I have always been a cat person. I love fluffy cats, short-haired cats, black cats, orange cats, calico cats, tiny kittens, overweight cats, you name it. So it should come as somewhat of a surprise that my latest job is:
I like to tell people that this is because no one will pay me to walk their cats (that's right, cats are smart enough to walk themselves).
Paint the scene: I found myself in a job situation with a co-worker that I could no longer tolerate. She truly made every day miserable, and I knew things were bad when I would secretly hope she would call in sick, go on a vacation, or just flat-out die.
Yep, I needed to quit.
I endured three long years there, while things continued to get worse. I would come home from working with this awful co-worker, and every day my family would say Find another job!
I randomly saw a sign near our house that said the three little words I needed to hear:
WANTED: DOG WALKER.
I applied, passed the background check, and now people I have never met happily give me their keys to go into their home while they are gone and take their most valued possession (their dog).
I am terrified of Pit Bulls. Did I mention that? Why yes I did, right there on the job application. I said I would walk any type of dog (especially a cat) but staunchly refused to walk a Pit Bull.
You know where this is going, right? The very first dog they assigned me was a Pit Bull. It (he? she? who knows, as I have tried to block it out) bit me on the ankle the moment it saw me.
Somehow I lived through the ordeal, and continued to walk dogs. Now we will briefly pause so that I can show you pictures of dogs I may have walked, or you can just think I got these photos off the internet:
Oh my goodness, is that a cute dog or what?
Be still my heart. Look at those eyes!
Oh how I adore you, you gorgeous thing! (And what a smart owner to color coordinate with the yummy orange leash to really set off those spots.)
Reasons why I love my job: The dogs never complain. They never say, You are 5 minutes late, again, MOV! They never criticize my choice of outfit. Or the fact that I didn't brush my hair. They genuinely seem happy to see me, and sad when I leave (which is more than I can say for my teenagers). They usually do what I say (Sit! Shake! Let's cross the street here now!), and if the worst part of the job is picking up poop, well, what job doesn't have some metaphorical poop you have to deal with?
Sometimes the owners are home. This always shocks me. I feel like I am breaking and entering and they might call the police at any moment. That never happens. Instead they mumble something about how they forgot that I was coming, but sure please take Scout for a walk.
Scout and I go.
We feel the fresh air. We squint into the sunlight. We notice that squirrel dart up that tree trunk. We hear the birds chirp, sometimes at us. We smell the freshly cut grass. We smile at other people walking by, and we stop and chat when those people have dogs too.
But mostly we walk.
I LOVE MY JOB.