Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Gassy Dog Walker

A defenseless child is involved in this post so names have been changed ...

I recently accommodated a new, last-minute client because on a rare fluke I had a slow weekend. Admittedly, I'm a little out of practice with consultations because I have very little room for newbies right now. But, what the heck, this was an easy one: refill the water, automatic feeder, scoop the litter, pet the friendly cat. Done.

Some of you, dear readers, may have gathered from my blog roll that I follow a plant-based diet. This can sometimes lead to umm ... gastrointestinal happenings. I knew I was taking a big risk, but dang it I was hungry and ate a serving of veggie loaded white bean salad before the consult. It was delicious! It was also a digestive minefield of kale, raw onions, and beans ... I know it was wrong but I ate it.

I arrived at the consult, planning to be in and out in a few minutes. It turns out the client's son with two pretentious name, Jeffrey Thomas, had been waiting all day to meet me. He was the most adorable little 4 year old boy, and I don't even like kids so that's saying something. We all sat on the couch for a while as I pet the cat and assured Jeffrey Thomas that I would feed, love, and play with the cat while he was away.

Then the time came to show me where the food was kept. I stood up and slowly a little something slipped out. It was the silent but deadly variety and I tried to get us all to pick up the pace into the kitchen.

Well, the client noticed. She sniffed the air and said, "Do you smell that? Something doesn't smell too good."

"Oh,"I replied, "my nose is immune to smells by now, being a pet sitter and all," trying desperately to laugh it off.

Sniff sniff. "Jeffrey Thomas!" she exclaimed in a stage whisper. "Did you toot?"

My face was bright red and I silently willed Jeffrey Thomas to fess up.

"No Mama! I would tell you if I had!" What a good boy ...

"Perhaps I stepped in something and didn't notice." I suggested, inspecting my shoes.

"No," she said. "We had a problem recently with a mouse trying to get into our dryer from outside. It died and I constantly smell it. I hope another one hasn't tried the same thing. I'll never get over that smell. Anyway ..."

The consult continued. I got the client. I don't know if they'll call me back again!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Knotty Dog Walker ... Naughty Neighbors

My worst nightmare is getting a pet sitting date or time wrong. It happens. I walk in on people and we scare the living daylights out of each other. They may be coming out of the shower, unpacking their suitcases, or otherwise unguarded. Although that is preferable to missing a scheduled pet sit, I take every precaution possible to prevent such incidents from happening.

Imagine my surprise when my clients appeared to have come home early from their trip to Napa. And as far as I could tell, had dipped in to their souvenirs ...

I wouldn't put such behavior past this particular client, especially since they were celebrating a 50th birthday. But here I was in an eerily silent house wondering, "Are they passed out drunk in one of the bedrooms? Clearly they're in the middle of something ... do I sneak out quietly or scoop the litter?" My heart was pounding and I had no idea what to do.

My mind started to race, and I decided to quickly and quietly take care of the cats and then get the hell out of there. When I went to the garage to toss the litter, I saw a note from the neighbor ...

Oh. My. God! There was a party? No! The dog walker always gets blamed first. Am I the only one with a key? How could this happen? Does insurance cover it? Who was it? The neighborhood kids? The contractors?

I took another look in the back yard. A closer look, now that I knew they weren't home... 

Wait, is that a Ravens scarecrow? They're Steelers fans. WAIT! Is that underwear in the tree? Waaaaiiit ... here comes someone to take a picture of their handiwork.

Nice one guys. The neighbors played a practical joke on my client and I was the unintended victim. Play all you want, but keep the dog walker informed. Or, enjoy playing a joke on two victims instead of one!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

How to Handle a Bite

After five years of dog walking, I got my first on-the-job bite as detailed in my last post. That was a huge lesson for me to learn, so here I'd like to share my newfound wisdom. If it prevents one person from being hurt, and one dog from being misunderstood, then that's good enough for me:

Before the Bite:

  1. If you work with animals, be sure to be up to date on your tetanus shot, once every ten years minimum.
  2. If you're a dog walker, strongly consider not taking animals with a history of aggression.
  3. Keep a first aid kit in your car.
  4. Talk to your vet about the side effects of giving your dog the Lyme Disease vaccination, such as aggression.

Oh S--- I've Been Bit!
  1. Wash the bite with soap and water well and immediately.
  2. Bandage with antibiotic ointment.
  3. If you need medical attention, go to your doctor's office or Urgent Care. Antibiotics may be necessary, especially if it was a cat bite. Don't go to CVS Minute Clinic, they don't treat bites.
  4. Report it to your local Animal Control. I know, it sucks, but it has to be done.
  5. Elevate the wound over heart level to prevent infection.
  6. Go home and drink a beer.
* The Knotty Dog Walker is not a doctor, just someone who was once bitten. If you need medical attention, see a qualified professional. If this is an emergency, call 911 dummy.