Not Just a Dog Walker...
I have been struggling to write this post for the past week. I’ve started it, deleted it, changed it, lost it! So, I have chosen to write it here on my blog in the hope I will be more articulate, and you will understand.
I know that part of the charm of my business and for me to take care of your animals, is that I try to make it a very personal service and endeavour to tailor the service you require to your needs, as best as I possibly can. I know not all pet services offer this as I do. I do my level best to bond with your animals, get to know them and understand their little nuances and personalities, whatever the breed or type of animal, as after all we have to trust one another. Whilst I am not perfect and have much more to continue to learn, I have gathered a lot of experience from the 9 years that I have been doing this and I am proud to say I am pretty good at what I do.
My job over the years has become much more than just a dog walker or cat feeder. In the day to day work I ensure your pets are happy and healthy, letting people know if there are any changes in health or behaviour. I ensure the dogs in particular have good well being when out with me. I do see them as my own when we are together, and we often chat and play. Its an absolute pleasure and honour to get to know all the animals in my care. I consider the weather whether it be super cold, super wet or super hot. This is all evident on my Facebook page; happy animal photos.
But what you don’t see is all the things behind the scenes where I step in the last minute if there is a family crisis, the bond and trust I also have to build with the owner of the pets, plans I cancel for my business, sleeping on the sofa because a lockdown puppy has never had the opportunity to stay away from family before and they are anxious and scared when they first stay, pets that need extra special attention due to anxiety, age or illness, sadness with pet bereavement or a pet moving house. And my favourite thing to do is helping with a young dog new to a household, giving before and after care and advice.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about any of that, on the contrary I love that part of the business and my job. I want to make it clear that I am not JUST a dog walker (and yes people have said that to me).
Recently though I’ve been receiving a large number of changes to the service required, requests coming through at the last minute or late at night, last minute cancelations and change of dog boarding or pet visiting dates, and differing times of drop off/pick up or people not sticking to times they have said they would arrive at the house. I do my best to keep up but now it has started to become an issue and to be quite honest I am frazzled.
My aim is always to offer the best service I possibly can, and I hate saying no, sorry, I cannot help. So, because of this I am implementing a number of guidelines and polices. It all feels a little official and makes me feel rather awkward but sadly I have no other choice at this time. Please note this is not a veiled attempt at having a go at any one in particular, this is happening all the time by many owners, and I don’t think any of it is being done maliciously or to cause upset. I have to make it clear that I am struggling to keep up and the last thing I want to do is let anyone down or forget someone or something.
Times – day care and dog boarding
I am going to be ensuring times for drop off and pick up are prearranged or confirmed each day or each time your dog stays with us. Times are varying more and more frequently, and I sadly cannot accommodate all the requests. I understand traffic slows us down, our days change, but where possible I need to stick with the times discussed.
Whilst it may not seem obvious, my work is surprisingly time sensitive. If you are running late, it has a knock-on effect for the rest of the day. And arriving early can have a similar effect or I may not be ready; I may think I have time to just get out on a dog walk, or do some other work, only to be interrupted or delayed. Also, Ben works from home and the dogs are with him if I am not there, but he is sometimes in a meeting on Zoom so will need to have a time to ensure he is free. I politely ask if you just let me know if you are going to be late or early.
Dog Boarding and Pet Visits
I sadly do not have any availability now for the rest of the year for boarding (I still have availability for pet visits). If you have already made bookings with us leading up to the end of December they all still stand, but I am sorry we cannot accommodate anything else. Below I have included all the councils in the area and their lists of registered dog boarders for you to try. I cannot advise who to go with, but I can advise on what to ask, look for and discuss with the dog boarder you contact.
If dates and times change, please inform us asap. There have been some occasions where flight times have changed, or people have added days on to their holidays, assuming I can accommodate the changes. I always do my best to ensure we can still have your dog, but we do have time away ourselves or other things booked to do and if you change the dates, you originally requested, we may not be available. Looking for a reliable person to board your dog last minute is not something I would want you to do.
I am not taking bookings for 2023 until January and there will be a change in how we do this and what will be available. It will be more restricted in order for me to make sure we have rest time.
Service request and changes
I have to plan my week of walks, daycare, boarding, and pet visits each Saturday. I do it all then to ensure I do not miss any one off and I can fit everyone and everything in. If you ask me mid-week or even on a Monday to add or change something, I currently may not be as flexible as I have been in the past. Again, I hate to say no but it may not actually be possible to fit your dog in, I am not being awkward.
Communication and times
I get messages via all different types of social media and through text and whatsapp, often from the same people. It's becoming more difficult to keep up and work out who wants what and when. I find myself searching around for messages and getting frustrated because I know I have seen it, but I don’t know where!
To contact me via phone plus text and whatsapp 07854085663
Rather than use my personal messenger can you please contact me through the Cambridge Dog Lodge
If can keep all these simple and cause less confusion, it means I am not risking letting anyone down.
Just a note if you are messaging me after 6 pm or before 8 am in the morning, unless it is an emergency, it will probably be the next day or a number of hours later when you get a response. If it is for something you want to change for the next day, I cannot guarantee I can make the change.
My holidays and time off
I give my holiday dates and time off in advance to cause the least issues for my owners. I would really appreciate it you could let me know in advance if you don’t need me to walk your dog or for them to be on daycare. Again, I completely understand emergencies happen, people are ill, plans change, but if you book a holiday or time off and you are not going to need me for that time period, can you let me know as soon as possible, and not a few days before.
My pet business is not just a job or a hobby, it is a way of life for me which I suppose you would say is my vocation. I love the animals I take care of and treat them all as mine. Some might say it’s all part of my master plan to enable me to have lots of animals in my life. This does however mean I am often not off duty or have much downtime. Despite this, I still need time off and I still need to switch off from what I do. This is why I am insisting on the times for contact and ask to be informed of any changes to your times and dates with advanced notice, not just before leaving with no choice.