It was our first weekend at “The Pooch,” our Doggy Daycare & Boarding facility in Denver, ten years ago, right about this time of year. My husband had this crazy idea about owning one of these businesses and we found a fledgling one and bought it. It came complete with a small group of dogs already in their kennels, staying over for the hot and stifling weekend in June.
With no employees to help, we arrived early and eager to get to know our guests. How hard could it be after all? Just let them all out to romp and play and splash in our bone shaped doggy pool. Will ran outside to set everything up and I quickly moved down the main kennel hall, not even knowing how to unlock the kennels. He rushed back in and we figured it out together.
But by then, the dogs had pottied, their excitement over these new owners who wouldn’t unlock their doors was just too much for them. We got them outside and I didn’t know where to begin. There was the shepherd puppy who finger painted in her poo and the trail of urine going down the entire path to the outside. The best part of my morning? The immense 200 pound Saint Bernard named Abbey that had been sick all over her gigantic dog bed.
Holy cow! I was ready to run out the front door. There was no one to help me, so I donned those rubber gloves up to my elbows and dove in, so to speak. Her owner was feeding her the cheapest of food, canned Alpo and Beneful, Purina’s attempt to disguise garbage with cute little green and red and orange kibble that are supposed to resemble vegetables. Not.
After getting the kennels in tip top shape, I went outside to see how Will was holding up. He had his hands full, trying to keep the playground clean while keeping everyone out of trouble. It’s a wonder we survived those early days. I hosed down Abbey’s bed the best I could, and hosed her down outside as well. it would be 10 months before we could add grooming to our services.
It was a repeat every day for the next week for Abbey She snapped at the other dogs and us, she obviously didn’t feel well I let her owner know that we were doing our best to keep Abbey comfortable and somewhat clean during her stay. She wasn’t happy at all. On the appointed day, she arrived in a taxi, a yellow taxi used to pick up business people on their way to the airport, not somewhat shitty 200 pound dogs that needed to catch a ride home.
She sauntered through the door with a fancy suit on, dripping in gold jewelry. We had never met before, she had checked in with the old owners. The owner was livid when Abbey rounded the corner, clean but with matted fur from the daily sudsy hosings outside. While the taxi waited outside with the meter clicking away, she barraged me with nasty comments about how we should not be in business without proper grooming facilities, about what awful business owners we were, and I wondered why we had gotten into this shitty business in the first place!
They drove off in a huff, the taxi driver having to help stuff that enormous, 200 pounds of matted fur ball into the taxi. It was such a hilarious sight, that the week of Abbeys accidents quickly faded away. Welcome to the world of pet sitting.