The story of how and why I became I a dogwalker, is integral to the story of
how I acquired my now 12 year old female yellow lab, Maizy. Maizy is a testament to
the reasons why puppy mills, backyard breeding, and pet stores that sell these dogs,
are not good. But I digress . . .
I was living in southern California ( Huntington Beach), and was working at one
of the afore mentioned pet stores that sold puppies (I was young and naive).
When Maizy had arrived on the truck, after being shipped cross-country when
she was a mere 2 months old, she already had the extremely communicable
doggy cold; Kennel Cough. It was advanced enough, that instead of keeping
her at the store in the quarantine area, she was taken directly to the vet,
where she was to stay for the next 3 months of her life, and her condition was
to deteriorate into severe pneumonia that scarred her lungs for life.
The company I worked for was asking the employees if they wanted a free dog.
Puppies lose their value as they age, and with Maizy well on 5 months, it would
have been difficult enough to have sold her even if she was healthy. As it was, the
store had lost several thousand dollars because they were having to pay the vet bills trying to get her
better. Recuperating in a box at the vet's office was costly and ineffective; she was getting worse. That meant the store would be pouring
more money into her, with little promise of her getting better, and no return on the investment of her being sold.
Which is where we found each other.
I had been yearning for a dog, as I had grown up with dogs my entire life. When I visited Maizy for the first time, she could walk only
small distances, but the most obvious problem was her trouble breathing because of all the sludge and scarring the pneumonia had
wreaked on her lungs. The vet told me there was a 50/50 chance she would live or die, and that I shouldn't feel responsible if she was
to up and die unexpectedly one day in the (then) near future.
Armed with an assortment of antibiotics and other medications, I realized the best way to expel the mucus from her lungs was for
her to run and exercise, something that the small kennel at the vets office could not provide her with, and across the street from my
house- was a dogpark.
I had never been to a fenced in dogpark and neither had Maizy, but her sheer joy and bliss once she was playing with other dogs and
actually running was something I will never forget. Soon, Maizy was being chased allover the park within months of my adopting her,
and while she still coughed and hacked, she was sprinting, running, being chased, and playing like the 5 month old puppy she was.
I began to get acquainted with the dogpark regulars, and was disbelieving and completely envious of the woman who always showed
up with a van full of dogs, and she made a living from it.
The seed was planted.
When I moved to Seattle, I was encouraged by friends and family to turn my love for dogs into a business of dog park outings,
considering this areas love affair with dogs. And the rest is history as they say. . .
I love my job. I love my dogs, and I love the dog lovers I meet at the parks.