In a city where it seems dogs outnumber humans, Dog Walker, as a profession, is highly competitive and in demand. On our small block alone, there isn’t a single house that isn’t filled with one or more of our little pad-footed friends. In fact, a freakin’ sled dog team just moved in across the street! Seems a bit odd in the South, but why not?
Dogs are everywhere. In the stores, at cafes, riding on bikes down the streets…just everywhere! So, this past Spring, I said to myself, “Well, I love animals, especially dogs. They’re cute, they’re fluffy and loving, and they’re all over my yard regardless of ownership. I’ll just give that a go!”
You see, I really wanted to take this on in my spare time because I work from home. I own my own business with an in-house office, which means I often look for any excuse to just get up and move. Well, dogs are now my excuse. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love what I do and wouldn’t trade it for anything. However, when I wake up after a long night at the edit bay and look at my reflection in the mirror, I see some crazy, translucent chick who hasn’t truly seen the light of day in god knows how long…it’s just not pretty and screams “GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!”
Fortunately, I have the luxury of designing my own schedule when it comes to our production work, so walking multiple dogs (with no less than 18 visits per week) just kind of works for me.
Thus, we come to my second world as a “professional” Dog Walker, and yes, it is as awesome and ridiculous as it sounds! And yes, it was surprisingly hard to get this job!
The dog world, in Charlotte anyway, is a funny one. See, there’s a lot of money in this city, and that means I deal with, shall we say, rather privileged pups. Each perfectly designer and perfectly groomed, they come with a manual of do’s and don’ts.
- Don’t feed them “normal” dog food. Oh no, these dogs only eat the finest and freshest meats and imported Tuna. Yep – Tuna fish.
- Don’t even think about giving them water from the tap! My pups only drink purified, bottled water – Evian or Fiji is preferred.
- Do practice your intermediate (at best) language skills in their presence. One’s dog must be bilingual, if not trilingual, because, you guessed it, these dogs are better travelled than you’ll ever be, and hey, they may just have to be walked by the maid one afternoon when you’re not around.
- Don’t baby talk them. Treat them like adults. These are classy, upstanding citizens…dogs…dogizens for god’s sake!
- Do blast NPR throughout the house for the dog’s listening pleasure. A privileged pup must appear educated and worldly, be completely up to date when it comes to political debate, and be well versed in the likes of Wagner, Shostakovich and Bach. Why? Who the hell knows why!
- Don’t give them toys. Lets face it, these little babes are just too posh for stuffies. Just take them for a jog and give a single treat of organic, whatever’s-in-style from the hipster market before releasing them back to their own, private bedrooms. Seriously.
Yes. I have to say that all of this crazy is true, but at the end of the day it’s all about love. While hilariously over-the-top, I work with some truly lovely families with even lovelier dogs. They’re just…a little different than your average pet.
I mean, when I say to my pets, “Let’s go outside,” I literally mean, let’s put on a leash and pee on the single patch of grass in the side yard where the neighbors won’t see. Whereas when these preciously, privileged puppy owners say, “Let’s go outside,” they mean on the freakin hilltops of Machu Picchu! NOT. KIDDING.
So, you know…little differences like that. There’s so much more to this job than I ever expected, but it definitely makes life more entertaining😉
Oh and funny thing…from all of this, I’ve discovered my new allergy to DOGS! Figures…
(Note, the dogs pictured are not my clients. These are family pets.)