Working at a doggy daycare

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There’s always been a dog around me in some form or another. Growing up, my family always had at least one dog. I guess you could say I was bred to be a dog person. My dog’s name is Mocha and she’s 12 years old (in human years). I did an alright job training her, but she can be super stubborn and very crotchety sometimes. Whenever I get frustrated, I just remember my college days as a doggy daycare attendant.

It was always my dream job to be a dog-walker in college, and it came true my sophomore year. Being a dog walker is great because I got to hang out with dogs of all types and personalities. But the schedule I had to keep sometimes (especially in the city) is not so great. I would have maybe three walks in the same neighborhood, but then two other dogs on the other end of town, and then as soon as I dropped them off I’d have to walk my last dog back where I started my day… on the other side of town. After that I’d return my bosses car, and then take the train home, back to the other side of town.

To call it inconvenient is an understatement, but I grew to love every dog that I walked, even the pair of bulldogs named Moose and Marley. Once we got outside, Moose would plop down and not move, while Marley would take off running. I’d be pulled in one direction while hanging on to a leash that felt like it was tied to a rock.

When the daycare business picked up, I was asked to stay there for most of the day, which is when it was really fun. When the daycare opened, it was strapped for cash. My boss was the only owner and a great dog trainer. He’d been walking dogs for the previous six years. But on a good day, we’d only have 15 dogs at most. By the time I was asked to work at the daycare full-time, we had 20 dogs on a slow day and 40 on a busy one.

The dynamic of all the dogs running around and playing with each other was exhilarating. I loved every dog in there as if it were my own. I really found myself getting into the dogs’ pack mentality because the daycare was cage-free. We only had crates if a dog needed a time out, but for the most part all the dogs played together and it didn’t matter. I loved the cage-free environment, and I wouldn’t want anything different for my own dog. But because all the dogs played together, my fellow attendants and I had to be on our toes to break up any scuffles or give a dog a rest if they were playing too hard. By the time I stopped working there, I could anticipate when a fight would happen, where a dog was about to pee, and I could break up nearly all of the scuffles by yelling.

It was amazing to me the importance my demeanor played while I worked with this “pack” of dogs. I’ll never forget the feeling of being greeted by 30 dogs in the morning. And in case you’re wondering, yes, you totally look like your dog.

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