When I started working with dogs, it was more about getting a job than being around pups all day. Don’t get me wrong, I have always loved dogs….more so than most. I grew up around dogs, and often would end up on the floor interacting with them more so than my human counterparts. I was teased in high school because as a freshman I spent more time with the dog in our theater production than with the other (meaner!) bitches that I went to school with. But I never thought of dogs as a career.
Within weeks of starting my new dog daycare job, I was hooked. Sure, there was cleaning. And cleaning. And cleaning. (Anyone who has ever worked in a dog daycare or boarding facility can easily relate.) But then there were the dogs. These kiddos on four legs. These playful puppies with energy that could last for days. Tails wagging, noses twitching…pure happiness!
When your full-time job is to watch dogs alone for hours on end, you start to notice things that you hadn’t before. Some of them are obvious – sadness when an owner drops off a pup, the friendships and cliques that dogs form – and some of them are much more subtle – the second of stillness before a dog snaps, the difference in tone of a happy bark versus and annoyed one. Suddenly, I felt like I didn’t know dogs at all! How arrogant of me to think I could care for these creatures and yet know virtually nothing about them! That’s when the real education began. I reached out to the owner of the facility where I worked, and she took me under her wing. Hours of lessons and dozens of books later, I now viewed each day at work as a way to further my education.
Years later, I still feel like I am learning, but I know much much more. Now I see dozens of dogs every day in their own homes. I care for puppies and for aggressive dogs working through issues that their owners and I barely understand. I exercise dogs and make sure that even if their parents are far away, they are happy and healthy. I hope this blog will educate dog owners and help them better understand what their dogs are thinking. I’m sure it will have plenty of cute puppy pictures and reviews on new dog toys as well. (a.k.a the things that make us humans happy!) I am hoping reading this will improve your dog’s quality of life and therefore your own. After all, where else are you doing to find someone who will give you unconditional love, a shoulder to cry on, and open ears every day of their life?