When we met Sammy, a female Australian shepherd mix, her owner was thrilled that we were able and willing to take her dog for daily mid-day walks because poor Sammy experienced plenty of disappointment prior to meeting us. The first disappointment occurred when Sammy’s owner, Sue, invited a potential dog walker to her home so the two could get acquainted but unfortunately, Sammy wasn’t in the mood to meet her! Sammy would not greet the dog walker but instead chose to view her from afar which led the dog walker to believe that Sammy wasn’t ready to become her client. Poor Sammy, she didn’t make friends with strangers quickly enough!
Amos and I have heard of pet sitting companies refusing certain dogs as clients based on unfavorable behavior issues, but we never thought of refusing service to timid dogs! We know shy dogs need a lot of TLC and are not going to won over in just one thirty minute visit; we believe shy dogs are insecure and it is our job to reassure them with lots of praise, encouragement, and understanding. We are willing to “court” a dog for as long as it takes because once the trust is established (and it will happen) we will be rewarded with sloppy kisses from a confident, happy dog!
When the dog walking idea flopped, Sue decided to enroll Sammy into doggie daycare thinking that it would give Sammy the opportunity to socialize with lots of other dogs and get plenty of exercise while Sue was at work; Sue told the daycare workers that Sammy was shy but with a little coaxing, Sammy would play with the other dogs, because, after all, Sammy enjoyed playing with large groups of dogs, especially during her daily trips to the Hooksett Dog Park. Well, at the end of Day One at the daycare, Sue expected to hear that Sammy was worn out from playing with her new dog friends; instead, she learned that Sammy stayed in her kennel area alone because Sammy was timid and would not join the group. Obviously, I was not at the daycare to witness what happened but I’d like to think that Sammy was encouraged to play with the dogs, that an attendant was an active participant in helping Sammy feel comfortable in the play area, and that Sammy received some individualized attention throughout the day, but unfortunately, Sammy cannot tell me how she felt at the daycare, but it would be nice to get her perspective, wouldn’t it? All I know is that Sue expected more from the daycare and hopes she never has to take Sammy there again which is sad because doggie daycares are a Godsend to many dogs and their owners; however, some dogs do not feel comfortable in such a busy environment.
After hearing about Sammy’s experiences, Amos and I talked excitedly about our future walks with our new four-legged friend and look forward to meeting her tomorrow!