This Is Hard Work, People!
When people find out I’m a dog dog walker their first reaction is usually, “That must be fun for you, buddy?” only they aren’t looking at me. They’re looking at Gretchen as if she’s doing all the work here.
Well, I have news for you. She’s not.
Sure, she puts in 4-10 miles a day of walking and has to handle all the leashes, the camera, and the messy business, but I’m the one who has to walk beside a dog who only wants to pull on my ears or another one who can think of nothing better than to slam her bottom against me again and again.
And I’m the one who must play with our clients whether I want to or not.
Take today for an example. First up, Wilson. He’s 9 months old (approximately), about 70 pounds of uncontrolled puppyness, and obsessed with having something in his mouth at all times. If Gretchen doesn’t give him a ball, he goes for his leash. If he can’t get his leash, he goes for mine. And if he can’t get my leash, he goes for my head. Yes, he can carry my head in his mouth if Gretchen ever let him. Thankfully, she doesn’t. Still, playing with Wilson is a lot of work.
Luckily, the constant bumping of the walk to the lake ended once Wilson saw the water. That boy loves the water as much as he loves the ball and once unleashed, he climbs right in and waits for a ball to be thrown.
I’m a bit more hesitant. Something about the shock of that cold water hitting my belly slows me down a bit, but once I’m in, I’m in and can hold my own in the play department.
It was a perfect morning for a swim. The day was already warm, but not as warm as it is now and so no one was at the beach. Gretchen threw the ball again and again and we chased after it and swam back in with abandon…
We even tried to imitate the Canada geese as they swam by…now that’s hard work, don’t ya think?
Of course, the swimming wasn’t the half of my work. We had to take Wilson back home and once that boy is out of the water, he’s a wild one. He slams into me again and again as we make our way back up the hill and through the tunnel and the only way Gretchen can calm him down is to give him a ball. He carries it proudly, but he’s not super good at holding onto it, so she limits when he can have the ball. For instance, no intersections. You can imagine why.
Wilson was tired once we got home. He flopped himself down in front of the fan, while Gretchen reset the alarm and we headed out the door. He held the orange ball in his mouth and mumbled a goodbye.
I was tired, too, so Gretchen took me home before she retrieved Gemma. They went for a short walk, but it was so warm by then, she brought Gemma by to see me. Now while Wilson is work, Gemma is labor intensive. As a terrier, she never gives up. NEVER. Unlike Wilson, you can’t distract her with a ball or a swim. She wants ME and so, as a business owner, I must submit.
We started our play time with a game of tug. Gemma likes tug and while I usually struggle with sharing my tug toy, I was a very good boy today. But remember, Gemma is a “never” kind of dog — she never gives up, in other words, so the battle for the tug toy is just that, a battle.
And let me tell you, we can work that battle for all it’s worth!
Eventually, believe it or not, Gemma got tired.
Don’t think a tired Gemma is any less work.
She has this habit of using her bottom to invite me to play. She backs into me again and again. Even when I’m trying to rest in the shade, she wiggles her behind against me, thumping me so hard I leave my feet.
Oh, and don’t forget that devilish look on her face. “Come on,” she says, “I’m not tired. Let’s keep playing!”
And so we wrestle. Not as strenuous as tug or chase, but trust me, it can wear a dog out to wrestle with Gemma!
Gemma got really tired after that and wandered over to the swimming pool where I like to cool off as well, but Gemma was so hot and tired, she hogged the whole thing.
I finally got a breather!
Sure, there were only two dogs today, but as you can see, every moment I earn my keep. Thankfully, I can rest now until later this afternoon when I head out for agility class. Now that’s fun!
Okay, my work is fun, too. But it is work, people, so remember that next time you see me on the street and stop to tell me how much fun I’m having!