December 22, 2009


I’m not very good at sharing. Gretchen says that it’s something I need to work on and today I got a lesson. She calls it a generosity lesson and she could think of no better time than this season of generosity to give it.

I was a rather unwillingly student at first, but then this whole cascade of goodness happened today and I got majorly humbled.

But I’ll get to that in a moment. First, this was our day — a full plate of generosity.

It started with Ollie who sprung his way off his porch, down the stairs, and into Gretchen’s arms (and my face) first thing this morning. Ollie has a generous spirit and is perhaps the most appreciative dog we walk. Not that the others aren’t, it’s just that Ollie exudes his generosity from the first step of our walk to the last.

Our walk this morning took us to Frink Park as we made our way down to the lake and up through the tunnel. Ollie likes the park, but I LOVE the park because I run around like a crazy man. Ollie wanders and sniffs. I romp and get wild!

As we walked through the woods (well, I ran and romped), Ollie pondered the deeper meaning of his life of pious generosity.

The weather, just as it did the other day, got colder as we walked and winter peeked through the trees where Ollie and I joined calm forces and posed for Gretchen’s camera.

We made our way back to our house, where I was left behind to eat my breakfast while Gretchen walked Ollie back to his house. She tells me that the whole time he kept dancing and singing, “Thank you for my fun today. Oh thank you, thank you, thank you!” See, he’s a very generous guy.

Gretchen then made her way down to Saber’s house who was a tad bit disappointed that Gretchen didn’t bring along any canine friends. But she made it up to him by finding two little friends at the tennis courts — two very generous friends who agreed to share the courts with the rambunctious Saber!

Gretchen was supposed to remember the names of these new friends, but she’s not quite certain. One was definitely named Parker and the other she thinks was Bosco, but she could be making that part up. Sorry to the parent of the two brothers. They were really cute, she says, but she’s getting too old to remember names for too long (or so she says!)

Eventually the two new friends had to go home so Saber was left to play with Gretchen, which he appears to have enjoyed…

…and then they went for a walk where Saber was generous enough to pose for Gretchen’s camera!

Next up was Rosie. She’s been in a particularly festive mood these days according to Gretchen — spinning happy Gretchen calls it. They leashed up and headed up towards Frink Park themselves, but then walked along the ridge instead.

Gretchen was really worried she’d messed up her new camera because she couldn’t get it to focus for the longest time. Rosie, who is not one to enjoy waiting, was phenomenally patient while Gretchen fiddled and eventually figured out her mistake. Just in time to snap these adorable photos!

If you notice the drool…that’s because Gretchen was bribing Rosie to be patient and she was doing her best waiting to receive the treats Gretchen had in her pocket. Of course, Gretchen gave them out generously as they made their way home!

It was time for lunch AND time for Gretchen to come get me! I waited patiently for her to finish her lunch and then we headed over to the boys’ house next door. When Gretchen opens that door, the boys are most generous with their affection, flinging themselves at us like we’re glasses of water in the desert.

They love their walks, too, and after a good hike around the neighborhood, we too ended up at the tennis courts where Perrito tangled with a blackberry vine and Oshi tried to figure out how to climb into the backpack for the ride home!

We dropped Oshi and Perrito back off at their warm house (Oshi was thrilled) and then headed over to get Saber. We arrived to find Saber excited to see us (well, me mostly) and a nice gift on the counter. When Gretchen let me open the wrapping paper and I found a new toy, I could hardly wait to get over to the courts for play time!

Only I got a little greedy and wouldn’t let Saber play with me…

This is when I got a lesson in generosity. Gretchen made me lie down and wait while she played with Saber using MY NEW TOY!

The whole time they played, Gretchen lectured me about sharing. She said: “We have the best job in the world, Rubin. We get to play with dogs all day long. The families of these dogs have trusted us to exercise their beloveds and make certain they are safe and well cared for. Not only that,” she went on, “But this is the time of the year when we must remember how important generosity is. These families have given us really nice thank you cards and gifts for our hard work. That’s where this toy came from. It’s really important that we share our good fortune with everyone we know. That means, little man, that you must share your new toy with patience and grace and when we get back home, you need to write into your blog a big, heartfelt thank you to everyone who trusts us with this dogs!”

Wow! That was quite a message and on our way home, I really thought about what she said. She’s right, of course. I should be grateful. I get to spend time with some amazing new friends and play the day away. Gretchen does, too and even though I don’t walk all the dogs all the time, I know that we have some of the best dog walking clients on the planet.

So thank you, from the bottom of my puppy heart. Thank you for trusting us, for letting us play with your sweet pups, and for all the generosity you’ve shown us throughout the year. While we’ll be taking the next days off to celebrate with our family, please know that all of you are in our thoughts. We wish you the happiest of holidays and want you to know how deeply we appreciate YOU and YOUR DOGS in our lives.

Until next week,


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