I currently hold three job titles: Author, School Administrator and Dog Walker.
The third has taught me several things. Partly, that I am not yet ready for a mutt of my own and also how walking a puppy is a little like being pregnant in how other dog walkers or owners will give you endless unsolicited advice. Bertie the Labradoodle is just five months old. He bounces around my feet, chews my hands (and my coat too) and has no understanding of “Hello Protocol” that older dogs adhere to. Any time we encounter other dogs on our walks, he goes nuts. Today, along the river path, we encountered Smug Dog Lady and her miserable dog.
Smug Dog Lady told me (in a snooty, disapproving tone) “oh, he’s a puppy, my dog isn’t keen on puppies”. I just laughed, held Bertie back so he wouldn’t jump on her dog and told her that yes, he’s a pup.
“I’ll give you some advice,” she told me.
Oh great – because that’s what I asked for right?
“OK, great, but he’s not mine, I don’t own him, just walk him but do let me know,” I replied as I figured I’m the one (more so than Bertie) who might need training, given I just like dogs rather than know a lot about them.
“Pat Sears,” she said, looking at me knowingly, as if this name is some universal general piece of knowledge that should have immediately made sense to me.
“OK…” I started, then asked “who is Pat Sears?” when she offered me no more (except a look that told me everyone-knows-what-this-means).
“Puppy training. The Baptist church near the motorway.”
“Oh, I see. Well, I’ll pass it on in case his family are interested,” I told her but secretly resented her for daring to suggest my fluffy friend needs this.
“And you should give him Rescue Remedy half an hour before walking him, that’ll keep him calm,” she went on.
I glanced at her dog, who just sort of lingered at her side (and now I understand the poor mutt was obviously drugged into submission) and probably wished he was Bertie. If you ask me, looking at this lady’s dog, I’d say this Pat Sears is probably the Dog Spirit Killer, because compared with joyous Bertie (who, let’s not forget, is a puppy!!) this dog did not look happy, although he might just have been too stoned to display any personality. 🙂 As I’ve said before, I’m hardly the Dog Whisperer, so I don’t know if training is something all puppies need?! I just love Bertie’s exuberance and I almost felt annoyed that she told me to give him Rescue Remedy, what a cheek!