Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The dangers of paperwork

Now I can think of many dangers whilst doing paperwork but the most time consuming one is reading and updating the pet forms.

Not only do you lose hours you also are transported back in time.  Odd little notes I have written in the margins give you a snippet of a time you have nearly forgotten.  

Drift was an old man.  A grumpy old man, his margin note was Very very fat, pretty grumpy actually really grumpy, bad hips?  Bites and doesn't like men!    He wasn't even old but when you met him he was like a little ol' grumpy man.  You could serve a full english breakfast on his back but you know he was canny.

Dylan a chocolate lab.  Just a pup when I went to go see him he had already worked out exactly what he wanted and that was mostly what his owners didn't want him to do.  Oh he was hard work!  This time it wasn't so much what I wrote on his margins as remembering vividly being gutted that by the time we have worked hard to turn him into a well rounded lovely dog they moved.

Denzel and Harley were tall elegant cats Both so alike that I had written clear instructions on who was who by their markings....Denzel was mostly white with a black nose where as Harley had a white chin mostly black with white.  Once I got to know them I didn't need the descriptions after reading them it took me right back.

Dill and Daisy....two Westies.  I had never used a spray collar until I had met Dill.  I phoned my dad one day, I probably didn't need the phone I still remember him wincing as he answered the phone and I screeched down the phone that I wasn't gonna walk this doe eyed, white haired wassick ever again and he was going to have a longline surgically attached to him if he ever wanted to be let off again.  Dill ran off in an secure area( no mention of him being a confirmed runaway on his form!)whilst I practised recall with him, he refused to come back.  I actually smiled for just a moment when it started to rain and I walked quietly to my van after locking everything up and sat and watched him gad about thinking what fun he was having, soon to be followed by where is everyone else I want to play chase, to starting to feel a bit bored, then he decided he didn't like rain so he sat under a tree.  I waited still.  It took four whole hours.  Then he gave up, I called him and he came.  Sigh.  Needless to say I like a challenge so continued to walk him on a line until I set it up with a spray collar and as he ran off I timed it spot on and he stopped like he had had a bucket of water on him.  Running off thereafter no longer seemed the best game ever.  It is the only thing that ever worked.  The owner admitted that if she ever let him off she just gave up and headed home he found his own way home!

Flopsy was in a way well named.  Without doubt the fattest cat I ever met.  Now Tom was always and is still way to big but Flopsy was in a different league.  I even remember her reaction to my face when I first saw her.  Already unusual this queen was ginger and ginger cats are generally male.  But she looked like she had consumed a beachball.  Being as diplomatic as ever I quietly but firmly stated I would not be continuing to over feed her whilst the owner went on holiday!  Slightly incredulous I stared when her mum said she doesn't like to jump so it was safe to let her in the garden.  Urm she couldn't get up the step never mind jump the fence I even wonder if the fence wouldn't splinter!  It took time but with me helping( nagging, cajoling in fact anything to get her to lose weight) she managed to become at least just plump.

Grace.  Dalmation bitch.  Suffers occasionally from a sore back.  How was I to know Grace would steal my heart?  A stunningly beautiful bitch it is hard to just describe her as a dalmation bitch.  I was lucky enough to walk Grace daily for many years and even seeing her form makes me smile and sad.

Isis and Hedra's form states simply and clearly.  NO RECALL in bold letters.  Mmmm I recall tested these two and these were two huskies I knew recall training would merely be done via a longline always held firmly!  Even at the field completely fenced in they would leave you instantly and patrol the field endlessly hoping to find a hole or escape route.  I once received a phonecall off a very calm owner asking if I was heading for Stanley.  I had said funnily enough I was and why?  Oh Isis and Hedra have headed that way.  WHAT?!!!!!
Sure enough they had escaped from the garden went straight along the road through Perkinsville, along to the A693 and were trotting hard on the path up the A693.  I nearly fainted.  They were eventually headed off the road and trapped in a corner before they were caught.  Still trotting and barely tired.

Tyler was the very first official dog I took on and being a husky I learnt a lot from him.  His recall was excellent after some years of practise though we couldn't trust him near sheep, oh when I had him he thought Sheep were the supermodels of the dog world.  Strange lad haha.  We had so many adventures with Tyler and later Tegan but I will always remember him for being the first and teaching me so much.

Barney the cockers form merely stated.  Could be interesting.
Oh lordy he was like many red cockers at that time he was a split personality.  Willing to use whatever arsenal he had to prove his point he would come out to say hi ask to go with me then walk behind the sofa.  You certainly didn't go behind the sofa to get him or you would feel his teeth so I worked out ingenious ways of persuading him to come and get his lead on.  His barking made my ears and head ring not helped by grandma Barney saying you best get him he bites me!  He had never been taught recall mainly because when he came back he would bite so we played a merry game of come with me but lets just agree to respect each others space.  His was a management issue rather than train for a better temperament.  We trained and he learnt but if the red mist came down he would even bite himself.

Occasionally the warning or note was more about the owner.  One who shall remain anonymous made me feel I needed a lie down afterwards.  No wonder the dogs were up a height as the owner resided high up in the stratosphere....Now I can talk( no kidding?) and I talk fast but nothing compares to this customer. I eventually learnt to tell him to stop and just tell me in a few words what he meant.  He fell out with everyone and everything so it came as a bit of a surprise when I had to 'sack' him as a Petnanny dad because of bad behaviour!

Another lady I worked with was a Vicar or was she a parson/ priest eek?  She had two border terriers.  The notes in the margin said:  Bad with dogs, bad with people.  Will kill little animals and owner bad payer!  Unfortunately I have no idea how I knew and indeed why I took her on if I knew she wouldn't want to pay!  The dogs were noisy and reactive but far better than I hoped and they enjoyed their training but indeed she was a terrible player and I had more bouncy cheques off her than I have ever had bouncy balls.....a woman of the cloth too tut tut

One booking form had doodles on and I'd put never met a Rastafarian rabbit before.  SHe was very difficult to groom so I was booked in to groom her bunny whilst they were away.  Now this did bring me out in a cold sweat.  Angry bunny, dreadlocks and a pair of scissors will strike fear into the heart of most professionals.  Rabbits skin is like tissue paper.  Literally but the alternative was her getting fly strike again( before I cared for her) so we gently battled on for a whole week snip by snip and I was proud to have on one tear in Rasta Rabbit!  Shudder

Jessica didn't really have any interesting insights in her margin but I do remember her vividly.  All the owners I meet are dedicated to their dogs( in degrees) you don't book and pay for a Petnanny unless you dearly love your dog.  Jess's mum loved that lab with all her heart.  I had to go for weeks and weeks before she entrusted her baby to my individual care.  She was such a lovely peachy colour and again too fat so we worked slowly on reducing her weight.  Over time I wasn't needed and I didn't meet up with Jess and her mum for some time and what a suprise it was when I met them.  Jess had had a heart attack some years down the line and she was fitted with a state of the art pace maker up in Edinburgh.  One of the first pet dogs to be fitted with one.  She looked fit and well, a lot slimmer and other than the shaved areas and scars I would never have known.

Denby's margin read.  Golden retriever or polar bear?
He was big.  I mean St Bernard big.  I am guessing if someone gently secretly sent off a dna test there would be Pyrenean mountain dog in there!  Looking back what struck me most was the Denby size unhoovered marks left behind.  A clear statement that sleeping dogs where left to lie in this household.  He had a knack of lying down when in disagreement of your suggested route.  Inevitably because the route you had chosen was a longer slightly more strenuous route.  Having never been moved before he was quite taken aback when he lay down in the road in front of a car attached to me and I bit by bit shifted him.  Sweating and cursing not unlike the day though far less dramatic than the day the great Dane Harley did the same on Saltwell road infront of a bus full of passengers.  He never tried it again I got the impression he would have phoned puppyline if he had been able.

Well it is time yet again to get the sleeping dogs out of the van and give them an afternoon tootle.  I shall finish with the racist dogs.

Buffy and Willow were two West Highland Whites and their margin simply said.
They hate black dogs!

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