Is your new dog walker a good fit?
Four tips to make sure the dog walker, dog boarder, dog sitter is the one you want
I’ve always thought helicopter parents were over the top. In elementary school and high school, I dealt with a few from my peers. They are overbearing and often paranoid. As a matter of fact, one friend’s parents were so strict that we went to a club (at the age of either 20 or 21) and she still had to be home by 11 p.m. I’ve always loved that my parents were more free-spirited and let me test the waters here and there, knowing I would safely return. (Compared to my friends with helicopter parents in college, I might as well have been a nun.)
As a dog walker of 84 different dogs who has completed 500 walks, I’ve met all types of pet owners. I was equally perplexed by dog owners who acted exactly like helicopter human parents. Approximately 98% were never home, so I was in and out of the door in no time, walked their dogs, returned keys and went about my day. Then were the 2% who were home and wanted to watch my every move. One guy even offered to walk with me while I walked his dog. He was so nervous about the idea that I offered to cancel the walk altogether. He let out a long sigh, turned around and gave his dog a longing look, and then he went back inside. (The irony is after that 30-minute walk, he didn’t answer the door for almost 10 minutes when I tried to return his dog. Just like that, he’d found something else to do and forgot all about me and his pup downstairs.)
It got especially interesting when I crossed over into dog sitting and dog boarding territory. Majority of the pet owners treated my visit like I was one of their cousins on the black side of the family (i.e. all of them were white); they offered me food, gave me the Wi-Fi password and laid out fresh linens. Then there were a handful that had no business letting anyone in their homes for more than five minutes, never mind a weekend.
I think about all of these unique personalities now that I’m on the opposite side. I’m no longer the dog walker, the dog boarder or the dog sitter. I’m the dog owner. And, in one of the strangest twists, I’m turning into the helicopter dog owner who doesn’t want anyone else to walk her dog.