When dogwalking isn’t a walk in the park
Walkies!!!!! With this single word, a quietly sleeping woofer transforms into a frenetic, wide-eyed bundle of energy. The excited whining, the running in circles, and of course the furiously wagging wagger.
Truth is, dogs love nothing more than going for a walk. I sometimes think they prefer it even to din-dins. (Though I admit it’s a close call.)
They love the sniffing, the weeing, the playing, the rolling in something revolting or heavenly (depending on whether you are human or dog) and of course the chasing and catching.
THE MORE THE TERRIER?
If going for walkies with one or two dogs is fun, then going for walkies with 6 must be waaaayyyy more fun. Right?
Well yes and no.
Welcome to a day in the life of a dogwalker.
It’s Disneyland for Dogs.
But it can also, at times, be a horror show for humans.
You see, just like us, fur babies have very distinct personalities.
One of my regulars is a Staffy X Labrador called Lucy. She loves people but is scared silly by other dogs.
So when I walk her, I put her in a harness to make sure she doesn’t get too close to the other pooches. Think social distancing for doggos. Except 6 metres instead of 1.5. Any closer than that, and Lucy goes bananas.
It can be tricky trying to stay away from other woofers. Centennial Park is full of fur babies all dashing madly around and trying to make friends. So I have to be prepared to move quickly.
After Lucy, it’s time for Vince. A Staffy who only got rescued in March after spending three years on his own without doggy companions.
I usually walk Vince on his own. Sometimes we get lucky and the park is empty. Then I can take him off the leash and let him run to his heart’s content.
Last Friday, though, when we were walking home, our path was blocked by a tiny Poodle-Cross outside a café. It was crunch time for Vince. He was going to have to walk past another dog.
I managed to cajole him with some doggy treats and he moved a step closer. I repeated the drill and he did another step. But then his courage failed him and he had a bit of a barking frenzy at the Poodle. (Who wasn’t in the least bit fazed btw.)
PACKING FOR THE PACK
Next up, it’s the big one. My afternoon walk with the crew.
First up there’s Arnie, a French Bulldog, who is as quick as a Greyhound. (Over 20 metres, then he gets puffed.)
Lola, is a rescue who loves playing tuggie with any kind of rope toys.
Billie Jean, a cavoodle who loves to chase balls, but only when no other dogs are around and she knows she’ll win.
Finally there’s Loki, a one-year old English Staffy who’s a real energiser bunny.
I prepare carefully. I have to be ready for anything with these guys.
Then I grab all my standard dogwalker’s equipment. Water bottles, plastic bowls and of course, the essential poo bags.
LET THE GAMES BEGIN
We walk to the park and play a really fun game of fetch. I cheat by going to the top of a small hill and throwing the balls down. That way the doggies get to chase the ball all the way down and then jog back up. A great way to tire them out.
After 40 minutes of fetch and a vigorous tug of war with Arnie, (I swear my arm is 10cm longer now), we go and meet some of the other pooches.
Lola engages in a game of this-is-mine with a friend while Arnie and Loki play catch and chase (with the ball and each other).
For the finale, we head into the woods for an adventure. Billie Jean sees a bird and chases it into the undergrowth, (but it gets away, as usual,) and Lola finds a patch of grass that obviously smells amazing and decides to roll in it. (Sigh!!)
Finally, after two hours, 4 pooped (literally and figuratively) and happy pooches are bribed back to the car with doggy treats.
Then it’s off to their homes and straight into their comfy doggy beds for some serious dognapping.
I tell you, it’s a dog’s life alright!
If you're lucky enough to live near beautiful Bondi and are looking for an excellent dog walker, you can get in touch with Karen here.