So you want to be a dogwalker, huh?

{note: if you are offended by the word "shit" or do not like reading about or thinking about the topic, then please, read no further} You know those (rare) days in July/August when it is 80 degrees out on a Tuesday morning and you are heading to the office thinking you wish you could trade jobs with me and get to go play with dogs all day? Well days like today makeup for days like that.

Basically what happened was, Harley was riding in the back of the truck with the big dogs and he took a protest poop. He, and all the other dogs, proceeded to walk through this poop tracking it through the rest of the truck and getting it stuck into the rubber mats, while somehow managing to smear it on the sides and windows of the truck. All the other dogs were staying as far to the opposite corner as possible. Ok Harley, I get it, you don't have to ride in the back ever again.

I started putting Bam back there as a suggestion from a trainer, Jeff Tinsley, to help with her little bulldog attitude and thinking she is queen of the pack. Harley was starting to do some of the same "I"m better then you because I'm French" behaviors, so I figured I would give him the same treatment. backfire. Any other dog and I may feel bad thinking they didn't get enough of a chance to use the bathroom before I put them in the truck, but not this little man. He knows exactly what he is doing. One morning, his dad was dropping him off at my house, put him in his crate and before he was all the way up the stairs heard Harley peeing in his crate, just to make a point.

Of course I make this discovery while I am picking up Milkshake, and run into his dad and very overdue pregnant mom, in the driveway. Like a lot of my clients, they like to say hi to all of the dogs in the back while I load Milkshake in, and as I opened the tailgate we were all in for a surprise. Harley and Bam were dancing around in it, the other dogs were huddled away from it, Bonita was in her crate staring at it wishing she could eat it. I was disgusted and humiliated, and while I couldn't do much about the ground-in-grate-shit at the moment, I opted to put Milkshake in the backseat to at least save myself from cleaner 4 less paws and saving his poor sensitive sense of smell.

Soo.... what to do now. I have 6 dogs in my truck, on my way from Eastlake to Phinney Ridge, nowhere near home-base to clean up. How am I going to get all the dogs out? How am I going to clean "it"... Ugh! The problem solver in me comes out and texts my client closest to the park and asked to use her back yard as a 5 min dog park while I hose out the truck. So very grateful she quickly replied and didn't mind! I pulled up to the house, grabbed as many leashes as I could find, strapped on my handy bright orange gloves, and tackled the truck. I leashed the dogs and unloaded them one at a time, Bam and Harley jumping up on my legs with their shitty paws. Once all 6 dogs were out of the truck, we "walked" to the backyard, i.e. I was extremely close to going face first on the pavement (pre-dog park excitment doesn't make walking 6 big dogs any easier!), but safely got them in the backyard. Well, almost safely. I wasn't confident that I would make it up the 2 steps without going face first as the rate they were pulling me, so I had to let go. The dogs went in the back and ran around and drug the leashes through poop in the yard. Great, like I needed more poop in my day! I hosed out the truck very thoroughly, every little hole in that rubber mat. Now I had to go back and get all the dogs, plus Chesa, and load them back in the truck. Of course these poor guys (minus bulldogs, they are gross and don't care) aren't exactly thrilled about getting back in the truck after this experience so it took some coaxing, all the while strategically dodging the now shit-caked leashes. Ahhh... loaded and ready for the park.

The park started out great. We didn't take the Chuck-it today (rare, but a nice change of pace once in a while) and the dogs played really well with each other and the one frisbee Coco and Chesa were trading back and forth. We walked down to the water and back, and on the way back I was so impressed with how clean everyone was. I should have known better than to jinx my day like that. Coco rolled in not one muddle puddle, but three, each one grosser than the last. As we are almost to the water bowls for our last drink before we load back up, the whole crew decides to run the laps by the mounds - it's their departing tradition that has apparently been on hiatus for the past few months. I love the mounds, the dogs love it and run their hearts out and play, play, play... The only problem is the mounds during the winter is that all of the "valleys" between the mounds are giant mud pits. In a matter of minutes I went from a perfectly clean pack to a bunch of mud-caked mutts. Everyone got washed off very well before they went home today.

Having learned my lesson on the way to the park, I put Harley in the back seat, on top of Porter's dog bed I was bringing home, and wrapped in a towel. He's a hard guy to please, but I finally did it. Either that or he was feeling a little guilty for the shit-show earlier. Judging by the pouty lip in this picture, I think he felt a little bit guilty...

One of the funny things about working with dogs, is that they totally feed off your energy and play on your weaknesses. If I am in a good mood, things are going well, then we will have a great day and they will be angels. If I am sick, tired, stressed, irritated, or anything they can take advantage of, they will! I have never been given such a look by dogs before, but clearly they were not pleased with the condition of the truck because they are giving me the stink eye if I have ever seen it!

By the end of the day, I had really let this poop incident get to my head and I started thinking about tall the potential things that have been contaminated. I had the dogs taken care of but that was only the beginning! So, like any normal person (....?) I proceeded to put all of the leashes, towels and seat cover in the laundry. I took the truck to Brown bear give the back a good deep clean. I washed and scrubbed all of the toys with hot water and soap. I cleaned my gloves, my phone, even my keys... I am now home and have cleaned myself up, changed clothes, washed my hands 10,000x and am finally feeling better about life. Thanks Harley-man, spring cleaning came early for ballwalkpark!

On a positive note, everything is clean, clean, clean and I am loving it! That is one of my downfalls as a dogwalker, I am secretly a neat freak. I seriously streamlined my Brown Bear truck hosing procedure. Ten time as efficient in half the time, that's something to be excited about.

Before the cleaning frenzy, I took a short afternoon trip to Woodland Park with the pups staying with me, as well as Miss Bonita. I ran into a good friend of mine there and had to tell him what was on my mind. How come dogs have such amazing senses - they can sense cancer, earthquakes, what dog walked down the block that day, etc... How can they not sense stepping in their own shit!?!? How is it possible that they can step in their own shit, mid-shitting, as they awkwardly shift around in circles. It shocks and disgusts me every day. My friends answer was disappointing, but very true, they just don't care. As a self-proclaimed neat freak, I wonder how I can watch a dog step in it's own shit and cuddle with him on the couch hours later (true fact, happening right now, after I cleaned!). I guess this is just another example of how love is blind...

At the end of the day, whether it's this day or that wonderful summer day, I wouldn't trade jobs for anything in the world. And to be honest, this isn't the first time this has happened (not quite on this scale), and this isn't uncommon in this line of work.... any dog walker you talk to will tell you at least one similar story of their own. Among all of my shittier thoughts of the day, I realized I have yet another trait in common with Bailey, my neurotic retrieving lab. Like Bailey, every time I throw the ball, I can't wait to do it again. I can't wait to see how far I can throw it, who will get it, if it will bounce and they will jump and crash into each other, or if they will lose it and I have to help them find it.... I don't know what it is about it, but I just can't ever get enough of these dogs. Michael laughs at me every night when I go through my pictures of the day and  can't hold my laughter in, he rolls his eyes every time we play with Bailey and I beg to throw the ball just one more time....  All this poop talk may have altered your perception of the glamorous life of a dogwalker, but I'm already looking forward to tomorrow. Sans poop.