I love my job, but there are hazards. The inversion lately, for one, which they say is just as bad for you as smoking cigarettes. Then there’s the snow, rain, hail, and sun. Those weather conditions are all no good. Being outside in general has never really been my thing. But for these little guys, it’s totally worth it.
I haven’t seen Ozzy in a long time. This is a picture of him with Flat Stanley when I was house sitting (we were asked by some second graders to take pictures with Stanley around Salt Lake City. Coincidentally the other poodle I walk is named Stanley.). Clearly the best part about Ozzy was his mustache. The second best part was that Scott loved him, too. Scott isn’t a huge dog fan, so I’m constantly introducing him to the dogs I walk in order to feel out which kind of dog I’m eventually going to force him to own. I think we’re leaning towards a standard poodle. They’re smart. Well, except Ozzy has a tendency to eat socks, which he then poops out in turd-shaped cotton bundles. Adorable.
Annika and Chaz are fucking insane. They whine all the way to the park, then spend the entire hour/hour and a half running like mad in and out of the creeks and lakes. Chaz especially is obsessed with fetch, to a fault. We can’t play too much in the summer because he’ll literally fetch himself to death. I started walking Chaz as a puppy, and his energy has only gotten more and more spastic. I kind of hate him, actually.
At Tanner park one day I was trying to leash up six dogs and herd them into the car. Chaz had a ball he kept dropping down the hill and then lurching against his leash to go retrieve, pulling my arm and the rest of the dogs along with him. Eventually he wriggled his way out of his collar and I screamed at him “Chaz, you little fucker!” I look up and a five-year-old little girl is standing in front of me with her mother. Nothing I could do at this point except mumble I’m sorry, wipe the copious amounts of sweat of my forehead, and continue on to the car. They’re actually really good looking labs, and they are so eager to please, they’re just dumb as rocks.
Chaz. Trying to "fetch" the camera.
Pepper is the sweet King Shepard I walk. No one ever wants to play with him because he’s so big and intimidating, but when a pit bull or a bull mastiff is around, Pepper plays exactly like a puppy would, pouncing paws first. Pepper loves kids, which freaks parents out. But I’ve noticed most kids are cool with big dogs. Even when they’re barking or running straight at them, kids seem to have a confidence in their skills with animals that adults don’t have. That confidence makes the dogs I walk much more comfortable with a huge group of first graders than any adults.
Chubs (officially named Mr. Chubs) is probably my favorite of the dogs I walk, though, like children, picking a favorite is kind of pointless. He’s a GIANT golden retriever, who is constantly running up to strangers and leaning his full weight against their legs in order to get all of their attention. He always has a smile like this one on his face. His paws are enormous – the size of my hands, probably. When his sister, Olive, loses her ball, Chubs will go find it, bring it back to Olive, and drop it at her feet. When I was stuck in an eddy last summer, Chubs was the first dog to jump in after me…only to get stuck himself. Oh well. It’s the thought that counts, and Chubs’s loyalty is complete.
Besides his mediocre picture, there’s nothing not to love about Olive. She’s a tiny little lab that loves playing and loves her ball. She’s one of the only dogs that dares to play with Stanley, my standard poodle, and Pepper. She’s fearless. The only time I’ve seen her intimidated is when I wear my big, poofy hat and she can’t figure out if I’m her dog walker, or a serial killer.