Sunday, July 18, 2004
I survived Friday's Nine-Dog Day - and had a great time doing it!
I was anxious about this day all week. It was challenging enough having two extra dogs every day last week but Friday's challenge had me spinning before I even got out the door. A fellow dogwalker was on vacation for her wedding last week. And another dogwalker took Friday off to attend the wedding. So I had two dogs from one group and two from another - plus my own rambunctious group.
They all know each other from the park, but until this week, they had never shared a ride together. And truly, I had the biggest dog I've ever met. His face is the size of Otis' entire body. And his heart is the size of the universe. He weighs more than I've ever weighed soaking wet, in a snowsuit, carrying luggage! But still, my bark is bigger than his.
I considered splitting Friday's group into two separate runs. And at the last minute, I decided to wing it and see if I could handle the entire pack at one time. It's one thing if these dogs were already part of our group. There's a dynamic set up between them. They communicate and work all that out in the first week. Friday, they had to do it in the first few minutes! And you know what? They totally did. It was amazing. Guess who got to ride shotgun!
I knew it was going to be a raging hot day. I rinsed my hair in cold water and put it up in ponytails so it would lift off my neck. I left the house with my hat on. And it stayed there all day.
On my way, I stopped for my favorite coffee. And for the first time, everyone who works there - the same people I've seen for a year - discovered I'm a dogwalker. Suddenly, for some reason, this made them all friendlier to me. It wasn't just, "Oh, that's nice." They practically threw a ticker-tape parade. I've never been greeted with such excitement and enthusiasm about being a dogwalker. One guy could hardly believe it. "You're a dogwalker? That's what you do? For a living? Oh wow. That's awesome. I love dogs. I wanna be a dogwalker." [Now I know where to find extra help when I need it.] He was still talking as I said my goodbyes, practically waving and blowing kisses. As if I was being sent off to the Peace Corps.
Aside from the great fun we had, it's also the most dirty I've gotten in a while. Then again, I don't always wear shorts. Maybe my long pants get just as dirty on other days as my bare legs did on Friday. Before you freak out, that's only mud and dirt on my legs.
One thing I didn't consider when I put my hair in ponytails Friday morning was the amount of sun my open back would receive. Hellooooo sunburn! I didn't notice it till I hit the shower - or rather, till the shower hit me. It's been so overcast that I haven't had to wear sunblock for two months. But last week it got into the 90s. I hope it cools off. Otherwise, it's just too hot to give the dogs exercise - other than a stroll to the waterhole and back to the resting spot under the shade.
I certainly earned my pay last week. And I'll do it again and again. I still say, bring it on!