lets start with the concept of waking up on a Saturday at 6am just like any other day and seeing that the temperature is 16 degrees and the wind chill is -2 degrees.  It is a SLIGHTLY slower day, but still super cold for trekking around. I took a last minute dog situation (they forgot to get a hold of me ahead of time, but they are good regular clients, so of course I said yes) which made for 3 morning dog walks in the cold cold cold city.  That is not to mention the 5 cat visits.  At the last cat which is only a block from my house, I could not get the bottom lock to work.  I stood outside gloveless for 15 minutes trying to get into this house and could NOT get the lock to turn.  I had to knock on the neighbors door who I knew had a set of keys and she got in with her set (Thank god! She is my hero of the day!)  I get in and there is poop all over the kitchen (which is no big deal to clean), they eat,  I got to the litter, I scoop,  and I smack my head on the pipe in the basement when I stood up from the litterbox.  At that very moment, I gave up.  I was seriously considering going on vacation next week.  I was planning on running away to Florida and not telling anyone.   I'm tired and cold and frustrated.  That being said, I must take control of this " business gone mad" and set up policies, take on another person for help, and enforce the word "No" when necessary.

If anyone needs me, I shall be icing my head.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Their dog was your dog???

What a random series of events this afternoon!  I went to get my nails done at a place closer to my house - very spur of the moment.  I had a rare hour to kill and had been trying to get my nails done since before Thanksgiving.  I walked into this strange place where I didn't know anyone, hoping that someone was free.  The nail technician and I got to talking about what I do and she starts telling me about her 2 dogs.  She has to Shiba Inus.  She then said that she used to have a golden retriever, but had to surrender him to the shelter when he was 7 months old because he was eating her house.  My ears perked up - this sounded WAY too familiar.  She told me when this happened, which shelter,  and more about the puppy. I immediately knew the truth - I have her old dog as a client! She couldn't believe it!  (Neither could I!)  What a small world, but so nice that she knows the dog is happy and in a wonderful home.  She and her children were devastated when they gave this dog up.  She showed me baby pictures of him and then I showed her adult pictures of him!

It is so great to see him as a puppy!  I have known him since he was about 8 months, but not a baby. What a cutie - I'd know that face anywhere!  

Seems that I was supposed to go there today and get my nails done to meet this woman!  The universe works in mysterious ways!