Monday, August 11, 2008


Take a little look around this blog if you're a new-comer. You might notice I love the doggies. Dogs, dogs, dogs. Love me some doggies. Puppies, older dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs.

So it might not be terribly shocking that I decided to try a little stint of dog walking to pull in a little cash. Dog walking: cash, exercise, autonomy AND best of all: DOGS! Seems like an awfully good job for Miss Joy. Custom-made you might say.

So I went on craigslitst because I keep hearing about it. I mean people I know use it for all sorts of things. I have never used it, but I went browsing the other day and there were several dog walking agencies looking for people. Well.... it was sort of an impulse thing but I answered several. (I even answered a casting call... for the acting. Me? Act? Gosh... I could never... Yeah. Right. Somebody put me on a stage already.) There are two 'jobs' I'm good at: 1) acting, 2) um.... okay nevermind) But I figured dog walking? Hell, I'm golden. How could I not be great at that?

Welllllll. It seems that I AM great at it!

One of the craigslist ads I answered emailed me back and we set up an 'interview'. The interview was pretty much me tagging along for a couple of walks. Easy-peasy kids. Dogs love me. Men, I have some troubles, Dogs? DOGS love me. So the 'interview' went well. Although there were a couple of little tingles in my Spidey sense that were saying, Warning - Warning: this is NOT the job for you. Walk away now!" But when someone tells you 'you're hired' it's not a sucky feeling. So I thought I would take the job and write my misgivings and twitchy vibes off to the fact that I have been out of the job loop for a little over a year and a half and maybe I was just a little nervous about the whole 'commitment' thing.

So I said 'yes' and today was sent on a "training". Um, I don't know that I was actually 'trained' so much as shown where some dogs live. Which is cool, I can see it. Showing the newbie the ropes and all. That makes sense. What didn't make so much sense to me was how this operation was run.

Far as I can see walking dogs is pretty much a no-brainer. (Not that dog walkers are stupid, quite the contrary!) But I mean if you love dogs and have had a lifetime of experience with them, it's not brain surgery. If you haven't, then sure, you might need some basics. Such as: make sure they don't mess with aggressive dogs, don't let them eat stuff they find on the sidewalk, clean up after them when they poop, make sure they don't run into traffic (pretty easy to do that if you have them on a leash which, hello NYC your dogs should be on leashes!) So 'training' me did seem a little odd. But hey, again, I can see it - you know, an introduction.

The thing I was not too cool with was the rules. Because they didn't make an awful lot of sense to me and aside from the arbitrariness of them was the fact that they didn't seem to be adhered to all that much. And even more so, what bothered me was the non-walking of dogs you're being paid to WALK. The deal with this little company was to have several humans, each with one dog, bring the dogs to the park and then sit with them. Now this is not a gated dog run sort of park, just a 'sit on a bench sort of park'. SO the dogs are not actually getting much exercise - which helllllo that's what their owners are paying for - especially puppies who need to get that energy out so they don't eat your sofa! The woman who ran the thing kept harping on the fact that their clients like the fact that each dog gets personal attention, but I gotta say I didn't see that all so much. Maybe my idea of personal attention is not the same as the average persons? I dunno.... call me crazy but when there are several people, each with a dog and yet talking to each other and not much interacting with the dogs I don't see how that's actually 'personal attention'.

When we went to the park for the great doggie sit-in, I took the dog I was attached to (and yes, attached to by a leash tied to a fanny pack around my waist.) Let me stop here momentarily to state for the record that I have never once in my life before today worn a fanny pack. I do not EVER intend to wear one again. I was also advised to bring a backpack. Again, I do NOT wear backpacks. I spent 3 weeks traveling Europe after college with a huge, heavy backpack and swore at the end of that trip - over 20 years ago - that I would never wear a backpack again. Much as Robert Shaw's character in Jaws swears he will never don a lifejacket again. Because yes, it was THAT awful. Fanny backs do not have the same memories of pain and aches as backpacks, but those suckers are butt-ugly! And it goes against my sense of good taste to wear one. I did so today because of the 'rules' and because they handed it to me. So okay, I'm a good sport. Honestly, I'm terrifically easy going and more than willing to give people the benefit of the doubt so I put on the fugly pack and hooked the dog's leash to it.

But because I could not in good conscience just sit down with the dog I was being paid to WALK I ran the little guy up and down the length of the park a few times so he could get some cardio going. And not for nothing, but may I note that I also had done a 5K run earlier in the morning. So there.

Getting the dogs out of their apartments and bringing them home I would imagine that one of the more important aspects of the drop off and pick up would be to make sure that the apartment door is locked after leaving. There were a couple of times that the newbie (granted I'm a little OCD but still), the one without the keys, was the one to ask "did we want to lock this?" And yes that's just how I asked so as not to be obnoxious and say "YOU FORGOT TO LOCK THE DOOR". Because a little politeness never killed anyone.

Well.. okay long story short(er) at the end of my training stint I discovered that the walking schedules were given out on a daily basis - but not until quite late in the evening (11pm) for the next day. I dunno... the whole idea of a part-time gig was to continue to have a LIFE. Hard to do that when you don't know what your tomorrow will look like until 11pm. That was one thing BUT I was willing to give it a shot any way. Because I really wanted to be with the doggies! The other thing that appealed to me about dog walking was being with DOGS not with people. Look I'm not entirely antisocial, but there are almost always issues when you deal with people. Dogs, not so much. So I really just wanted to be given a schedule, go walk the doggies every day and be done with it. Yeah. Dream on. Dream on.

I was told to call the owner of the company (who had interviewed me yesterday) when my 'shift' was over. (There was an awful lot of checking in during and before and after walks... a little too much checking in for my tastes actually). But after the shift was done and I got home I did call. As we were discussing how many hours I wanted to do a week (20) because I wanted part time, she told me that anything less than 9-6 was part time (yeah, not so much), that everyone else wanted LOTs of work (I'm not everyone else). But okay, we're dealing with that - you want me, you'll take me for 4 hours a day and you'll LIKE it. But then... then the real deal showed itself.

Welcome to passive aggressive control-freak 101.

After praising me like I was the female Cesar Milan - everyone loved you, the dogs loved you, you're a natural, etc., etc. ad nauseam - This is what she said to me. "I don't think I can legally say this to you, but I'm going to any way. You would have to dress more appropriately. The top you had on today was far too revealing. It's really not appropriate to dress like that."

I would like you now to take a look at what I was wearing. I took this as soon as I got off the phone - right after I quit.

Yes, this is Joy wearing her Sluts Walk Puppies shirt - or as my friend Josh suggested "I'll walk your dogs AND you'll get an eyefull!" Or maybe a good slogan would be: "Let MY puppies walk YOUR puppies!"

Yeah. That's me as the slutty dog walker. Jeans, sneakers (easy spirit old lady sneakers no less), a windbreaker/raincoat and that hold back your menfolk I'm so hot v-neck tee shirt.

I know. Why would I think such ho-wear would be appropriate for walking dogs. I am such a dimwit.

Seriously, if this is inappropriate and THAT is the one complaint about this otherwise godsend to the dog-walking field, imagine what would be next. Wrong hair color? Didn't smile enough?

See I've worked in a LOT of offices and one thing about office work is that there is always ONE person with huge control issues. Always. It's like a law. These people more often than not end up in office manager positions. They love, love, love to bully people. They love people to kiss their asses and they hate anyone who is not afraid of them. Usually, as with most bullies, they are actually the most inept and insecure people you can find. But they always seem to rise to positions of 'power'. The Peter Principle in all its glory. So this personality type is one that I know well, and one that I avoid like the plague because I am the type of person they just despise - often for the most wacked-out reasons you can imagine. And I despise them: because they are bullies who pick on the people who can least defend themselves. People who NEED to keep their jobs because they are single mothers with children, or they just got a mortgage, or any number of reasons. People who the bully cannot threaten are the people the bullies hate. I guess that's why I've been hated by them. Tee-Hee! I could tell you stories about the last one. Oy. If you know me in real life, then you have heard those stories already. For the rest of you, let's wait until another time.

For now I'm going head over to the library (wheee!) and yes, I am going to wear my slut-tastic fashions. Gonna give that librarian an eyeful. maybe he has a dog I can walk? Hmmmm.


(p.s. I wore the exact same t-shirt in brown to my interview yesterday. Hmmm. Maybe blue is more slutilicious than brown?)


BetteJo said...

I say you get back on Craig's list and advertise yourself! To hell with working for someone else. I read the blog of a gal in the U.K. - being a cat person (with a large greyhound)she has her own cat minding business. It's a bit more laid back over there - and she's not in the city - but what about something like this? For dogs?

whimsical brainpan said...

What an asshat! There is nothing wrong with that shirt.

Joy Keaton said...

Bettejo - I have actually read many catcalls posts but never put it together that they also were 'a company'. Yeah... I'm quick like that!

Whim - Asshat! THAT's what I should have worn! An ASS HAT! Awesome! :)

Bella said...

I'm so sorry this didn't work out. Dog walking seems like the perfect job for you.

Maybe you can find another agency to work with? Or start something of your own? It just seems like such a great fit for you, and I wouldn't let some control-freak at one agency ruin your plans.

Keep us posted on what you decide.

Gary said...

I cannot believe you showed up at school for lunch yesterday wearing one of those slutty tees! Thank goodness there were no children around or God only knows what kind of counseling they might have needed to rid their minds of the dirty, inappropriate images. Have you no shame girl?!

Anyway, what was job number 2 now? Tee Hee. I am a five-year-old. Oh wait, that's so wrong. Never mind.