I’ve been reminiscing lately about how my dog journey began and how I was launched into being a Dog Walker and Dog Groomer.
After a medical diagnosis in 2011, life and perspective changed for me and it made me think how I wanted to spend my time with however many days on earth I may have. LOL Deep, eh? Or morbid? LOL
The love of being around dogs began when I was really young but I believe what made the biggest difference and best learning experience was working for a Dog Daycare and Boarding facility called Pets Get Physical in Kleinburg, ON.
Around 2013, I had adopted Bolt from a family through Kijiji. The family’s wish was that Bolt would be a companion and around someone who worked from home. They were a busy family and felt that they were not spending enough time with him. I was working from home subcontracting work from a Bookkeeper in Oakville (ON) while living in Vaughan (ON), adopting Bolt as my office assistant/companion was perfect for me. But the commute was long to pick up and drop off files and I began to wonder if I could do something else as a career.
One day I was watching a YouTube video and a dog camp-style daycare ad appeared and I thought it would be a fun place to work! So I researched where it was, it was a 30 minute commute to where I lived. I was tempted to apply for a job but then wondered if there could be anything similar and closer.
I googled Dog Daycare and Voila! Pets Get Physical came up and I emailed them to see if they were hiring.
I was contacted by Keri Lynn, the owner, was interviewed, and soon hired.
The experience was everything and more. I started off with lots of cleaning up after the dogs and keeping the building and grounds clean. Then I was taught how to pack walk dogs off leash in the open fenced in field. I absorbed as much as I could and felt like this was a dream of a job especially because Bolt was allowed to accompany me to work. Even though it wasn’t always sunshine and peachy; it was at times really dirty work and very labour intense, I can honestly say I was happy and fulfilled. Contrary to popular believe, I didn’t spend my day playing with the dogs. I was leading the dogs to pay attention to me and follow me around the field. I supervised them, exercised with them, expected them to tolerate each other and daily we would become an easy going pack that walked nicely together.
I learned a lot about Pack Leadership from Keri Lynn and I found her to be a very fair person to work for. We shared honest conversations and she was open to listening to my ideas. I noticed her innovative way of thinking and I wanted to support her and help her business grow. It was almost like I was living vicariously through her. I don’t consider myself an ambitious person and owning a big business is scary to me. However, I love to be ambitious helping others grow and I loved all the progressive changes she would make to create a safe and well functioning place for dogs to come for daycare and boarding.
I also loved seeing the changes in the dogs, observing the balance that would result from being around other dogs and learning how to behave better.
I may have mentioned in a previous blog that the dog walking began to take a toll on my body, my joints especially. My poor desk job body was not used to all the walking, when I told Keri Lynn she asked me if I wanted to groom dogs instead and I jumped on the opportunity.
I started off with bathing, drying, deshedding and trimming nails, then doing summer shave downs, then grooming 90% of the dog and leaving the head for Keri Lynn or Stephanie (the Groomer who was going on Mat leave) to do and finish the groom. Truth is, I was more of a big dog person back then and didn’t pay attention to smaller dog breeds so I didn’t know what they were supposed to look like! HAHAHA
I loved dog grooming and I did it for several months until my carpal tunnel kicked in, my hands and arms were experiencing so much pain that I made Osteopath, Massage, and Physiotherapy appointments. I knew I needed to to take a break.
Leaving was a hard decision, I really liked working for Keri Lynn and being at Pets Get Physical. I had learned so much. I’ve always held fond memories of PGP and wanted to write about it for years, I write this in 2020 and I’m still so grateful for all my experiences through working there. And my experience has made me into the Dog Walker and Groomer I am today.
Key take aways from working there were
-a tired dog is a good dog
-be a good pack leader for your dog
-everything in moderation and balance
For more information on Pets Get Physical, please visit http://www.petsgetphysical.com or on Instagram @petsgetphysical
Keri Lynn has put up great short training videos on her YouTube channel, check them out here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCY9x10ybwEVZ-HHsHccPzcg/featured