Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dog Walking is my Zen


Let me set the stage for you. I've been volunteering as a Dog Walker at the Toronto Humane Society since November 2009. Why do I do it? It's my zen. Simple as that. Some people have yoga - I have dog walking.

In just 18 months, I've walked all sizes and breeds. From the waddling Dachshund to the commanding German Shepherd or the loyal Golden Retriever to the clumsy Weimaraner. Tall & furry or short & scruffy...they all come with their own unique look and personality.


Let's be clear here though, I'm NOT a dog whisperer, nor a self proclaimed professional. I'm just a simple guy that loves walking dogs.

I also love a good story and this experience has not held back! Crazy dog ladies, secret societies and walking the blind, are just a few adventures...rrr, mis-adventures I've been 'lucky' enough to encounter.


Recently on a Saturday afternoon, I was walking Juno the Black Lab back inside, and as we turned and entered 'Room B', I heard someone crying for help. Not a loud cry, more of a whimpering plea for assistance. I recognized the accent - it was one of the new volunteers, a sweet old Spanish lady.

I quickly directed Juno back into her pen and as I turned the corner, sure enough, there she was, locked into one of the dog pens with the dog.

Admittedly, part of me just wanted to stand there and laugh my ass off. The dog was clearly just as scared and confused as she was. I mean, the dog must have been thinking, "What the hell is this lady doing in my pen?!?".

After letting her out, she explained that the dog didn't want to return to it's pen, so she walked in first and the dog followed (a successful & commonly used technique), but this time, the gate closed and locked behind the dog with the lady stuck inside!


Carma came back to bite me in the ass, because later that afternoon when I was walking the exact same dog, I got myself locked in the exact same pen! Except, instead of having a kind volunteer come and rescue me, I scared the crap out of a young couple looking to adopt a new dog.

Here's to hoping that I didn't traumatize that young couple too much and they're happily at home, reading this blog entry with their newly adopted dog :)