September 14, 2009

How do you know when

a new camera

you’re going a good


We’re working hard these days. Really hard. At 7:15 this morning, Gretchen got me into the car and we drove up to the mountains where we went for a nice little hike before we met up with her students at a ropes course. 7:15 is an early start to work and it got me to thinking — What do I use to measure the quality of my work? Punctuality? The number of clients in a day? The early start or late ending of any given work day? How many cookies I get before, during, and after I work? How do I know I’m doing good work?

hikingWhen the camera broke last week (though it wasn’t really broken, it just needed a new battery), there wasn’t even a photographic log of the work we did on any give day. In fact, on Friday, I didn’t post on this blog because I was at a loss of how to measure the quality of the day without pictures to look back on.

Gretchen, of course, bought a new camera, and she’s been a pest about it ever since, snapping photos all the time just to see the quality of different settings. I suppose that’s one way to know what kind of job you’re doing — overdo something and see how it looks/feels, but frankly, I’m too busy to overdo my work so I must find other measuring sticks.

So today, I paid close attention to our work, one walk at a time. After we got back from the mountains, Gretchen dropped me off at the house for a rest. Hmmmm, that makes me wonder. Is resting really working? I’ll have to think about that. Regardless, Gretchen worked and first up were Rosie and Tyson.


They were very happy to see her, she reports leaping up and dancing around the moment she stepped into the house. And then, on the walk, they were very patient with her as she practiced with her new camera to take some much needed photographs of the sibling boxers. When I looked at the photos this afternoon, I realized that there is a wonderful measuring stick right there in those dogs’ eyes. They’re happy, aren’t they? I think that is one way I know we’re doing a good job! It’s in the eyes…and tongue!


rosie's tonguetyson's eyes

As you can see (or so we hope) this camera takes some pretty detailed photographs. Gretchen’s still learning all the features, but luckily she had lots of opportunities to practice and play! Oh, and some very patient dogs!


After their walk, Gretchen dropped off Rosie and Tyson at their house and then walked back home to get Quillette. Since Q-girl is living with us for a few more weeks, she’s shared in the weight and responsibility of our business. Quillette is finicky about who she wants to walk, but luckily, she loves walking with Oshi and Perrito. They headed through the neighborhood to the park where they all posed for Gretchen’s new camera.


I know we’re doing a good job when we go to pick up Oshi and Perrito. They jump all over us and wait patiently while we attach their leashes. Then they race out the door and pee on the first thing they find. Peeing happily is a perfect measure of the work I do and these boys can produce some serious volumes of pee!


Quillette likes to pee, too, but I know she’s thanking me for the work I do and appreciates the quality of my efforts because she sings. Yes, sings. Whenever we see her, she throws back her head in a soulful song, gives me a kiss on my muzzle, and continues singing our praises. Speaking of soulful — look at those eyes!

Gretchen and Quillette returned after they dropped off the boys and then it was my turn to get back at it. Quillette got to rest and I got to go with Gretchen to pick up Bella. This, my friends, is where I really earn my keep. Bella LOVES me and is thrilled to the floppy ears when we come to get her.  She did really well today greeting me more nicely, which means I only had to scold her twice before she stopped jumping on me. While some dogs’ gratitude (like Rosie and Tyson’s) is more subtle, Bella’s is effusive. She can hardly contain her enthusiasm and thanks for the entire hour we are with her. And when we end up, after a long walk, at our house for a romp, she exudes appreciation.

romping thankspounce

pounce backover the back

Gretchen’s still learning about how to take good photographs when we’re on the move so Bella offered lots of practice as she’s ALWAYS on the move!


Well, until I pin her down and we cuddle up and snarfle together. That’s when I know she really likes the job I do!


So here I am, all day long thinking, how do I know when I’m doing a good job and what should happen next? We drop Bella off at home, walk down the block to pick up Saber, and there on the kitchen island is a card from Saber’s parents. What kind of card? It’s a thank you card! Wow, how cool! How very, very cool. It’s like all day long I’m fixated on “Am I doing a good job?” and at the end of the day, I get a card telling me (oh and Gretchen, too) how much they appreciate us. Wow. Super Wow! I felt pretty special (still does) so when we walked over to the tennis courts to play with Saber, I was on my best behavior teaching Saber how to chase, leap, fetch and chew on sticks!

my ballchase

stick chewingfetching

leapingtrying to leap

Saber’s a quick learner. He watches everything I do and then imitates me. He also likes to stalk me, but I was in such a happy mood, I didn’t care!


Saber was pretty happy too!

happy eyeshappy squint

So, when I really looked for it, when I really thought about it, there are so many ways in a day that I could us as a measure of the job I’m doing. And in the end, I think I measure up pretty well!

Good thing Gretchen has a new camera to keep track of it all!

Until tomorrow,


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