Sunday, September 12, 2010

Doggone it - I'm not guilty

As you may recall, we purchased a stray mutt a few months ago. Although we love her to bits, it's not all roses.

Don't get me wrong - she's stopped pooping and weeing in the house. Well, - OK, not quite true. When the Little Guy gets up at 7am and doesn't let her out, she sometimes comes upstairs to try to wake the teens up (good luck with that) and resorts to a giant pee on the carpet outside their rooms. I did share my disappointment with her and shoved her outside to show her where she was expected to do it, but really - can you blame her?

She doesn't pull on the leash quite so much, but when she's lying quietly on the floor in the car, exhausted, (you think) after a lengthy chase of other dogs on the dog beach, she's actually chewing through yet another leash. We are seriously considering rubbing cayenne pepper along the length of the next one to see what happens.

No, the slight disappointment about the whole experience is the attitude of some people to the fact that I employed a dog lady.

Since the kids were still in term time when mutt came home, it fell to me to walk her for an hour after taking Little Guy to school every day. When the weather is fine, it's lovely. She's rather an energetic dog though, and needs another lengthy walk later in the day. That would be me walking her before picking up Little Guy at 3.10pm. I really have two hours per day to walk this mutt? More importantly, since I can't jog more than about 5 miles per hour, is she really getting the exercise she needs? (You can't let your dog off the leash anywhere in Chicago. $500 fine.)

Initially, I heard about the dog lady as a solution to our totally unsoclialised dog. She must have been raised in a field on her own as she barked at every human and dog she encountered. The dog lady used to take small groups of dogs to beaches and parks for hours at a time which exercised Dusty and got her used to her pals in a safe environment. Now they go to the brand new exercise space which has indoor and outdoor areas. Dusty spends about 3-4 hours there, two or three times a week depending on my schedule. Plus, she comes back totally exhausted. (Mothers of boys - it's a bit like running them around to wear them out.)

So why the guilt? Actually, I don't feel guilty at all because I know the dog is getting really good cardio exercise which a Collie mix needs, but you'd think I'd taken up prostitution according to some of my (usually British) friends.

1. - "What was the point of getting a dog?"  (We got the dog for the kids, and they all think it's the best thing we've done. However, they have to go to school during the day - when the dog needs to be walked.)

2. "What? You can't even be bothered to walk your own dog?"

3. They don't need that much exercise. (Yes - they do, and they chew and are generally a pain in the arse when they're under-exercised.)

So, in a nutshell - off my back peeps.



  1. I think getting the dog walker was the responsible thing to do. It's the best thing for your dog and keeps your family happy because they get to keep a dog. You are a great pet owner and don't let anyone tell you otherwise!

  2. I NEVER walk my dog! I'd have to employ TWO dog ladies if I were you!

  3. Here's my reply:

    1. What was the point of getting a dog?

    Um, for love and companionship. And just the simple act of petting a dog can lower your blood pressure and that's before you even take walking it into consideration.

    2. What? You can't even be bothered to walk your dog?

    First of all, I know this isn't an American phenom because I watch It's Me or the Dog which is an English show and it shows plenty of dog owners in England who don't walk their dogs. Secondly, no matter how good your intentions, life gets in the way sometimes (or the weather) and you don't have time to walk them. Do they play with their kids everyday? I bet not.

    3. They don't need that much exercise.

    Some do, some don't, depending on the breed. Our golden retriever is good with a 1/2 walk but that breed is very laid back. We've tried to get her to exercise more by playing fetch but she just retrieves things two or three times and then plops down. She's done!
    Terriers and Labs need lots of exercise to burn off that energy. Your is a mutt so hard to tell what breed is the dominant but obviously it has a lot of energy.

    You're right. People need to get off your back. They don't live your life. I bet you never thought people would be as opinionated about raising a dog as they are about raising children did you? Amazing.

  4. Sorry, that should read "Yours is a mutt so hard to tell what breed is the dominant one..." I cleaned my laptops keyboard but still the keys are sticking!

  5. Sounds like a fabulous idea. I only wish I could get a Boy Lady for the Littleboys....

  6. I don't think there's any shame at all about getting a walker to help out. At least you're being proactive in looking after your pup's health. I say 'Bravo'!

  7. Firstly, I am irritated on your behalf that people would dare criticise your choices. Im surprised at some people's audacity sometimes.

    Secondly, sure, awesome if you have time to walk it (yes, ALL dogs need exercise) (oh, and yes, it would be great exercise for you) but if you dont have the time surely the next best option is to hire someone, as you have done, to keep the dog healthy?!

    I wonder what Cesar Milan would say. I think he'd approve. :)

  8. I'm from South Africa where dogs are there for protecting your house. They live outside, the run around in the garden going banzai at anything that moves and when you go to the shops, they stay at home and guard your house.

    In the UK, dogs are part of the family. They go everywhere with their owners, including to the shops, where half the time they end up sitting in a car with the windows rolled down. Now how much fun is that for a dog? But the people here seem to think that this is the more humane thing to do, rather than leaving their poor dog on it's own at home for a couple of hours.

    I don't get it at all. I completely get having a dog walker. I personally will never have a dog, even if it's the best thing for my children ever. That probably makes me the world's biggest meanie, but it's a title I'm prepared to have on this subject.

    Sorry. Mini rant over

  9. I think that you are acting responsibly.
    One thing though..... are you getting her speyed because she is in daily contact with all those doggy pals?
    Apart from that little(?) problem, it is a very good idea.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  10. I say sod the criticisers! I have yet to see anyone here just 'walk' their dog on a leash. Where I am it's all about annoying the neighbours having a dog, or they're the working variety.

    So I say wtg you, no different to a cleaner and I understand the time restraint issue totally.

  11. Maggie - we got her from the pound/shelter when she was 9 months and she came newly speyed with a big plastic collar round her neck. They are big on that over here.
    They also have to have a slew of vaccinations before they are even allowed to go to a doggie place of any type, such a daycare or boarding kennels. It's almost as strict as the kids with their immunizations for school. And costs about the same too!

  12. Rubbish excuses! Pure laziness in my book (said with burning envy). X

  13. I think it is a great idea. There is a business with a great name over here -Dogs Day Out. Hwenever thei van passes me it is always full of happy hounds, each in their own caged area and trying to get their heads out of an open window.

    You dog has certainly fallen on her paws with her new family! Sending huggles from Michelle and my rescue cat, Zebby.

  14. Fantastic idea - I have a dog walker husband! He gets up at 6.30 am wind, rain and sun - well, it was his idea to have another dog! I feel no guilt!

  15. Our dog needs (and mostly gets) a walk twice a day; like you, it's mostly me that has to do it on school days. So I send mine to doggy daycare one day a week - he loves it and it gives me a day where I can do what I want/need to do without being tied down to the hound. I also have my friend's dog and she has mine some of the time, which helps too.

    Just ignore the critics!

  16. A dog walker is a great bonus for a busy dog owning family. WE have a dog, and we work full time. The kids go to daycare and we have someone to walk the dog. Maybe there isn't any point in my having kids or a dog, but I very much enjoy the considerable time I spend with all of them. We've had the same dog walker for 5 years now and he is practically family.

    Oh, and try 'bitter apple spray' for the leash chewing if you haven't already!


The more the merrier....

Blog Archive