Hi there! Pet Gal Jen here. I have been with the company since July of 2015 and can honestly say, what a life change! Working with animals every day is a real blessing and I am extremely thankful for this experience. Recently, I was asked to write up a few things for Pet Gal. As with most things in my life, I am willing to take on new challenges. The last three years of my life were spent as the GM of a local restaurant. We had a “managers log” that was filled out each shift. As the GM, I had the ability to modify this log to include or not include whatever categories my little heart desired. I customized them for our management team to focus on strengths and weaknesses each shift. My managers dreaded my logs because they were filled with so much of everything. Attention to detail!!! Thoroughness has never been my weakness. I liked to think of them as entertaining in many ways. So, we shall try that here.
As a Pet Gal, our primary task is taking care of animals while their owners are away. We all have our regular clients that we visit on a daily or weekly basis. We know them, they know us (the dogs and cats). We know their behavioral ins and outs, when something is wrong, or when they are in an exceptionally good mood. One of the cutest things is when the owners are home; the dogs are usually pretty fussy about going for their walks. They do not want to leave their owners. Quite an amazing sign of loyalty.
I have started to notice a pattern with most of my regular dog clients. Those that have toys lying around will bring me one when I come in their house (after I have been verified). Previously, I thought that it was more of an “oh, look what I got”, but as time has gone by, it is seemingly obvious they are bringing me a gift, in exchange for playtime, a walk, or maybe even a treat! It is such an amazing thing to witness, time after time. If only I had a video camera on my head, haha.
Pepper is one of my amazing success stories. I have met her incredibly kind owner several times and have been walking her three times a week since I started with The Pet Gal. She is a Black Lab mixed with a little Pittie; if I had to guess. She just turned five years old. Her owner has had her since she was six months old. I picked up on her anxiety and extreme fearfulness on my first visit. It seemed like a stubborn behavior, but in reality, she was terrified of almost everything. I could barely walk her a block down in her apartment complex the first few walks. I started running her a block or so, but she got tired quickly because it was 100 degrees on the black pavement (duh!). Me, too! I felt like I had tried everything. I started walking her through a newly opened gate in the next door complex. This was a game changer! There were fewer storm drains, which are her biggest fear. I remember the day we walked almost 20 whole minutes in this complex!!! So exciting. And she had a huge smile on her face afterward.
We soon progressed into a 1.5-mile walk every visit! Through the neighborhood and across Pond Springs Road. A slightly busy street, through gates and gutters, was a huge obstacle for her. We have kept this up every day now for over three months! She has been one smiley Pepper. She is in great shape now and has been excited to meet many new friends. She has broken all the barricades that have been scaring her. She has built up so much more confidence. She is so happy!
I had a wonderful talk with her owner recently about her incredible progress. I let him know our special route through the neighborhood, by the park and soccer field, and how much mental stimulation she gets! He is so excited for her, and I think he found himself a new route for her, too! As long as everyone avoids the storm drains!!
Long story short. Since Pepper has been taking our adventure walks, she has been bringing me a gift every day when I walk in her door. She waits for me to sit on the couch before she drops it in my lap. I give her a small high-value treat and then ask her if she is ready for a walk. She jumps up and down in place with excitement. As compared to a complete fear of leaving her “safety zone” in the recent past. What a good girl. It makes me so happy to see her so happy and enjoying being a dog.