As a professional dog walker and pet sitter, I appreciate the faith our clients have in us when they hand over the keys to their homes and the leashes to their most prized possessions. Being a dog walker and pet sitter is not a role I take lightly.
When I first meet clients, I will answer any questions they may have for me. But there are certain aspects of being a dog walker and pet sitter that I’m probably not going to immediately divulge at an initial consultation with a new client. Instead I will share with you here some of the secrets we dog walkers and pet sitters may not tell you in person:
1. My phone is full of pictures of your pets. Yes, I may even have a few selfies with your animals. I can’t help it; your pet is adorable and I’m going to try to get a good photo.
2. I have nicknames for your pet. Maddy is “Maddy Cakes.” Leo is “Handsome Guy”. Hurley is “Hurl Girl”.
3. I know your dog’s bffs and enemies in the neighborhood. We might avoid walking past certain houses because I know that yellow lab in the window is going to bark at us. Or we might walk past a certain house because I know Daisy likes checking to see if the neighbor dogs are in the backyard.
4. I’m a little obsessed with your dog’s safety. I check and recheck that harnesses are on and clipped correctly. I make sure collars are tight enough. I’ve yet to have a dog escape from me, and I (knock on wood) hope it doesn’t happen anytime soon. I look both ways many times before crossing streets. Neighbors who walk their dogs probably think I’m antisocial because I try to avoid other dogs and people on walks. We just can’t risk how other dogs will react.
5. I sing to your dogs. My current dog clients probably know all the words to “Uptown Funk.” Many of your pets are probably now a little familiar with show tunes. When I brush cats, I just can’t help but sing “Brusha Brusha Brusha” from Grease. And it’s not just that I sing to my animal clients. Sometimes we do bits. If I have a dog client named Lucy, of course I’m going to talk to her in my best Ricky Ricardo accent.
6. We know your dogs’ bathroom habits all too well. If William doesn’t pee and poop right when we go out, we’re walking just a little bit longer until he does.
7. When I slip on the ice or snow while I’m walking dogs, your dog is always very concerned. I think it’s mostly because I probably jerk the leash, but every dog always glances back whenever I slip. You’re raising concerned citizens–that’s good.
8. Dogs get kisses when I leave. No, not on the mouth. I’m not a fan of full-on mouth kisses with animals. But almost all of my dog clients get kisses on the top of their heads before I leave. I don’t know why I do this. But many of the dogs wait patiently until I do kiss them goodbye.
9. I talk to your dogs constantly. I ask my furry clients about their weekend, what they’re going to do that evening, how puppy class was, whatever it may be. I try to tone it down when I’m actually walking your dog because I don’t want to get a crazy dog lady reputation, but it might already be too late for that…