Week 1: Dogwalker in a boot

Whew... what a week it has been! True November weather with cold, wind and rain. Everyone is starting to make plans for the holiday next week. And your dogwalker got put in a walking boot. Why the boot? I hurt my ankle over the summer and it just didn't seem to get better. I went to the Dr, got an X-ray, and turns out I have an extra bone in my ankle and a tendon got stretched/torn over it and just couldn't heal because I walk so much. So as an alternative to not walking for weeks on end, I am in a boot to hopefully give me extra ankle bone and tendon the rest it needs! So, dogwalker + boot = thank god for Kendal and Nancy's help.

Kendal is my psuedo-little sister, Nancy's daughter, and my best friend Hilary's little sister. She has been a part of my dog park trips and dogsitting on the side for years now - she watches my dogs while I am out of town. Luckily, she will be helping me at the park so I don't have to run around as much and give my foot a little more rest.

The first day with The Boot, on Tuesday, was not easy. I did two runs by myself. I have never actually realized how much walking I do in a day until I strapped a huge boot to myself. Luckily it wasn't raining so it stayed pretty dry. I did however step in dog poop, and that was a pleasure to clean up.

Wednesday was the first day of Kendal riding along with me and picking up dogs. A huge help! Nancy was taking care of her crew - she met us at the park with Pepper, Mokee and Woody. Her little pack has developed it's own dynamic and it's so fun to see how differently the dogs are in a smaller pack. Pepper, who when she is with my pack, loves to chase Bonita and Chesa and grab their tails and then eventually possibly hump them, is a totally different dog in Nancy's group. Although she has her golden retriever opportunity with Mokee, she and Woody are best buds. Woody is Nancy's Jack Russell, and he is a fraction of Pepper's size, but those two just love to run and chase. Pepper is also highly addicted to Nancy and when not in chase-mode can almost always be found as Nancy's shadow. Mokee has taken to his new position of ring leader of the crew. He marches proud with his head held high and greets my pack with tons of excitement!

There was no preventing the inevitable mud bath that was Magnuson park yesterday, so we just made the best of it and Kendal got lots of practice hosing the crew off before we left :) Michael, my boyfriend, was kind enough to thoroughly wrap my boot in industrial size Saran Wrap - he found it more amusing than I did and I think I was wrapped at least 50 times.  My toes broke through and were soaked in dog park mud within minutes. Coco was relieved to see that the rain had finally accumulated to make enough of a puddle for her to roll in. Bickie, I swear, I was right there when she dropped in that puddle and started to roll - I was yelling "No Coco!" and she looked at me for a brief second and considered it, but instincts won her over. Luckily the mud hasn't thick and gross yet :/ Bonita and Rex took turns being ball thieves. Otis got to make a guest appearance since his mid-week dogwalker was out sick. It's always fun to have goofy Mr. Otis around. Dexter learned that Kendal is his new best friend - she hasn't learned that at a certain point, sitting perfectly still and smiling with that toothy grin doesn't always warrant a treat. He's having Thanksgiving feast early. All in all, it was a great day and Kendal was a champ hosing off all 8 dogs. My muddy, soggy foot went home to dry off. After two days of wearing that boot, the padding part on the bottom had already torn up and a chunk in the front had scraped off. Something tells me that boot was not made for dog parkin it... Miles' mom sent me a link for a waterproof boot cover - I definitely need to invest. On my to-do list for tomorrow.

Today was another double dog park trip day. Luckily I had Kendal's help, not only with the dogs, but with properly duct taping my boot. Much more effective. I brought my good camera and was able to take some fun pictures while Kendal learned to manage the group. They all respond to her really well - it's great! Nancy came with Pepper and Woody. I was trying to get some good pictures of Pepper to help out with her feature of her holiday card - the theme is "holly jolly" so I was trying to get something goofy! I don't know if I got "the picture" for Pepper, but I certainly got a lot of other goofy pics... between Hastings, the extra gooberish looking Great Dane with know from the park to Harley, an English Bulldog we ran into with a huge underbite. Chesa and Bailey were trading off their yellow lab fixation between the Jolly Ball and the tennis ball. Chesa loves to push the Jolly ball around on the ground and has scratched a little spot on her forehead from it! She is not bothered in the least... Coco found yet another puddle... Gracie hopped from dog to dog with her puppy energy, checking in frequently for a treat. Rex loves to go after the big dogs - the bigger the better for him to wrestle with, and Hastings was just his type. He got quite a good romp in. Poor Miles... we weren't quite expecting the drop in temperature and we didn't see his coat by the door. He got cold so I tried to cuddle with him and keep him warm - he clobbered me with kisses - typical Miles. We will definitely have the coat tomorrow! I offered my jacket to "cozy cave" under, but apparently he only likes to do that with Michael, not me. Kendal's dog, Maddie came along too. She is obsessed with Kendal and the herding instincts in her say that she needs to protect Kendal at all times. I think today was really good for her because she kind of started to branch out and play with other dogs. She rode in the truck on the way home and did just great! A new ballwalkpark addition within the family.

Confessions of a dogwalker: So something strange and gross happened to me today. I've had a lot of gross things happen at the park, or due to the park, but this was a first. In between trips, I was adjusting my many layers, and realized there was a small bit of dog poop in between my pants and my tank top that went over it. I have NO idea how that happened, it's never happened before, but in the world of a dogwalker, it's unfortunately not out of the question....

So, moving on.... For the afternoon trip, we went to pick up Sammy, my doberman. He and I have been working together for about 4 months. While he has possibly been one of my most difficult clients, he may also be the most rewarding because he has come such a long way. In the beginning he wouldn't let me touch him, wouldn't get in the truck, wouldn't come, drop it, wanted nothing to do with me. All those problems are solved now and he is my buddy. I was so happy to see that he is already adjusting to Kendal much quicker. He is, however, terrified of the rain, and I was worried about that today. You'd never imagine such a big tough dog to be such a scardy cat! When the rain started at the park today he hid under a tree!

One of our next stops was to pick up Milkshake. He is staying with me for the next couple days while his parents are out of town, so he had lots of food, toys and a bed to bring along. I got some great pictures of Shakes today - if I call him "Mr. Milkey-Shakey" in a really high pitched (annoying) voice he starts jumping like a jumping bean - its adorable.

Luckily, while Kendal was running in to grab us some lunch, I was scrolling through facebook and saw a friend post a link about the Occupy Seattle Protests planned to close the University and possibly Montlake bridge as well. I am so glad that I saw that post and was able to plan accordingly. Unfortunately for Walker, I had to call his mom and reschedule him for tomorrow - he was my only guy going back to Eastlake and I was worried I would get caught in hours of traffic trying to get him home. Sounds like it was a good call, and I am so grateful that Michelle was OK with the change! We will make up for it with an extra wonderful park trip tomorrow. Just another obstacle in the day of the life of a dogwalker!

We had the park nearly to ourselves, especially after the rain started. Sammy, Cooper, Tucker and Milkshake stuck together and chased/snuck the ball away from one another. Violet pranced around with the ball she happened to find that hardly fit in her mouth. Dexter stuck by Kendal's side, peppered in with some full out sprints with the other pups. The rain really started right as we were leaving the park. That was cold rain!! It felt good to get back in the warm cozy car and finally dry off. Cooper and Violet were sitting in the back seat, cuddled and so adorable... I took a great picture but for some reason those last pics won't upload to my computer! Ugh... project for another day. Time to wrap this day up! Snow tomorrow....?!

Thanks to Nancy and Kendal for all of your help this week! A gimp dogwalker definitely needs some help...

*Vet's news -- Stella (King Charles) doesn't have Addison's disease! Yay! Huge relief for the sweet little girl and her mama.

**Client quote of the week: "Seriously, you have full permission to smack the neurotic pet owner in me the next time we see you!" ... obviously I never would, or even think of it, but it definitely made me laugh!

Check out pictures from today at: https://picasaweb.google.com/ballwalkpark/GoodCameraStormyDayInNovember

Posted on November 18, 2011 and filed under Uncategorized.