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Monday, December 26, 2016

Lifestyles of the Rude and Entitled

I was working in a fancy highrise one morning and I was riding the elevator down to to lobby.  The elevator stopped after a few floors and a woman and the cutest little dog walked in.  The dog came right up to me and she told me that that dog doesn't like many people.  As more people got on the elevator, the dog his behind me for safety.  The owner and I got to talking and she asked for my card.  Excellent.  

About a month or so later, I receive a call from this woman asking me about dog sitting.  When she called, I was already out working so I asked her to please email me all of the information (the dates, what times she needs visits, etc) and that I would get back to her later when I got home.  This was about 8:30/9 am when she called.  I skimmed the email a bit later and realized that I had some questions for her, but didn't want to call until I was home and didn't have a dog in my hand. 
This was the email:

Good morning Debbie,

We will be away for an overnight next weekend and would like you to check on Esther while we are away.
I shall feed her and walk her the morning of the 10th, so if you could:

Walk her around 2-3:00 and feed her on the 10th
Walk her around 9-10 at night on the 10th

Walk and feed her 7-30-8:00 on the 11th.

We should be back for her afternoon walk.

Please let me know if this works for you. Then we can discuss details.

Thank you,

 I got home at my usual time, about 3 pm and I had just enough time to eat something, sit down, and take a deep breath.  Then my phone rings and it's her. Perfect timing!  I say, "Hello!  How are you?"  Her reply was, "This is (insert her name here)."  And I say, "Yes, I know. I have it saved in my phone, how are you?"  She replies in the coldest, most annoyed, snarky tone I have ever heard, "Were you going to respond to me?"  

I was taken aback!  I told her that I had just gotten home not too long ago and I was planning on calling her in a little bit.  She said, "Well, I called you early this morning."  And I said, "Yes, and I told you that I was out working and that I would call you when I got home.  I just got home."  She replied by saying how she didn't expect me to be out so long!!  (Um... I WAS WORKING ALL DAY !)  I I told her that there were potentially a few problems with her request.  One was that I had already sent out an email that I was taking off from the 7th to the 10th and she wouldn't have known that because she is not on my email list.  She immediately dismissed me.  Then I said, for the future, the other was that I do not do visits past 7pm because I allot myself 12 hour days.   I was trying to ask if we could switch the time around and she gets literally angry and haughtily says, "Well no!  She NEEDS to go out late at night so I guess that's it isn't it?!"  Again, taken aback.  I don't even know this woman and she is already angry at me for not being able to accommodate her every need.  I was about to offer her a referral for someone that I know that does do late night walks, but she essentially hung up on me.  I was angry, but I let it go for the night.

The next day I rethought it and realized that it was completely uncalled for and I didn't even get to finish my sentence!  So I sent her an email that said this:

Hello there. I'm sorry to disappoint you with my lack of availability for this particular trip, but you hung up before I could get a few things out.  

#1  It is tough to find a dog walker to come for walks after 8 pm, but I could put the word out to try to help you find one. We all normally work 12 hour days as it is and there has to be a cut off somewhere.  I personally am in bed by 10 as I am up at 6 everyday.

#2 You must allow at least 24 hours for someone to get back to you regarding pet sitting/dog walking.  Things come up that are unexpected and days are long.  I was not ignoring you, I literally did not have the time to sit down and reply to an email until 6pm last night.

#3 I have a lot of family from ******** with the last name *******, might we be related?

She replied almost right away to this (which I was not expecting) and it was pretty bad!

Got someone to sit. She called
Me back in 2 hours and she is available for the times I needed.  No issues. 
I don't have time to listen to excuses. I need a service, you can't provide it so I was done. I need to work with Serious business people no matter what their product or service. I have been around a little
Longer than you and have a decent understanding of dependability and availability. It is time for me to move on. 
Btw you wrote this email in a much more timely manner than you returned my call. 

Let's just move on. 

Sigh.....  I replied and just told her that I was trying to keep it cordial since I do business in her building and we would inevitably run into eachother again on the elevator. Told her to have a great weekend and called it a day.  I later found out that she is just as awful to her other neighbors in the building as well as the staff.  Do I feel a bit better about that?  Not really....  
If I can't accommodate someone, I will always try to give them another option.  When they insult me and my business because I didn't have time to get back to her until after my workday, well, that's just below the belt.  I am one person.  I do not have a secretary to schedule my life.  I know I lucked out by not having her as a client (Thank you universe), but  I hate to know that there is someone like this treating people terribly for no reason.  Literally, no reason.  

Monday, December 5, 2016

Charlie Waffles: Squirrel Extraordinaire

I haven't had time to write as much, but I wanted to write about Charlie Waffles a few months ago.  I figured that it would be an uplifting change from the "man hits dog" post.  There must always be a balance.  Here is the story of Charlie Waffles:

I was in the car with Terry headed down 3rd st to walk a dog.  I got out of the car, crossed the street, and when I hit the sidewalk in front of the dogs house, I saw a small furry gray ball by a car wheel.  I bent down and picked up a small cold and stunned little 7 week old squirrel.  The nextdoor neighbor was outside and kindly offered me a small towel to wrap him in and a piece of her Eggo waffle which he readily ate.  Now I had a squirrel and had still had to walk the dog.  The first rule of baby squirrels is "keep them warm and hydrated."  Luckily Terry squirrel sat in the car and my client had some pedialyte that I could use to hydrate the little guy.  After the dog went back home, we took the squirrel back to my house to give him a hot water bottle and some fleece to cuddle in while I finished my day.

I was hoping that he was just stunned and needed a little warmth and food and that when I returned home he would be raring to go out be a squirrel.  When I first checked on him in the house she was going NUTS in the carrier that I had him in.  He was biting at the door (and my finger) trying to get out.  My immediate thought was, "YAY!  He was just stunned and now he can run and go be free!!"  I optimistically took him out on my 2nd floor deck and opened the carrier door.  I expected him to bolt and climb down the side of my house.  Instead, he timidly walked out and jumped in my lap and them climbed on my shoulder.  (Damn!) From then on, he was my little buddy and I had to deal with the fact that I could only keep him for so long.  He stayed with us for a week and after taking him out on the deck every day, he was getting more and more bold.  He wasn't the best eater, so every morning he got a piece of waffle with peanut butter and jelly (hey, it WAS a nut) and he would eat baby food.  He enjoyed his carbs, but I knew that he needed to be a real squirrel with squirrel friends.

There was no reason for him to stay (no major injury, nothing to stop him from fulfilling his squirrely duties).  He was very attached to me and I was attached to him.  He didn't care for any other human really, he was my guy.  That just made it even more difficult to take him to the wildlife rehab and hand him over to strangers.  Instead of being Charlie Waffles, he became Gray Squirrel 3599.  I did call and check up on him a few times and he was acclimating quite well.  I secretly hope that he will find me one day in the world and jump on my shoulder so that I know it's him.  I know that I did what was best for him, but it was still tough! I'm happy that I got to play "mom" for a week to him and have a sweet bond.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Do NOT Hit Your Dog In Front Me - Trust Me

After 2 full days of pouring rain, I was so happy to walk dogs on a dry and brisk morning.  I had 2 dogs with me in the neighborhood and we were crossing the street.  I saw a man walking a large pitbull towards us who saw us and smiled and seemed excited.  Given that I had an older pit and a puppy in my hands, I just let them cross the street and we backed up.  It seemed that the owner was not happy with the dog being happy ( I can only assume) and as soon as he passed us he flattened the dog to the ground and raised his hand and hit her hard in the head. She did NOTHING wrong.  Even if the dog did do something wrong, there is no excuse for hitting.  But this was pure abuse just for the sake of control.

My immediate reaction was to say, "Hey!! There is NO need to hit your dog!"  That was met with (kids cover your ears) "Mind your own fucking business! I'll do what the fuck I want! Mind your fucking business. I'll get my brother to come and get you! Don't fucking follow me!."  He had some more things to say, I was struggling for my phone, he was daring me to call the police, etc.  I followed at a distance to his destination and I called 911.  I gave a description of the man, the dog, and an address.  (Mind you I still had 2 dogs with me) I then got cut off from 911 - it just hung up.

I walked the dogs home, got them settled, and then headed to my next dog. While walking, I called the 3rd District to see if they were indeed sending someone out, considering we got disconnected.  They told me that they don't dispatch from there and that I have to call 911 again to check.  Sigh.  So I called - no answer.  I called again, it disconnected me with no answer.  I called AGAIN and after 10 rings a 911 operator picked up (Appalling!!!). I explained the situation and she asked if I was at the location that I called about.  I told her no.  She said that the police needed to speak with me in person before they go find him!!  I told her that no one told me to do this and her reply was, "Well that's unfortunate."  I told her where I was and she said that she would send a car out to me and that I should wait for them.  I waited 45 minutes.  No one showed up.  I had to get to the next dog, so I left and just looked for an officer on the way. I didn't find one until 17th and Pine.  He told me that I needed to file a report in person and call the SPCA.  The SPCA needs an address of the dog, I don't have that. I had what I thought was an address, but it seems that he was just "doing some business behind a gate"

So, people of Queen Village. Keep an eye out for him.  I saw him at 6th and Carpenter headed to 5th.  Tall white male, thin. Approx 65 yrs old. Longish gray/blondish hair.  Female pitbull, long torso, light brindle, large nipples as if she had a litter not long ago.  Please keep an eye out for him and and see if the dog is ok.  She does not deserve to live like this.

Yes,I know what everyone is going to say:
Be Safe
Be Careful
You don't know what he will do
Don't Engage

I get it, I am aware. But I cannot watch a dog get abused in front of me and just walk away.  I can't.  Hopefully someone knows him and can get the dog into a safer place.  I have to do whatever is in my power for the safety of the dog.

Update 12/4/16

Got an address with help of neighbors/clients/friends (GO TEAM DOG SAFETY!)
Filed a report with the police and the SPCA animal cruelty. Spoke to the officer and he will be having a chat with the owner (who btw has 3 dogs) on disciplining dogs by way of hitting.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Rest In Peace Sweet Bugsy

It's never easy when an animal client dies, but it always affects me a little differently. Some have passed in front of me on an emergency basis.  Some have passed and I found out months later. Some I have played "hospice nurse" to and knew that it was their time.  Each of them have had a place in my heart, whether I knew them for months or years, but the cat that passed today held a very special place in my heart.

Twelve years ago a good friend and co-worker of mine at another animal hospital took his own life.  To this day I have not gotten over it, nor will I ever.  For those of you who believe in the afterlife, he has come to visit me quite a few times over the years.  He has also visited our other co workers (they can attest to it).  After he passed, everything was a whirlwind of sadness and organization.  He was also a pet sitter and we had to take over his clients.  Twelve years ago I started pet sitting for Bugsy who he had already been watching for a few years.  Today Bugsy lost his battle with cancer.  My old co-corker and I were the only 2 people to ever pet sit for Bugsy and I always held that close.  It was my last real connection to him.  His owner and I became like family and he was such a special cat to me for all of these reasons.

He was always a "hefty cat" topping off at about 26 lbs.  It was tough to lift him, but he would always sit on the couch with me and watch TV.  He loved food, yelling at the closet, drinking out of everything except for his water bowl, and playing hide and seek behind the coffee table.  He was the apple of his moms eye - very bonded and very close. She hated to leave him alone in the house but felt better knowing that I was taking care of him.  He lived a long and mostly healthy life until his 15th year when he was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and then cancer.  He was being treated with chemo and steroids but he wasn't responding.  I spent the last few weeks shoving pills in his mouth and then force feeding him twice a day because he wouldn't eat on his own.  I kept hoping that it would just be temporary and it would give him the boost that he needed to respond to the medication.  Unfortunately it only prolonged his life so that he could spend a little more time with us.  He was visibly declining yesterday and would barely take the food I was giving him.  I knew then that he had given up and his mom agreed.  In the past 24 hours his back legs were giving out on him, he was becoming uncomfortable, and he just wanted to sleep.  It was time and we all dreaded this day.  I said my goodbyes last night because I just knew that today was the day.  I intermittently cried all day, as did his mom.  We both did everything in our power to keep him with us and comfortable.

After 12 years with a cat that was not my own, he really felt like part of my cat family.  I have cried for other clients passing, but this felt like I had lost one of my own.  My own emotions surprised me and I have been in mourning all day. He will be greatly missed, but I know that he is no longer in pain and in cat heaven looking down on us.  Here are some pictures from throughout the years.....

I love you Bugsy. !2 years was not enough for me.  I will miss you.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

No, my dog is NOT trying to eat your daughter!

Just another lovely afternoon in Washington Square Park. I am walking my buddy Finn (pictured here)
And we are trying to do our "frolic through the park while doing our bathroom business" ritual.  We got halfway around the park and he decided that he wanted to switch directions. We turn around and I see a young father jogging the path of the park with his 3 daughters (I am assuming) . Their ages I guess ranged from 6-10 yrs old (again, I am assuming)  The first 2 youngest were right by his side but the last girl was lagging behind a bit.  Just as she decided to pick up the pace was right when she was passing me and Finn. He got SO excited when she ran by that he put on a huge smile and started jumping, trying to join her!  (He LOVES to run)  She looks to her left and immediately starts screaming bloody murder for literally about 20 seconds. Screaming at the top of her lungs repeatedly for 20 seconds! (really count to 20 to see how long that is) Meanwhile the whole park turns around to look at us!  It appeared as though the dog attacked her or I tried to kidnap her.  It was a "stranger danger" type of scream. Her dad was a good 200 feet away and I'm just standing here yelling, "He just got excited and wanted to run with you! He wasn't doing anything!!"  Far be it from the dad to run back over and see why the girl was screaming incessantly or talk to me. This dog wouldn't hurt a fly, he loves love and people. At that point Finn was so confused at what just happened that I decided to walk the opposite direction from the runners.  

We took the grass past a few benches and passed a group of about 8 Middle Eastern women and a baby that seemed to be feeding the squirrels and birds while they chatted.  We walked behind them just trying to get through the park when I felt something peg me in the head. I was hit in the back of the head with a cracker!  I rubbed my head and turned around and one horrified woman was looking at me and in a thick accent says, "Ooh, sorry!"  I asked, "Did you just throw a cracker at my head?" She looked uncomfortable and didn't answer, I doubt she understood a word I said. At that point, it was just safer for us to go back inside. Sometimes the park is just too much to deal with. It is a sad statement to make, but it is so very true.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Fired Before Hired and Bashed to My Husband

Oh boy, are you people in for a crazy story!  A few weeks ago I was walking a dog in in neighborhood and Terry came to pick me up. There are assigned parking spots and she was in someones spot, so she moved. The woman was apparently very chatty.  I walk by and get bombarded by this same woman because she wanted to pet the dog that I was walking. (Of course she did, he's adorable)  She starts chatting with me and it ends up being a 45 minute discussion where she told me her current medical status, her trials and tribulations with training her own dog, her daughters history, her recent relationship history... you get the idea.  Mind you, Terry is waiting in the car and the poor dog that I have is so hot!  The reason that I couldn't cut her off is because she informed me of a serious diagnosis and seemed scared.  I wanted to be an ear, because that's just what I do.  She then told me how she was looking for a personal trainer.  I recommended my husband, she seemed thrilled and called me an angel.  I thought she was a little nutty, but seemed sweet enough....

In the next few weeks she and my husband were in contact about training and spoke AT LENGTH about the best course of action for her.  There were many texts, phone calls, emails, etc. She told him that she wanted my contact info so that I could help her walk the dog post-op.  I was willing if I could fit it in my schedule.  Within the month, she never told me what she needed, she postponed her surgery, and I kept running into her when I would walk this other dog that lived across the street.  She would call me over and interrupt the walk and tell me about her broken car, her broken phone, etc.  She would call me and talk about everything except how many walks she needed from me when she was home from the hospital.  I learned of her broken couch, how her day went, her ex and his behavior, the dog and his pulling, but never what she needed.

This past week she was supposed to have an assessment with my husband in person for personal training. She was trying to get me to come that morning to learn how to walk the dog.  I kept telling her that I have walked every type of dog (people aggressive, dog aggressive, pullers, large dogs, etc)  She insisted hers was different and I had to watch how her daughter walked him. I told her that I wasn't going to have time that week, but she seemed like she ignored that statement.  A few days before her training assessment, she sent me a text that said, "My phone is up Debbie!"
Then the conversation went like this:

Me: "Ooh! Hooray! I still don't really have time to be able to come over this week.  If I can find a pocket I will definitely let you know, but my schedule is just super crazy.  As far as post surgery are you thinking you would need me once a day or more than that? Just not sure exactly what the expectations were and if I should potentially refer you to someone else that might have a little more time in their schedule."

Her:  "2x a day if not 3 depending on my daughter (and some personal info about her schedule that  I will keep private)   Ugh...   I saw nugget tonight with his owner. He is so darn adorable.

Me:  "I don't think there's any way that I would be able to do that, I have to be honest.  I would love to be able to, but I am already going to have 25-30 visits a day and there is no way that I can add 2-3 more dog walks onto that"

Her: "Xmas present for (daughter). For Sure"

Me: "Yes, he is the cutest (dog breed) ever :)"

Her: "I agree.  So sad. Ok.  Need to regroup. May not include your husband. Let him know. Nite guys."

Me: "Ok, I"m sorry."

Her: "Ok. So many resources in the city"

Me: "I can refer you to some other walkers if you want.  I was jut under the impression that you were going to need me maybe once a day to really get him out and other than that he can just go in out back."

Her:  "Tell (husband) Thurs may not happen.  I have calls tomorrow.  Good luck guys. No Thx you. "

Me: "Thank you, you too

Her: "Let (husband) know Thurs a NO go."

Me: "I will"

Her: "Thx again"

So I was a bit put off. She is not using him as a personal trainer because I can't walk her dog 3x a day? Ok... I now realize the crazy has appeared. We are 2 separate people with 2 separate businesses.  I called him to tell him and he was not surprised. To tell you the truth, we were both a bit relieved. My issue was that she would see me almost daily for a week and she never told me what she needed from me. But she had no problem telling me about her broken couch.   I chalked it all up to something that never should have happened in the first place and THEN she started texting my husband!
 This was how she started it:

Her: "(Husband), I cannot work with you. Your wife is non-flex. We need different scenarios. Best."

Him: "Hi (potential client name). I'm sorry to hear that.  Deb's schedule is very full and sometimes she can't fit in as many new requests as she'd like. If I may ask, why does this mean we can't train together? Our businesses are completely separate."

Her: "Frankly your wife acts like she can't be bothered. No thank you!!!!  Was going to add my daughter."

Him: She is the most accommodating person I've ever known.  Just because she can't fit your schedule doesn't mean she is blowing you off.  She always offers referrals if she can't do it."

Her: "I cannot have a serious trainer for either of us.  Her response, terrible. My phone off."

Him: "I'm just wondering why Deb's unavailability has turned this into you and I not being able to train?"

No response

Him again: "Well, from your response, I'd say we wouldn't work out anyway.  Deb is in high demand for a reason. Just because she's booked, there's no need for tantrums. Good luck."

After I read this, we both immediately blocked her from our phones. Seems our empathy got the best of us, but somehow the universe made it all work out for the best.  I don't wish her harm and I hope that her health improves, but I also hope that I never have to speak to her again. This was a huge waste of time for both me and my husband and next time I will make it a point to confirm needs off the bat.  For all I know she could have had a pretend conversation with me where she already told me and that's why she got upset when I said know.  Oddly enough, when I met her she had a friend of mine booked to walk her dog and just blew her off for 3 weeks.

Since this turn of events I have learned a few things about her from neighbors and I consider us extremely lucky to have narrowly avoided working for her.  It's a new one, double firing before we were actually hired.  I still shake my head in disbelief.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Church Cemetery and a Flutist

Last week I was walking my normal dog through the normal old cemetery at St. Peters and I saw a man playing the flute on one of the benches.I thought to myself, "This is nice, I never get dog walking background music."  Then we passed by him and he changed the song for my dog that I had. She immediately was smiling and entranced.  He was a nice man, told me how he lived in NY and was a professional musician.  Then another dog came up to us who was barking incessantly.  The lovely flutist starting playing a song to calm that dog down and it worked! We all stood around, he took a few requests.... it was delightful.  Could have stayed there all afternoon.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Rules?? There are no rules for tough guy construction workers!

I am pet sitting for 2 different clients who are neighbors in a new development.  Half of the development is still under construction which not only makes things incredibly difficult for the people already living there, but for me as well.

There was a major leak from a pipe in the basement of one of the houses.  They were repairing it for days (days).  I was told that there was a clog in the big pipe underground next to her house and they were having trouble unclogging it.  I was there 4x/day for almost a week and kept an eye on the progress.  The dog that I walk over there has a spinal deformity so I am extremely protective of him with bigger dogs, big steps, etc.

One afternoon  I saw that one of the construction workers had his dog with him (A wheaten terrier), no leash.  The dog was by his side and not moving so I left it alone.  The next day I was there to walk the dog around 7:30 a.m. and he was there again.  I didn't know the dog was with him until he came bounding up to us in the parking lot (off leash) and startled the hell out of my clients dog.  I picked my dog up and started yelling, "Who's dog is this??!!"  The one guy starts calling for the dog to come back to him, but the dog is not listening.  He is running all over the development at top speed, peeing on peoples houses, etc.  I brought my dog inside, came back out and told him that this was an accident waiting to happen.  As I was talking to him, he started to ignore me and stare at the work he was doing in the big hole that he dug.  I finally got his attention and said that he can't have his dog running loose around there. There are tons of dogs in that development and it's not safe, plus Delaware Ave is about 100 ft away! His reply, "Oh, he's pretty good. He always comes to work with me."

I Shook my head and went to take care of the cat. Twenty minutes later I headed out to the next dog and at the end of the development I see a woman frantic on the phone.  She had his dog closed in the small dog park area that is for the development.  I heard her calling animal control and his cell. I went up to her, interrupted her call and told her that it was the dog of the stupid construction worker. She was livid! She had been chasing the dog down to save him and was late for work because of his irresponsibility. She called him on his cell again (which was on the collar) and said that she had his dog in the park area. She told him how she was scared that the dog was going to run into the street and get hit by a car.  He sauntered on down and saw us and rolled his eyes, just telling us that his dog is fine.  Obviously he had no idea where the poor dog even was, how could he be fine. How could he focus on a giant hole in the ground AND his dog running free next to a highway?  I told her to call the HOA people for the development.

 I started walking to my next job and couldn't get this out of my head, so I texted both of my clients that lived there and got the # for their property manager. It was only 8:15 a.m. and the office didn't open until 9.   I had no choice so I called the police first and tried to get this dog out of harms way. This is endangerment of the life of an animal and a bit of neglect.  Not only is there a leash law, but I highly doubt that it is legal to bring a dog to a job site like this.  Then I waited until 9 and called the property manager to try to get them to put a stop to this. THEY hired the guy, I'm sure they did not want the liability of having a strange dog running around their property that is under construction.  Then my client called the property manager after I did.

I don't know what the outcome was, but I did not see the dog after that.  I hope he was home and safe and not meandering around the city by himself.  It is frightening how irresponsible people can be with their dogs!   It also amazes me that the 10 other workers with him had NOTHING to say to him regarding this.  Just kept their mouths shut and looked down.  When you keep your mouth shut and stare at the ground, nothing will ever change.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

YELP Wars - Kindness Wars - Humanity Questioned

I had a pretty bad experience at the front desk of a particular building for the past 3 days.  I wanted to mention it to the management office of that building, but I wanted to call them directly (not go through the front desk)  I tried to google their phone number, but I could not find it.  What I DID find was a leasing company that works with that building.  They are called TCS Management.  In fact, they were the first to pop up on my Google search when I googled the apartment building.  Common sense says that since they work with that building and leasing, they would have the number to the management office.  I called them.  I was treated like crap.  I wrote a yelp review. The owner sent me a message, again, treating me like crap.  Here is the sequence of events should you be interested.

TCS Management

1.0 star rating

I called this morning to ask if the had a phone number for the management office of apartment building where I do some work.  They rent out properties in that building, so I assumed that they would have the phone number to the management office. (I couldn't find it online and did not want to speak to the front desk)  The first guy that I spoke with told me that he didn't know the number, that they don't work with that building, put me on hold, and then came back to keep repeating that they deal with renting properties and cannot help me.  When I responded, he hung up on me.  Then I called right back to say, "Hey, maybe you shouldn't hang up on people that are just trying to get a phone number of a property that you work with."  The other guy that answered the phone called me "Buddy"   (I am a 35 yr old woman) and basically hung up on me again.  I own my own business and when someone calls me to ask a question, I am completely respectful to them, even if I cannot help them.  These people are awful and rude for no reason.

I get a response from the OWNER almost immediately. This is his reply :
Debbie, I appreciate your quest.  However, we are real estate agency  and brokers. Unfortunately we are not Google.
Your rant is sheepish, you are complaining that you want our staff to work for you to get a phone number for another business and give you a specific individuals number in a company we have no relationship with. Furthermore, when we googled a number for you, you refused to go through that firms switch board or and I quote their  front desk. 
Welcome to Earth.
Wow! This was from the OWNER OF THE BUSINESS!   His one employee hung up on me for asking for a phone number that I assumed they had.  Then when I called back to say, "Hey, I just called to ask you some help.  There is no need to hang up on me when I am just asking if you have a phone number." , his other employee says, "Yeah, we're a leasing office.  Good luck with that Buddy!"   Treated me like I was a lunatic calling to ask them why the sky was blue!  No apology, nothing.  Owner of the business ALSO treated me like shit for asking if they had a phone number to a building that they work with.  
My final reply was this:
Once again,  your professionalism is just outstanding.  I wasn't asking you to be Google, I was asking you for a phone number of a building that you do business with.  If you can't help me,  you say, "I'm sorry, we cannot help you. " As a professional business, you do not hang up on a person who is not being rude and you do not call them "buddy". Way to go,  you are even more awful than I originally thought.

Here is my point.  If someone that worked for me treated someone like that, I would apologize profusely! Publicly! What has become of people that they can't just treat other humans with respect?  This is a disgrace and I can only say that if you are thinking about using these people, think again. They don't deserve the business if the owner himself cannot treat a person with the same respect and dignity that he would expect. 

Update***  Later in the evening he went on my business page and gave me a 1 star review (although he has never done business with me, or even had a conversation with me about my business)  I reported him and blocked him.  THEN he goes BACK on Yelp and under my review writes "Likewise". An hour later he erases that and writes, "Just remove your post and I will follow suit. If you do not, I will act accordingly..."  Then a short while after that he erases it.  Can we say toddler tantrum??  Honestly, all he had to respond with either privately or publicly was, "I'm sorry that my employee hung up on you and treated you like that for asking a question. That is unacceptable."  Instead he tells me that they are not google and "welcome to earth."  He will not win with the threats, toddlers cannot always have their way.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Sights and Sounds of Philadelphia - the explicit version

Philadelphia is a CRAZY city full of CRAZY people.  I am out walking the streets all day long, so I come across more things on a daily basis than most people see in a month.  I just want to share some things that I have seen and dealt with recently.

Today in a center city highrise I was standing at the front desk waiting for an apartment key.  There are 2 sets of automatic doors that open to enter the building.  A priest and his assistant walked in about 5 minutes after me and the priest says, "Wow! I feel like Moses with these doors just opening for me!"

Carpenter street has Mr. Magoo that watches his new car that is parked in his own handicapped spot in front of his house. He and his wife chain smoke all day at the front door to make sure no one touches it.

10th St has the lady who does not want dog pee on her tree or plants, so she covers them with chicken wire.  It is an ugly disaster, but it keeps the dogs away.... 

8th st has the guy that comes out of his house if you park in front of it and your tire is touching the curb.  He had to repair the curb once before (and he did an AWFUL job) so now he comes out of his house immediately to make you move your tire.

Washington Square Park has had its share of grown men urinating in the plant beds at around 5pm right in front of me.  Three separate urinators in a 24 hr period.  No shame.

My previous posts on "The Bitch of Bella Vista" was on the news because she pissed off the wrong person and he left dog poo at her door.  See link to video below.  She wants to shoot him.


Thursday on 10th St there was a man on a bike that stopped to finish his can of soda and then throw it on the ground.  He started to take off and I yelled, "Did you just throw that can on the ground?" and he replied, "Yeah! Fuck you!"  (I assume you can imagine how the rest of our conversation went) But it ended up with ME picking the can up and putting it in a recycling bin that was 10 ft away from where he was stopped. 

The man on Mildred that barks at the 2 dogs that we walk, but then gets put off when they lunge at him. (Um... don't bark at 2 big dogs on the street) Then he proceeds to tell us how mean and aggressive they are when they bark at him through the window.  We constantly tell him that they are just protecting their home... that's what dogs do....   He will never get it.

The barber shop on 8th st that lets his dog run free off leash all over the neighborhood and bark at other dogs. (really a sweet dog, but not well controlled)

The park that is redone and has a "human only area" but then the little humans are allowed to infiltrate the dog area without adult supervision. Not only is it full of urine and feces, these parents let their kids wander up to strange dogs without intervening.  (I literally had to point and yell, "Who belongs to this child?? These dogs are not kid friendly."

The highrise elevators where the residents are either really friendly or really cold. The more money they have, the less they want to acknowledge the "dogwalker"  You never know what you will get - it's a crap shoot every time. 

The dog park where you are walking up with a big dog and you see a 3 year old boy climbing the gated door to the dog park while his mom gets something from the car. Then he starts trying to punch the dog that is walking by him, like a professional boxer. Like punch punch punch punching the air next to the dog saying, "I'm gonna punch you dog. I'm gonna punch you." And the mom says, "Don't do that. It got teeth. It'll bite you." And then he proceeds to fight her on her argument. That's it - that's all he was told.  That dog owner was horrified, as was I.  

This is just a bit of what my day to day life is around these crazy parts.  Be sure that there are more stories to come.

Monday, June 6, 2016

I live like a servant and it is my own damn fault

Summer is here!  Well, nearly... but it is vacation season and beach season! Well.... for everyone else.  This is the time of year when I reevaluate my life.  How many hours do I work? Why haven't I taken an actual vacation since 2011? Am I charging enough for my services (when I am walking around in 100 degree weather, barely able to breathe)?  Should I take summers off since I don't handle the heat well?  Do I take on too much? Do I deserve to have an actual life that does not involve work? Am I offending people by saying no?

These questions run through my brain all day everyday. People say that your job does not define you.  Well, in my case it does.  I kind of live and breathe animals.  I wake up to 4 cats in the bed, I feed the brood every morning, and then I leave the house at 7:30 a.m. to walk and feed other animals until about 3pm where I come and take care of my animals again. I rest a bit, and then go back out to take care of other peoples animals.  Then I come home to clean up after my own.  Sometimes along the way I find stray kittens that I have to bring home to save. (Yes, this happened 2 weeks ago)

I have sacrificed a social life as well as my free time for the past 6 years. Don't get me wrong, I was always a workaholic. The difference was that when I worked for a company, they forced me to use vacation days.  Boy do I miss that!  I try to please everyone and say yes when they need me.  It's nice to feel needed, but it sucks to feel the pressure of feeling SO needed that my own life suffers.

I used to stay overnight with dogs all the time.  When I was in my early 20's and lived in a crappy apartment with no cable and no washer/dryer, staying in an adult setup was a pleasure!  Now I am married with my own house, cable, and appliances and I just want my own bed!  I will do overnights from time to time, but when I do them I don't sleep very well and my cats go a little nutty.  It is a lucrative service that is needed often, but it just became extremely tough.

My business has grown and it has gotten to a point where I need to turn people down.  Not because I want to, but because there is literally not enough time in the day to accommodate everyone. I've had people beg, offer me a towncar with a driver, offer me double me rate, guilt trip me, and for what?  I have been doing this for 15 years at this point.  Two weeks ago I actually had a newer client request 2 walks one day.  When I got back to her about doing the walks, she said, "Oh!  I saw that you just rescued 2 kittens. It seems like you have a lot on your plate, so I got other coverage."  I was shocked and grateful and honestly a little teary because it made me realize that I can't remember anyone ever saying this to me before. In 15 years!

I take on last minute requests.  I help people out who are having emergent situations.  My phone goes off from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. I try to do whatever I can to make my clients happy and to make them realize how much I really do care about them as well as their pets.  My entire day is filled with texts and emails asking, "Can you...? Will you... Are you available...? Can you? Can you ? Can you? "  It is extremely overwhelming and sometimes I just shut down and I do not answer until the next day.  Some people get concerned if they don't hear back within a few hours.  I need at least 24 hours to be able to respond.

As I turned 35 this year, I realized that my own life has been put aside for work.  I am taking a stand this year and making doctors appointments, taking beach days, and basically just giving myself a moment to breathe. Instead of filling every waking moment with work and catering to others, I am giving myself a cutoff time in the day where I will not do any more visits.  It is nothing personal to anyone.  If I say no, it is not because I hate you or because I am blowing you off.  I am just one person and I can only do so much in a 24 hour period. If I don't set limits for myself, I will just work until I crash.

So for those of you reading this that care, these are things that you can do to maintain your good relationship with your pet sitter/dog walker:

1)  Plan ahead!  Nothing worse than last minute trips you feel like you have to fit into your busy schedule

2) Have back up sitters!  I won't ALWAYS be available. Back ups are a must

3) When I tell you that I am unavailable do not beg or try to bribe me into doing what you want.  We sitters have to have personal lives as well.

4) Do not text about business after 9pm unless it is emergent.  I have already worked for 12+ hours and I do not want to think about scheduling work all evening as well

5) Make sure to be respectful and appreciative of your sitter and not treat them like hired help that doesn't deserve a life of their own.  We are in the service business, but we are not your slaves.

6) Treat us like adults. We are not 16 year old girls walking dogs after school. This is our livelihood, and although it is exhausting, we love it.

7) Always ask if we are available to do something.  Do not just assume and say, "I need you to come tomorrow at 5 and Sunday and 4."

Remember. You trust us with your house, your keys, and your 4 legged kids.  We hold that trust close to our hearts and we protect your house and keys and 4 legged kids.  We lock your doors, turn on your alarms, deal with the police when the alarm unexpectedly goes off, and we make sure your animals are safe and healthy.  It is as though you are all family to us. Your fur kids are our fur kids too. We just want to feel like we are appreciated. The old saying is really true.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Guardian of the Grass

Picture it:  It is 7 am on a Sunday morning and I am walking the dog that I just slept with for 3 days.  She woke me up at 6 and after trying to sleep for a little bit longer, I gave her breakfast and medicine and we headed out the door.  This morning I also had another dog to get to around 7:30 as well as a diabetic cat over 12 blocks away.  Instead of going our usual route up to 4th and Washington, I  decided to change it up and walk down Queen.  She peed a few times and we were passing Mario Lanza Park where she likes to roll around in the grass. ( only dog that I walk that stops mid walk to plop down in the grass and roll around)

Before I go any further, let's keep in mind that this dog has a dog park on one side and then "dog free" grass.  Why is it dog free?  Can they not sit down in it ? Can they just not use it as a bathroom?  It says it is a family friendly area, but I have seen families bring their dog with them to sit in the grass and picnic. I also passed by 2 piles of poop in said "family friendly dog free area".

Anyway, it's 7 am on a Sunday and I am just trying to get her to do her business and enjoy her outside time.  She walks over to the edge of the grass next to the bench where there is pretty much just dirt and leaves and she poops.  As a am standing there with poop bag on my hand waiting for her to finish, someone comes out of their house across the street with a dog to tell me that they really like to keep that area "dog free."  At 7am. On a Sunday.

She is going on about how the grass dies and how they seed and it's backbreaking work.... yada yada.  I am literally on the edge of the grass PICKING UP THE POOP and looking at her as though she is crazy.  I told her that I understand (which is true), but I am not IN the grass. And that she likes to roll around, it's her thing.  Why wouldn't that be allowed in a park?  They have fenced the area to seed it in the winter, I have seen it.  I know it's costly and a big pain, but here is the issue that I see.  This is a PUBLIC park.  The park is in the middle of a neighborhood with hundreds if not thousands of dogs.  Grass is scarce in the city - this park has 2 areas of grass.  Even if you walk a dog by the park, they say to themselves, "LOOK! IT'S GRASS!!"  The only way to even attempt to keep the hundreds of dogs off this grass is to build a fence around it. Even then, people would still feel entitled to put their dogs in the fenced area.  There is no such thing as a "dog free area" in this city, no matter how many people want to think that there is.  Trying to keep an area "dog free" is pretty much the equivalent saying that Philly restaurants are "child free zones." It is crazy and it's not gonna happen.  If you put a bench out, someone will sit on it.  If you have grass, a dog will pee on it.  That's just how it is. People bring their dogs ANYWHERE they want, regardless of signs, manners, or even laws.

I have seen people bring dogs into fenced in playgrounds with kids on Fitzwater between 9th and 10th.
I have also seen people put their dogs in the tiny fenced area on Bainbridge between 3rd and 4th.  They literally took the space to plant flowers down the strip between parked cars and people plop their dogs in there

People don't care, they will bring their dogs anywhere. And in a park with no fence that so many dogs walk through on a daily basis? Come on Queen Village Neighbors Association.  It's nice to think that you can keep the grass dog free, but you can't.  I understand where you are coming from completely, but it is a futile effort.   Especially when the 3 other neighborhood parks are closed and being renovated.  And you know what?  Public parks not only have dogs wanting to use them as a bathroom, but they have neighborhood cats and human beings that use parks as bathrooms when no one is around.  Trust me, I have seen it all.  There is human as much human pee on city surfaces as there is dog and cat pee.  And to have someone come out to talk to me about it at 7am on a Sunday when I am picking up poop on the edge of the grass is just ridiculous.  How about going after those who are leaving poop piles everywhere?  Or those who insist on walking their dogs off leash through the park?  Choose your battles QVNA people, I'm not the one that is causing any kind of trouble in this neighborhood.  I am all about the safety and cleanliness of the streets.  Watch out for those people that are actually breaking a law before you confront them on a Sunday morning at 7am and scold them for doing their job and obeying the law.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

First Impressions = Client Blind Dates

I always do meet and greets with new clients before working for them.  It is the nature of the business.  It starts with a phone call, a text, or an email.  We go over the basics, then we set a "date."   I usually try to meet people in the morning so that I am fairly fresh and don't smell like I have just walked 16 dogs. Sometimes I walk in there looking fresh and awake, possibly even dressed nicely.  Sometimes I walk in with drool and animal hair all over me after having worked a full day looking a bit haggard.

After doing this for 15 years and I have pretty much seen everything.  New meetings can usually go 1 of 3 ways.

Number 1:  The client knows EXACTLY what they want to tell you and they go into so much detail that you are there for at least an hour.   Don't get me wrong, I want to know as much as possible, but I don't always need to watch them show me all the different ways that they play with their cat (unless it's something really cool!)

Number 2: The clients welcome me into their home and silently stare at me until I ask all the questions.  I get it, they may have never done this before and they don't really know what to do.  I have to take charge and get all of the information that I need and hope that they are more comfortable than they appear.

Number 3:  The clients that are extremely prepared with notes and a key.  They give me a quick overview and I am outta there in 10-15 minutes.

I am perpetually early, which means that usually I have to wait for them if they are not home yet.  I have waited for up to 30 minutes for new clients to show up.  I have seen disastrous houses that clients don't mention.  I have seen impeccably clean houses that clients call disastrous.   I had a client greet me at the door with a large amount of cocaine all over his nostril.  I have been given full house tours and I have been given the quick kitchen/basement tour.  Some people have gone on a dog walk WITH me off the bat, some have handed me a key and I never heard from them again.

Depending on what time of day I come, the animals might feel differently about me as well.  If I come at the end of my day and smell like 20 different dogs, cats tend to hiss and run away.  Dogs are either engrossed or wary.  If I come first thing in the morning and I smell like my house and soap, I get entirely different reactions.

People are very very different in how they deal with certain situations.  Every new client meeting is an adventure and I never know what to expect.  I just always hope that a good story comes out of it.