It is Whickham Walkies’ anniversary (thank you to Jo Proctor for reminding me of this). I want to send a very big thank you to all my loyal clients and doggies and an extra special big thank you to my husband who has been so supportive throughout the year (and of course not forgetting my beautiful Labrador for behaving very well, most of the time – funnily enough not today – and for all her lovely uniqueness).
- getting to know each of the dogs and puppies I care for and understating their breeds, characters and little quirks that make them so unique and loveable;
- seeing the wagging tails when I arrive and the pooped out pooches when I leave;
- feeling the pride when all the practice and work put in by clients, trainers and myself starts to pay off, whether it’s responding really well to recall, sitting rather than jumping up when you say hello, walking off lead for the first time, dropping something (or even better leaving it and not picking it up in the first place), going to the toilet on command, playing tug of war nicely with another dog, letting you walk through a door before barging ahead of you – when it happens and it all clicks into place, it’s really satisfying to know you were part of the improvement;
- having so much fun in the snow (there really has been A LOT of fun);
- as well as all of the beautiful walks we’ve had and the changing beauty throughout the seasons which, when I occasionally have a second to take it in, takes my breath away.
A very recent highlight has been the launch of my Dapper Dog Photography service and some of the beautiful photos that we were able to provide to clients. I was also granted a licence from Gateshead Council this year for dog boarding, a useful and convenient service for my customers should they need it. I have also just upgraded my dog walking car so that the doggies I walk can be a bit more comfortable – at last!
Some of the most memorable moments this year have included:
- having to find a pulse on a dummy dog during my canine first aid training and bandage up its paws;
- seeing some of the puppies I walk absolutely terrified of the same big blue balloon (you kind of had to be there);
- being slightly concerned that two red kites were going to swoop down and fly off with the Jackhuahua puppies I was looking after – they were sooo tiny and the kites looked very interested in them and very hungry;
….and memorable for all the wrong reasons…
- finding a junior Labrador who had managed to eat through a laminate floor and underlay right through to the concrete (plus rugs, plus wine rack) and having to deliver the news;
- getting my head, neck and ears totally covered in big splodges of bog mud after one on my dogs had a mud bath and flicked his paw at me (his aim was impressive);
- getting literally wrapped in leads from two rather exuberant dogs and ending up on my back side (I’m sure it won’t be the last time).
There have been sad times: saying goodbye to Ginny a lovely puppy that I walked; and fond farewells to a border collie who has moved on. I will always remember going to say goodbye to her owners and her legs were blue, having just eaten a biro (I wish her and her owners/trainers a lot of good luck); and the little Jackhuahuas, who I miss very much (as I’ve said in an earlier post) I have very high hopes for swing ball!
There have been mad times: days when you’re tested to the limit and everything seems to have regressed – everything that had gone perfectly the day before is turned on its head; when you have to dig in and remember consistency and patience are key and that it will all pay off in the end! But my least favourite moments are when we have medical incidents (thankfully rare but unfortunately they occasionally happen), poorly tummies, bites, stings, allergies; and a trip to the vet is required – brain clicking in, contacting customers, trying to stay calm and remember the first aid training and sort it all out.
Through the highs, the lows, the blizzards, the baking heat and the side ways rain, there has never been a doubt in my mind though that this is the job for me and I just very much hope I am lucky enough to be able to continue with this much success next year.
To anyone out there interested enough to read this, thank you so much for your support, from Leanne at Whickham Walkies x