Last week was definitely in the top 5 for worst dog walking week ever. I’m grateful to have so much work these days, but with more work that means employees, which has its own issues. I’m a bit of a control freak- I admit it, that’s what makes me good at my job. It makes it very tough to let go and let other people help me. The dog walking business is all about trust and reliability. People trust you with their keys, apartments, and pets. Pets, in this city, are often my clients kids so its serious when someone works for me. If they mess up its my ass. So my usual assistant Matt is on tour for a month with his band right now so I had to hire someone new to help out. I try to screen and train people very carefully but one got under the radar. So this girl I’d hired lied flat out to me last Tuesday. She told me she walked the dogs between noon and 2pm which is when I told her to walk them. Each dog has a two hour window of when its acceptable to walk them and clients don’t appreciate us being late. So Wednesday when I went to walk the dogs I start hearing from nannies and owners that my assistant didn’t walk the dogs until 3pm. I confronted he about lying to me and she admitted it after trying to give me some lame excuse. If she would’ve called me and said she was running late that’s one thing, but to flat out lie to me on your first week of work that’s another. So I had to fire her. I’ve never fired anyone before. I think I was more upset than her. I don’t want any of my clients to lose faith in me or any of the dogs to suffer. I love them. They’re each like my own pets.
Did I mention this was one of the busiest weeks I’ve had in a long time. Its like a puppy bomb went off. I love puppies but they’re tough to walk and I recently acquired like 5 of them. There’s Jasper the one-eyed whippit beagle bandit who tries to eat everything of the ground and play with everyone dog and human that we pass on the street. Then there’s Murray the long-haired chihuahua pup who I adore but also wants to party the whole time we’re walking. Same with Goldie- the ultra cute goldendoodle and Ozzie- the shy but only for a minute labradoodle. Then there’s the puppy ADD I don’t feel like walking of Easy the basset hound and Gracie the snorting bulldog. I adore them all but they haven’t learned to walk with a group yet and I’ve gotta teach them. Thankfully, most of the older dogs ignore getting their heads jumped on but it still seems to make walks last twice as long.
So in the midst of the Puppy Bomb of ’09 I have to fire someone. Then I thought I’d gotten an old assistant who I totally trust and love to help out until Matt gets back. This helper walked on Thursday and after said, “I forgot how exhausting this is. I just don’t have the energy for it. I can’t help you.” So at this point I want to hurl myself off the Brooklyn Bridge. My shoulders have climbed up to my ears with stress and I’m ready to lose it. So I send out an email that I’m looking for help and hope for the best. I get an enormous response, and think I’ve found someone good and reliable but of course I have to train her/ introduce her to several dogs Monday and still do all the walks. So the stress isn’t over because I really don’t know how its going to go until I see the person with the dogs and they walk their first few days. But I trust her which is the main thing.
So Friday thankfully is a “light” day meaning usually less the 20 dogs. But its raining all day. Rain is the worst because the dogs don’t want to be out in it and neither do I. Four hours walking around in the rain, a rain suit sweating is not my idea of a good time. The dogs all drag their feet the first few minutes of the walk until I prove I’m more stubborn and we’re ARE walking, like they haven’t learned this yet, even though I’m like this everyday. They’re always testing to see what they can get away with!
So I get to one clients house and there is a pigeon sitting on her bed. That’s right a PIGEON SITTING ON HER BED. The dogs are barking madly in their crates at it. The air conditioner is a little ajar in open window so I figure that’s how it got in. So I grab a towel and put it outside after chasing it around a bit and having it land on my back etc. A bit of an ordeal. I take the dogs out and leave her a message about her intruder. Three hours later I’m done with walks and eating lunch at 4pm trying to get dry when the owner calls and tells me she’d taken the pigeon in and its injured, its been there all week in the bathroom but she forgot to tell me and I didn’t notice it. So I freak out and run back over there in and am climbing around on her fire escape in the rain for half an hour in tears thinking I just put an injured animal out. She winds up calling me back and saying that it seemed to be getting better and was flying and eating and she was going to set it free anyways so maybe this was how it was meant to be. But I’m still so upset after the week I’d had that I head back to where I’m dogsitting for Charlie and Chloe and just ball on the couch to my dad on the phone. Chloe’s wet Pomeranian ass jumps up on me and starts licking me with her Gene Simmons crazy lizard tongue. I also get an email from the Brooklyn Book Festival who I emailed 2 months ago asking if they need volunteers. They want me to work Sunday from 1-5pm which just seems like the worst possible thing considering I’m exhausted.
I calm down, go get my haircut and then meet up with Dennis, Sini, Melissa, and Anna at Unnamable books where they told me Eileen Myles would be reading. No one is there and they tell us the reading is next Friday. Jesus. The perfect end to the perfect week. We all end up getting dinner at Zaytoons next door cause sometimes that’s all you can do. Get dinner and put yourself to bed and pray the next day will be better.