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Category Archives: Monty

April 30, 2016


Okay, so we sold the business. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. One day I’m employed andIMG_3535 the next day I’m not. Snap of the fingers and POOF! No job. No work. My career ended.

I was bitter at first. I mean, I didn’t really have a choice in the matter. Sure, I’d heard Gretchen talking about it for years — her feet hurt, her body was tired, she wanted to focus more on massage, swim and acupressure therapies — but she never followed through with the selling. Literally, for years she talked about it but it all just seemed like talk. No action.

And then BAM! I’m unemployed, one wag short of being on the dole. A welfare doodle.

IMG_3676Uncertain of what to do with myself, I was thrown into the world of nursing when both Gretchen and Momma Ann came down sick with the flu and then Gretchen’s flu turned to bronchitis or perhaps walking pnemonia. I mean a really really bad bout of illness. Flat on their backs kind of sick with lots of coughing and congestion and requests for me to relax.

I am not a good nurse.

I am a good dog walker. IMG_3682

But I am not a good nurse.

Dezi is much better at it than me because frankly, in my book, dog nurses are only required to show up and be quiet. Once they accomplish that, not much more is asked of them. Dezi does that really well. In fact, Dezi loves doing that.

Me? Not so much.

IMG_3529I mean, think about it? One day I’m walking 6 dogs during the day, racking up the miles and then the next day, asked to lie on the couch and be quiet.

No, I did not handle it well.

Then my sick moms decided to take a break and head IMG_6059over the mountains to see if dry Eastern Washington air and some quiet cabin time would cure their ills. To me this was the most glorious idea in the entire world not because we’d be resting on the couch all day, but because I could be off leash and roaming the woods while my moms soaked up the warm, dry air and IMG_3539Dezi continued his role as nurse.

It was two days of bliss.

Then reality hit when we got home.

I am unemployed.

Luckily for me, my unemployment didn’t last too long. We picked up my best girl friend on Monday morning, sweet Woobie, and then another girlfriend on IMG_3558Wednesday, equally sweet Roxanne and I was back in business. Okay, it’s not the same as dog walking every day with all sorts of different dogs, but it was still a job and if there’s anything I’ve learned in my days as an unemployed dog, it’s that I need a job.

I need a job because it makes me feel worthwhile. It makes me feel useful and special and as if I am contributing something useful to the world. I need a job to wear me out, to keep my brain limber and my joints oiled. I need a job so I don’t feel like a freeloader, to pay IMG_3581for my expensive but nutritious food, my chiropractic sessions (and Dezi’s acupuncture treatments), and for all the silly things my moms buy us — expensive treats, outrageous sweaters (for Dezi), and fancy collars that match our color schemes.

And I need a job so I’m not a brat. Yes, I’ll admit it. Without exercise and purpose, I am a brat. I bark too much, I demand even more, and drive my moms crazy wanting them to throw the ball or play tug or chase me around the yard.

I need to be exhausted at the end of the day otherwise I worry myself (and all those around me) silly. I need to sleep soundly dreaming of all the hard work I’ve accomplished during the week. I need to work so hard I need a vacation every now and again and that, my friends, requires employment. IMG_3695

I’ve thought about putting an ad in the paper — Dog for Hire — or on Craig’s List or even going door to door to see if there’s some work I can do for our neighbors. Gretchen won’t let me go out unattended and every time I’m on the computer (like now) she has to supervise.

Still, I try to convince her that a working dog is better than a non-working dog or maybe I should say a working Rubin is better than a not working Rubin, but she has this silly idea in her head that I’m going to get used to my new role.

More time with her, she says.

More time exploring new places, she says.

More family outings, she says.

More time to relax, she says.IMG_6274

Be patient, she says. You’ll see, she says. Life will be good, she says.

Whatever. After one week of unemployment, I am so over it!!!

Find me a new job, I tell her.

Find me a new purpose, I insist.

Or beware…I will find it for myself.


All my protestations don’t seem to be making a difference.

I am still unemployed and befuddled as to how to rectify my current situation.

IMG_3544I’ve even consulted Dezi and being of a Zen mind and spirit, he hasn’t been that much help either.

Take a nap is his advice. Breathe, he says. Stop and smell the flowers. Slow down and enjoy the little things in life — like the couch, the sun on the back porch, the added snack in your bowl, an early bed time, a vigorous scratch on your bottom. Live in the moment.

I know Dezi is wise beyond his years, but it’s hard for me to take his advice.

And that’s probably the most troubling part about being unemployed. It’s hard work. Harder than walking 10 miles in a day. Harder than being drenched by an unexpected rain storm or blown off course by 50 mile gusts of wind. It’s harder than tolerating IMG_3625puppies pulling at my ears or getting my leash tangled with four other dogs as we march up yet another long hill.

And just when I thought I was going to die from boredom we started dog walking again. Ok, not full time, just fill in when Eileen (who bought the business and now calls it Paws with Wonder) needed help. We didn’t do a lot of work or a lot of walking, but for me, it was pure bliss.

I could do this, I thought. I could do dog walking part time, but Gretchen told me not to get too used to it because it wouldn’t be a consistent thing. There wasn’t a lot of time in the new schedule to do part-time dog walking work.

Still, those few days of dog walking kept me from pulling my tail off my body, my ears from my head…and it gave me pause to realize that I was spending more time with Gretchen and not working so hard was easier on my body too and it left time for me to do things with IMG_3704my moms that I never had time for…like going to the cabin, like taking long walks on lonely trials just with them without being bothered by other dogs, without my moms attention split between me and 4 other dogs.

I hate to admit it, but perhaps being unemployed isn’t a bad future. I mean, I’m no longer a spring chicken and the couch is really comfortable, especially if there’s the warm fuzzy blanket on the couch, especially if my moms are lying their with me. I suppose, if I really tried, I could get used to this.

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October 10, 2015

IMG_2221Healing vs Heeling

Our lives are changing around here. As we enter our 8th year of dog walking, there’s a definite shift in the air. Triple Dog Pet Services has contracted with three other dog walkers, which is great because we don’t have to walk 12 dogs in a day on our own, and as we move away from doing all the dog walking, we are also shifting our focus. Well, Gretchen is shifting her focus, which means that Dezi and I are shifting as well. I know Dezi is fine with this since he couldn’t walk 12 dogs in a day like I could (being that he’s 14 year old now), but I’m still adjusting to the changes. True, I’m going to be 9 years old soon (how did that IMG_2292happen?) so not working so hard is probably a good thing, but still I like to work so I’m trying to find new ways to be a helping, working dog.

We still walk some dogs, like Woobie and Bella and Monty (some of the original gang) and now some of the new gang — Charley, Mr. Brown, Gus, and Mabel (the newer gang), but most of Gretchen’s focus is on massage, acupressure, and swim therapy and as much as I like receiving those therapies, I can’t really help with IMG_2243them.I guess you could say we’re moving from “heeling” to “healing.” My role is  shifting too because now I get to tell a whole different set of stories– the stories about the dogs (and cats!) who are receiving acupressure, massage, and swim therapy through Triple Dog Pet Services.

Today I’d like to focus on one dog in particular — a dog I have not met, but really hope to meet someday. Her name is Sarah and as you can see, she is absolutely beautiful (see why I want to meet her?).


Sarah is an 8 1/2 year old Rottweiler mix. Gretchen and I think she’s mixed with a Swiss Mountain Dog, but there’s no real way to tell. As Sarah got older, she developed an occasional limp so her loving and devoted Dad took her to the vet to x-ray her back and rear legs. The x-ray not only captured what the vet requested — back and rear legs — but the radiograph caught a bit of Sarah’s left humerus (that long leg bone in front). While the radiologist reported early signs of arthritis in the back and hips (not IMG_2340unexpected given her age), he also spotted something else on the small slice of humerus captured in the x-ray and alerted the vet to take a closer look.

Unfortunately, osteosarcoma was detected (bone cancer) in Sarah’s left leg so she was  quickly scheduled for surgery and her left front leg was amputated to the shoulder. Unfortunate as the diagnosis was, the “luck” of catching it so early gives Sarah a great chance to overcome this horrible cancer. If the radiograph had just covered the areas the vet had requested, the cancer would have spread quickly and Sarah’s chance of survival would have been very very poor.

But now Sarah receives chemotherapy and the doctor is extremely optimistic that the cancer has not spread. Osteosarcoma is very aggressive and extremely painful, so catching it this early is a blessing.

Gretchen first met Sarah shortly after her diagnosis through another client (they live in the same IMG_2343building downtown). After Sarah had the amputation surgery and her first round of chemo (and once the incision had healed), Sarah’s Dad set up a massage sessions because he wanted to provide Sarah with the best start to her new three-legged life. As you can imagine, it’s hard enough losing a limb, but to lose a front leg on such a large dog, well, it’s even more strenuous on the body.

But shortly after her surgery, Sarah was moving around beautifully albeit throwing most of her weight to the right side of her body (w/out the front left limb it was the only way she could balance herself and get around). Still, it was a lot to get used to and Sarah, although very athletic, tired quickly with her new “gait.” Her muscles tighten up as well and so her guardian thought massage would be a great way to relieve the stress in those overworked muscles.

IMG_2226For many dogs, massage is a new concept. They’re not used to strangers coming to their door, sitting down with them, and rubbing them all over so generally, even the most social dog is a bit uncertain. Sarah was no different, but once she realized what massage was all about (about 10 minutes into the session), she was loving it!!

Four-legged Sarah was very active and athletic. She went on lots of walks, played fetch, and enjoyed walking to work with her Dad and helping him at his office. Three-legged Sarah was much more limited plus the chemotherapy treatments really wiped her out. To keep Sarah strong and limber as well as helping Sarah strengthen her depleted and chemo-zapped immune system, Gretchen recommended two additional therapies — swim therapy and acupressure.

Swim therapy is a great way for Sarah to get much needed cardiovascular exercise and it offers her a non-weight bearing workout that does not over-stress her already overstressed musculoskeletal IMG_2228system — her muscles, joints, and bones. Under the wonderful guidance of the fine therapists at Splash Dog Spa, Sarah took to swimming like a champ and now swims weekly to help her build strength and stamina, something she’s not really able to do with just walking. In the pool, Sarah can use her body like a four-legged dog with no need to compensate for the missing limb. With a life vest on, she swims as straight as can be and the exercise not only provides her with a great workout, it helps her stay mentally happy as well!

Acupressure is a great way to help maintain a healthy body as well and in Sarah’s case, her depleted and depleting immune system (zapped from the chemotherapy) needed as much support as it could get. During the massage session, Gretchen is able to support Sarah’s immune system by stimulating specific acupressure points or acupoints. While Sarah enjoys the massage session, she loves the acupressure most of all, usually falling asleep during the point work.

Sarah’s guardian is providing Sarah with the best care possible from the finest veterinarians in the oncology field to a variety of different modalities, like massage and acupressure. Our paws are all crossed that Sarah can beat this cancer diagnosis and I know everyone involved in her care, is honored to be working with her!

And yes, we are honored to be working with all our dog walking clients too!



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