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My doggie fence friends

May 31, 2012 11 comments

Reading Kristine’s post (“Wordless Wednesday – Fence Friend”) yesterday on her blog, Rescued Insanity,brought back so many memories from my days as a pet sitter and all the dogs I got to know as I walked my client’s dogs in their neighborhoods.

In the morning, there were the two Yellow Labs that used to run with their owner – we would wave “Hi” as he jogged by and once in a while I would greet the if I arrived as he and they were leaving for their morning run.

In the afternoon, there was the black Lab mix who lived behind a brown picket fence and who would whine for us to come and greet her when we walked by. We always did and I often would sneak her a kibble or two. She was such sweet dog.

In the same neighborhood as the black Lab, was a Husky that loved to run along the fence with Marley (one of my clients) and sometimes, when she was feeling particularly frisky, she would hide behind the corner of her deck until we had gone almost the whole way past her house, then she would bolt and race to the fence to try and scare us. It never did, but it often made me laugh to watch her. She loved kibble too.

In my friend, Henry’s, neighborhood, there was a sweet girl named Blondie. She was a yellow Lab like my Daisy, and just like Daisy, the sweetest thing you could ever meet. She would often sit in her garage or in her driveway while her Dad worked on his car and then would wander out to greet us as we walked by.

The little guy across from Henry also used to run over to greet us if his owner was outside with him. He loved all the attention I gave him, even though he got more than plenty at home, and most certainly was happy to take a piece of kibble from me.

But, perhaps my most favorite was a Husky/Yellow Lab mix that I got to know pretty well. Annie was a sweet older gal who loved laying in the sun and napping most of the time. The only exception was when the kids were returning from school or when I would walk by with my clients, Marley and Bailey.  Then she would “chuff “and sometimes bark, to let me and the kids know that we had to stop by and say hello, and you know what? We always did. She loved the attention she received from all of us.

Over time, I got to know this dog’s owner as well. A nice older gentleman, named Frank. We would often wave “Hi” and stop to chit-chat for a minute before I moved on with the girls. Annie was the love of his life and over time I fell in love with her too. There wasn’t a day we didn’t stop to greet her and give her a piece of kibble or two. She came to expect us and would wait by the fence for us as she watched us come up the street.

Then one day, she wasn’t there to greet us. I thought maybe it was too cold and she was inside laying on a nice warm rug, but the next day she wasn’t there either. A week later, I ran into Frank and he told me the news. Annie had gotten ill and had died. How sad. She had become my friend over that year and a half that I had come to know her. Frank and I both shed a tear over his girl as we talked, but it was hard. We both were grieving her loss. I still think of her and smile today. Like Kristine’s dog friend, she was my fence friend too.

It’s been a year since I left my pet sitting business, mostly for monetary reasons, but I still miss it. I don’t just miss the dogs and cats I cared for every day (I miss then a lot!), but I also miss the ones I didn’t care for but got to know along the way.

My fence friends.

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Animal Welfare – Wishing for days of old

April 9, 2012 14 comments

Do you ever get weary of all that is going on in the world today? Do you ever wish that you didn’t know as much about the pet world as you do?

I know I do. Sometimes I wish for the days of old; when I was oblivious to all the worries and concerns that I face as a pet owner today.

Back then, I knew so much less about dogs, animal rescue, puppy mills, dog shows, dangerous pet foods, tainted dog treats, lost dogs, etc. The world seemed so much less complex.

I could toss my dog a milk bone and not worry about whether it was from China or would make my dog fat. I could watch a dog show in total ignorance and just revel in the beauty of the various breeds without judgement about whether the dog was able to breathe or had a life span of six years. I could look in a pet store window and just laugh at the cute little puppy inside without thinking about where the puppy came from and what kind of conditions its parents lived in.

It’s so much easier today to become overwhelmed and weary by all that goes on behind the scenes. There is SO MUCH information out there nowadays. Of course, the benefit is that you can just about choose any interest and focus solely upon it, but always, just around the edges, lingering just outside your peripheral vision, is that other stuff. The stuff you don’t want to think about. The stuff you don’t want to know. The stuff you would rather ignore.

I know that educating people about puppy mills does make a difference – even if it only prevents one more puppy mill puppy from being sold or motivates one person to take action to close them down. I also know that sharing information about a dangerous pet product can make a difference, especially for that one person who might have lost their best friend if not for that blog post or status update to warn them. And, I know that sharing that one picture of a lost dog may be the one “share” that makes the all the difference to that lost dog and their owner.

But every once in a while, just for a second or two, I really DO wish for the less complex days of old.

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