I have a key to your house. I know your alarm code. I know about that squeaky floor board in your hallway and where you like to kick off your shoes when you come home. I am in your house all the time…but you might only see me once or twice a year. Who am I?
It is an interesting relationship I have with my clients. The human ones, that is. I can walk their dogs every day for months on end, and maybe only talk to them on the phone every six months. Mostly, we communicate via notes. (SO sixth grade girl, right? I’m not going to lie, though, it is kinda fun!) I take on a odd role – I’m not family, but I’m not a visitor either. No need to tidy up for me, but you might want to put on pants if you know I’m coming.
What I often think about, though, is who does your dog think I am? I show up when their family is gone (either out at work or away on vacation.) I don’t have to worry about putting away groceries or taking a shower or picking up toys – I am 100% there for them. I am not a visitor that will pat them on the head and then shoo them away so I can have a human conversation. I only have eyes for your pooch. I am there to walk or play…to scratch behind the ears…to “hang out”, canine style. I give them treats and love on them. I might even have a special nickname for them…I might even know their favorite potty spot which even their dad doesn’t know about. I might even notice if something is bothering them before you – because I am only their for them.
So what do you think they think? I like to think dogs don’t know what “dog walkers” are. In my mind, they just think I’m their buddy. Like their human brother who has classmates over for play – I believe they think of me as a friend. THEIR friend. Not your friend, not a family friend, not little Timmy’s playmate – THEIR friend. (This is often reinforced by pup’s behavior on the rare days their parents are home when I stop by. Parents are surprised by how their pets gravitate to me…or at least get ridiculously excited and forget their mom and dad are home. Come on! Who would you rather hang out with? Someone who gets worked up when you come in with muddy paws…or someone who takes you out to get those paws wet!)
So from now on I believe my official job title will be “Pet’s Best Friend” rather than “Pet Sitter” or “Dog Walker”. Anyone can walk…but only a select few can be a PBF.