Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The dog did whaaaat?

Sometimes, you need to drop a client. It's no fun, but let me give you an example of when it's time.

I used to watch two large, hyper Portuguese Water Dogs (think Bo Obama times two in a town house). In fact, let's call these dogs Bo and Obama. The family didn't take them out for much exercise, and my 3X a day pet sits when the family traveled were pretty much their only energy outlet. I knew this because oftentimes there would be a couple of trips spaced a week or two apart and their leashes and harnesses would be left exactly where and how I stored them. Not cool.

Let's also take a sidebar here to discuss what 3X a day visits mean. Most people book their pet sits around meal times: breakfast, lunch, dinner and/or bedtime. While a 3x or more a day client can be a money maker, it's pretty exhausting. I have to be up and at their house by the time their dogs are used to getting up first thing in the morning. I squeeze their midday in with my other noontime clients (there are a lot, and they don't stop needing me because someone else went out of town). And then I come as late as I can in the evening because, really, no dog should have to hold it more than 12 hours. This can go on for days or even weeks, depending on the trip. I turn down social plans due to being booked at meal times. Brunch anyone? Can't go out for drinks, Bo and Obama need to be tucked in by a sober pet sitter.

I was on another week-long adventure with Bo and Obama, who are so crazy I walked them separately for safety. One night I noticed thunder clouds rolling in. Bo was terrified of thunderstorms so I decided not to walk them and to just use our alloted time in the back yard. That worked out fine until the next door neighbors let their yippy dog out, causing a commotion on both sides of the fence. I quickly herded Bo and Obama back inside, fed them dinner and went home.

After a long day I was finally laying down to bed when my phone rang. It was Bo and Obama's mom. Apparently the next door neighbors called and reported that Obama bit their dog through the fence. 

Say whaaaaat?

I explained that there had been a kerfuffle, in which both households played a part. She said that the neighbors rushed their dog to the emergency vet, and that they would inspect the fence when they got home from vacation to find the hole through which their dog must have bit the neighbor's dog.

Mortified, I felt like crap. How on earth could Obama bite another dog and without my noticing? Was I really that tired from the 3X a days? I immediately documented everything that happened in an email to the owner of the pet sitting company. I bent down as low as I could get, hugged my knees, and prepared to kiss my butt goodbye. Surely he would not be pleased, but at least he knew the dogs in question. In fact, he offloaded them to me because he didn't want to deal with them anymore!

The next morning, he responded. He said that the neighbor's story did not pass the sniff test. The dog was probably dim witted and ran head first into the fence. It is not possible to bite through a fence. It is, however, quite possible that the neighbor saw our handy "bonded and insured" car magnet advertisements and thought they might make a quick buck. I was instructed not to apologize and to go about business as usual.

He was right. The neighbor never resurfaced and upon inspection of the fence, I couldn't find a single hole.

Bo and Obama continued to be a handful. I continued to be exhausted by them an their lackadaisical owners. I felt like the scum of the earth, but I left them a note with their key explaining that the dogs were just too much for me to handle and I wouldn't be back. It sucked, but I'm glad I did it.

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