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Monday, February 1, 2010

Today's DO(N'T): Stranger Danger

DO ask permission from both human and dog if you want to say hello, especially if you've never met the dog before.

The polite way to ask the human is to say "do you mind if I pet your dog?" ALWAYS do it before you even reach out towards the dog, because you never know if the dog is fearful or stranger-aggressive. Today, a gentleman on the street was the perfect example of a dog savvy person. He asked me first, and then asked the dog by putting his hand out, level with my pup's nose, with the back of his hand toward the dog. Once my guy had sniffed and shown his acceptance by moving towards the gentleman, he slowly rubbed under the dog's chin before moving his hand gently over the top of his head. He didn't linger too long (mostly because the light changed) but also because he was considerate and knew we might be busy. There's nothing worse than being in a hurry and having to deal with a person who wants to have an extended conversation with my charge.

DON'T solicit money from dog walkers.

This one is kind of a rant against people who get paid to stand on the streets of New York City and make me feel guilty about not saving all the poor children of the world. So if you read my blog, and you happen to be one of those fundraising people, please take note. Dog walking, though not conventional, is in fact a job. I am being paid to give dogs my full attention while they both relieve themselves and get exercise. Not only is it rude to my clients to stand and listen to the hour-long spiel that these people give about homeless children who have no food and need just pennies a day from me to survive while I'm on the clock, but it's also not fair to the dog, who has to stand quietly and wait for no discernible reason. The other problem is that the people (specifically, I'm referring to the fundraisers for Children International) line both sides of the street, so you can't walk by without being accosted. The fact is, I tend to walk down the same streets multiple times on the way to and from my dogs' apartments. And I get asked every time, by a different person. I only know so many ways to politely say no. And finally, I'm a dog walker. I'm not an investment banker. I have about $35,000-worth of student loans. I am a starving child. In fact, you should be raising money for me.

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