8.27.2007

A Day On The Job

I was debating whether or not to post this here. Though the circumstance is true, I'm not going to use the client's name. It demonstrates some of the "other side" of this type of job that people often don't consider, and that's the human side.

I love my job. I love it for all the reasons people would expect someone would love this job. I work with puppies all day, get to play with animals, teach, and work with people, but to me, it's mostly about the welding of two things that are very important to me. Teaching people and working with animals. It never dawned on me to do this job, but when it happened, I realized I was quite happy and wish not to do anything else.

I look back and there are certain clients that really stick out because they are really cool, because they are super sweet, because they have an Aussie or a Boston Terrier, or a cute little black pug...any number of reasons. There are also the heartbreaking and sobering clients that awake you to so much more:






This is Sarah. Sarah is owned by an older woman who lives in Cambridge. She really doesn't have the mobility to take care of what will eventually be a 150+ pound dog. Right now, Sarah is only 10 pounds, but at 11 weeks old, that's to be expected. The owner can't walk Sarah, nor can she really do too much with her. At first, I thought "What on EARTH would a such a woman do with this dog? Is Sarah just fluffy arm jewelry to her? This was really not in the best interest of this dog..." - and continued on my merry way on the high and mighty soap box.

Until today.

Now I understand why someone who knows she can't take care of something would still go ahead and rationalize getting into something over her head.

This woman lives alone. She doesn't have anything else in her life that is just hers. Her daughter lives in England. She's never had cats, but grew up with dogs- Newfoundlands as a child, but Poodles as she got older. She wanted another Newfy since she really loved the breed- and I personally believe it has something to do with regressing to a happier time in her life.

She wants companionship in the worse possible way- a reason many of us turn to our 4 legged friends. She wants something that she can take care of instead of her visiting nurse just taking care of her all the time, or the pharmacist giving her the monthly doses in pills and liquid tabs. Like all of us, she wants to feel useful and important, even if she can't walk this puppy, train it, or do anything but feed it and love it. That's what it comes down to for her, and I can't look at her now thinking anything different. She has her reasons, and they are valid. It's not to say it's fair for Sarah...but Sarah is serving her purpose with this woman, and she is a smart, forgiving puppy. I think this won't be quite as bad as it could be...

Especially since this woman today asked me something very important.

She sat down after my excursion with Sarah and told me she was living on borrowed time. She knows she doesn't have long for this world, and she wants to make sure Sarah is taken care of. She didn't come right out and ask if I could take her dog if circumstances led to it, but I could see she was heading in that direction. It then dawned on me that I'm the only person in her life right now that isn't telling her what to do. I show up, I help with the puppy, I leave. I say "I'll see you tomorrow" and that is my visit.

She has put finding a new home for Sarah-when the time comes, and we all know what that means- in my charge. She doesn't want her daughter to have Sarah- that would mean she would go to England, be quarantined for a period up to 6 months, and that's not fair to either Sarah, or her daughter to suddenly have a dog, a LARGE dog, in her lap. Most likely, quite literally in her lap as Sarah is a cuddly dog. She didn't say "take Sarah", but I did say that I have plenty of friends in the industry and using my resources, I would find Sarah the perfect home, and I'd personally see it through. She thanked me, then asked if I knew anyone that would be willing to move into the upstairs apartment- which I didn't but told her I'd keep an eye out for her. I then said "I'll see you tomorrow."

And that was my visit.