My day starts with the best of intentions, but as soon as my husband leaves for work, my own two dogs jump on the bed and set their mind to squeezing me off – so 10 minutes later, by which point only my body and an arm remain in the bed, I admit defeat and get up!
I feed the dogs, feed myself, walk the dogs and look at my diary to plan the day ahead. Most dog walkers will tell you that they spend the same amount of time looking at the diary as they do actually walking the dogs!
My day is split up with group walks and solo walks; the solos are simple, uncomplicated and peaceful, affording us some one-on-one time with the dogs. My group walks are more tricky, planning who can be walked with who!
Looking out the window, I can it’s going to be a cold and brisk yet dry day – I do a secret fist pump as wellies and waterproofs will not be needed! A selection of thermal layers later and I’m finally leaving the house. My two dogs are waiting for me at the front door – after I get their leads on they have a competition to see who can get out the door, across the drive and into the car the fastest!
I am greeted by my first clients with a sweet cuddle from the older dog, and a trail of debris from the younger dog. Cleaning up what was once the post, I notice the remnants of a post office calling card-eek! Desperately trying to piece together the fragments, I can just make out that it has been left with a neighbour – unfortunately, the part of the card with the house number of the neighbour seems to be in my client’s stomach! I text the poor owner with the feeling of dread and inform them that they are going to have to go door to door if they want to retrieve their package!
We have a lovely walk in the park, nice and quiet and the dogs are being very responsive and interactive today – I do my 2nd secret fist pump!
On to the second client; this apartment dog has the personality of the Tasmanian devil. Now let me tell you about apartments – very dodgy territory for a dog walker! Not only is it not our natural habitat, it seems to be full of people who are very keen to chat – at length – every day…! So, the trick is to sneak! Walk quickly and quietly, and whatever you do – no eye contact! Collecting the client, we have a little game of play in the hall.
Unfortunately the lonely neighbour must have a glass to the wall today as he is waiting for me at the lift; he’s not going anywhere, just taking the lift with me so he can have a chat. My Tasmanian devil is as keen on the neighbour as me though, so I only half heartedly admonish him for barking! ‘Taz’ is a stick thief so being quick as lightning he steals a stick five minutes into the walk and keeps tight hold of it the whole way.
Sneaking back into the apartment block, I’m stopped by a different neighbour who asks me in for coffee and a chat about dogs, thankfully Taz barks him away for me! Another secret fist pump and a hi-five Taz for his great work!
Next, the bouncy walk: a Boxer who has lost the capability to keep his feet on the ground; the Labrador who has an unhealthy obsession with pigeons, and a cream Labradoodle who can detect mud from half a mile away. I’m greeted at the door by the Labrador with a cuddle that resembles as shark breaching out of water, and she manages to lick my eyeball.
Before I can react, I notice that the handsome postman is looking at me; in a desperate struggle to compose myself, I look up, and give him my best calm, confident, self-assured smile. Unfortunately, by this point, I have tears streaming down my face and I am doing this weird winking thing at him as my eye is desperately trying to get rid of the dog slobber. Handsome postman makes a hasty retreat.
This is a mud-based walk, so all the dogs decide to have a little lie down and rest in the nearest peat bog! A quick hose down outside home before I pop them back in the house – unfortunately, I manage to hose myself down as well – should have worn waterproofs!!
At this point, I’m absolutely starving. It’s time for lunch, so I reach for my sandwich in the kick panel only to realise my chicken salad sandwich has either learned to unwrap itself or one of the dogs has had a snack. I look at my own dogs who are looking rather sheepish; and I can’t work out whether the Labrador looks pleased with herself or if she’s just happy…so chewing gum and a can of diet coke for lunch then!
Next we have the ‘newly single’ man with the rare breed dog, and as I’m trying to get the key in the door, this sweet dog is jumping at the door trying to get to me. When I finally manage to get the front door open, I am greeted by the owner wearing nothing but a tea towel, chatting away as if everything is normal.
Now, I have a choice; do I push past him to get the dog’s lead, or do I wait for him to pass me the lead and risk the tea towel dropping? I choose neither. Knowing I have a lead in the car, I grab the dog’s collar and run! Wimpish behaviour, but what’s a girl to do?
As we are walking, we see clouds forming and that deep sense of regret creeps in. Not only are my abandoned layers in the car, but my waterproofs are at home! If I was smarter, I would have put my waterproofs in the car – this is England, after all.
We are now on the home stretch, and I’m starting to think about the admin I have in store for me when I get home and what to cook for dinner – this is usually the part of the day when the wheels start to fall off!
I am cold now that the temperature has dropped. During the next little pack walk, I manage to get caught in a ball crossfire, get bitten on the finger and stand in dog poo. Furthermore, a dog vomits in the car, the rain starts pouring down, and to top it all off, I have a poo bag breakage and end up with the contents all over my fingers!
Back in the car, I desperately look for tissues, towels, wipes, anything – but by the time I have completed my fruitless search, it doesn’t matter because I now have a wet pooey car! My own dogs give me a look of disdain from the boot.
Finally, I have a solo walk, so I drop my dogs back at home – they look relieved to be out of the aforementioned pooey wet car! I am greeted at the door by a pair of rubber PVC knickers hanging out of this dog’s mouth – I use a poo bag to prise them out of his growling mouth and leave them by the front door whilst trying and failing to keep that mental image out of my head.
At this point, I’m feeling nauseous – I really should have tried to eat the other side other side of the sandwich which hadn’t been nibbled; plus I’m fairly sure my skin is starting to turn blue as my wet clothes get colder and colder.
While walking, I wonder if I should mention our Dog Walking Club to Ms. PVC knickers and Mr. Newly Single – now there is a match that would give cupid a run for his money!
Home at last! I undress in the hall to spare my carpet, but the postman appears so I drop to my knees and crawl into the kitchen until he has gone – why is my own postman in his 70’s? Not fair!
I shower and change, just in time for my husband to get home and say “Isn’t dinner ready yet? What have you been doing all day, how hard can it be to walk a few dogs?”
Doggy Dash is a professional dog walking and pet care service, that operates in Runcorn, Widnes, Warrington and Wirral. Despite the hilarious mishaps described in this post, Amy from Doggy Dash says “The dogs and owners make our days full of fun and happiness and endlessly entertaining – it’s not often someone can say that they love their job – but we do – every minute of it!”
*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the clients!