Eccentricities of Dog Walking Clients
Oddities aren't such a bad thing when they revolve around a love of dogs.
Lisa Gates |
Posted: October 23, 2014, 11 a.m. PST
"Your dog says whoever smelt it dealt it” was a fellow dog walker’s response to a client blaming her for his dog’s uncontrollable flatulence. As professional dog walkers, we endure client idiosyncrasies from hypochondriacs to naked clients making sandwiches or are accused of stealing priceless wine when our parents own a vineyard. I love all my clients but they can be as quirky as their dogs. Truth be told, I too am guilty of behavioral disorders when it comes to my dogs with the exception of making a sandwiches in the nude or stealing priceless wine.
These peculiarities add humor to the job.
NAKED CLIENTS: Professional dog walker Tory joked that 2013 was a stellar year for witnessing naked clients. Even though her daily arrival time remained the same, clients were repeatedly shocked and embarrassed when she appeared as they stood full monty making a sandwich or sitting in a lazy boy watching TV with a lunch tray over their privates. Tory started making loud noises as she entered homes, banging doors, talking loudly, sounding the alarms to get dressed or take cover. She reported 2014 hosted less nakedness with sandwich guy landing a job and Archie Bunker with his TV lunches moving out of state.
OCD CLIENTS: Dogs display OCD behavior by continuous spinning or tail chasing. Clients don’t spin around chasing tails but their OCD falls along the lines of orderliness and cleanliness. One client became annoyed when I returned the green and red leashes to the incorrect hooks. After about a month of frustration, she labeled the hooks. Inquiring if it mattered, I heard "it was vital and the dogs preferred it that way.” Then there was the time, a client asked me to remove my shoes when it rained before walking up her OUTDOOR steps because "the neighbor in her building” didn’t like foot prints. She suggested wearing slippers assuring no toe marks either. One time, a client asked me to use q-tips for cleaning between her dog’s toes and use a hair dryer on rainy days. Thinking she was helpful, she left both items by the front door. No need for me to bring my own hair dryer or purchase q-tips, she supplied both.
SOUL SEARCHER: Trying to decipher between her twin dogs, the owner emailed "Rose has a shorter tail (they were mutts with stubs). Also, her eyes look human with brown irises. Richie has a longer tail and big brown orbs.” To save the dogs from humiliation of measuring their stubs and my personal embarrassment of looking into a dog’s eyes for a humanistic hue, I suggested lifting the legs since one was male and one was female.
THE BARF CLIENT: All day long, a client sent me pictures of her dog’s barf. Offering to clean it up, she insisted all was good but she wanted me to check it out. How thoughtful, as I endured eight hours of "pinging” on my phone with barf pictures, having to explain anyone standing near me what were all the pings. Her husband apologized, disclosing her hardship of adjusting from being on vacation all summer long.
MR AND MRS HYPOCONDRIAC: There are clients who think their dog is dying anytime he throws up or has bad poop. There is the imaginary limp that only parents notice or depression the dog is suffering because he won’t race up the stairs, yet explaining the dog took an extra hour hike that day does not relieve the worry of depression and fears their dog will head to the bridge. They rush to the vet, reporting back the vet says ‘he is ok THIS TIME” but they remain concerned about his depression until the next morning when he bounds out the door with enthusiasm like kids on Christmas morning.
AFFLICTION TO DOG POOP: Bob loved his dog but suffered hardships with dog poop. The smell and site repulsed him. He married Sarah who was cool with poop. When Sarah traveled, she arranged for extra care, which translated to more walks and backyard poop pick up. My mother had issues with poop, calling our neighbor to change my nappy. Therefore, I was comfortable with the poop affliction situation. Unfortunately for Bob, Lucy had an accident in the house when I and Sarah were both out of town, sending Bob into ultimate panic mode. Before Bob called 911, his wife contacted Heather, my back up poop rescuer. Hearing Sarah’s desperate plea from Minnesota, Heather rushed to the scene, finding Bob sitting on the front steps in a cold sweat. Heather cleaned up the mess and aired out the house, making it safe for Bob to return. Grateful for her rescue and recovery, he made sure she received extra money in her check that month.
TIMING OF DOG’S POOP: "What time will my dog poop” was the question posed to me by a new client. Explaining most dogs poop right away, estimation time for a Reggie poop was 11:30am. This concerned him since he returned home at 5pm. He suggested texting when Reggie pooped and try to encourage him to poop at 12:30. I refrained from asking what form of encouragement to use. Gummy Bears worked on my kids when potty training. Reggie was constipated on his first walk, sending his owner into a tail spin of worry, receiving frantic text messages about Reggie not pooping until 5pm now. After a month of clarifying Reggie’s poop times and relieving him of his constipation and possibly his owners as he seemed more relaxed, we managed to figure out the best time for Reggie’s outing.
POOP ANALYST: "Poop report please” my client asked myself or employee when returning with his dog Spot. After describing Spot’s poop "soft formed and light brown color” he thanked us, returning to charting the stock market which in today’s market is comparable to a poop chart. After a month of daily reports, my employee suggested a poop app, allowing him to chart Spot’s poop month to month. He laughed, reminding me I am as neurotic about my dog as he is about Spot (true!).
STOLEN WINE: Professional Dog Walker Tory, who encountered the naked clients, was accused of stealing a priceless bottle of wine from an owner’s home. Tory’s family owned a vineyard and she had no desire to drink wine, let alone steal it as she had access to hundreds of priceless bottles. The police discovered it was not the dog walker but the nanny saucing it up, helping her to stay sane in the uptight household where she was happily employed especially after a few bottles of priceless wine.
Offering potential clients a psychological test to help target eccentricities for dog walkers to weed out the nut cases or better serve them has crossed my mind many times. But in the end, the clients with the most oddities are by far the best pet owners around including me!
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