25 CommentsBlogfests, Dogs, Dogsitting Adventures - Chapters, Memoir

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Dogs have always been part of my life; a love passed down from generation to generation. Protracted unemployment in the early 90s required some creativity. Thus, my pet care business was born. This is a continuing series.
(Click HERE for more chapters)


Luke, Chapter One, ADventures in DogsittingI first met Luke when he was only 9 months old. What a magnificent dog! A beautiful White Shepherd, (aka Snow Shepherd or Swiss Shepherd), the likes of which I had never seen before. It was my weekly assignment to take him out for some exercise while his owners were work. The first day, he was barking furiously and ready to attack before I got through the door! This was a little nerve-wracking, but I was hoping he would calm down, once he picked up my scent. Our initial meeting had been a few days prior and he had given me a thorough “once over”. With outstretched hand, palm up, I tiptoed in. Luke bounded at me, then stopped to sniff. He looked up as if to say “oh yes, I remember you” and started to wag his tail. Big sigh of relief escaped my lips!

I grabbed the leash from the wall and he started “talking” to me. “Rawr, rawr, rawr , rawr” [~Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go~]. This made me smile. So impatient! We got in the car and headed for the park. There was fur flying everywhere and as the years passed, the old “dogmobile” would house a permanent “Lukehair” blanket, (others’ too, of course, but not so obvious).

Apparently, I wasn’t driving fast enough. From the back seat, Luke leaned into my right ear . “Rawr, rawr, rawr, rawr” [~Are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet?~]. This continued until we arrived at our destination; quite the distraction!

The dog park wasn’t ideal for Luke. He had a habit of trying to mount other males, some of whom took exception. I looked for a safer venue and found a lovely, mostly deserted green space a few miles away, where Luke could play frisbee to his heart’s content.

Luke, Adventurest in Dogsitting Chapter One

This routine went on for years. Luke also enjoyed many vacations at my house. We were forever bonded. ♥ He started deteriorating around the age of 10. First, there was a problem with his spleen and it had to be removed. There were stomach problems, too. I remember once he had a bad case of diarrhea, all over my car. What a mess! The poor boy was so mortified!

After Luke’s human Mommy, Lorraine, began working from home, I only saw him occasionally. She contacted me one summer’s day, when Luke was 13, to relay the sad news that he had cancer. “He’s not suffering and we’ll keep him comfortable as long as possible”, she said. My heart sank, but, I tried to remain positive, for her sake. Told her how much we loved him and that she and her husband were wonderful to give him this chance. Not all dog owners would. There was no further news until the dreaded call came, shortly before Christmas. Luke had passed away peacefully, in his sleep, overnight. Lorraine and I were both sobbing into the phone, as I tried to console her. Losing a client’s dog is almost as heart wrenching as losing my own and this scene has been repeated often, over the years.

Luke will forever remain in our hearts. He truly was one of a kind!

© D.D.B. 2012

Debbie D. on FacebookDebbie D. on GoogleDebbie D. on InstagramDebbie D. on LinkedinDebbie D. on PinterestDebbie D. on RssDebbie D. on TwitterDebbie D. on WordpressDebbie D. on Youtube
Debbie D.

Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada, known as “The Doglady”. Writer/website owner, photographer, animal lover, music fanatic, inveterate traveller. History, literature and cinema buff. Eternal “hippie/rockchick”. Binational, German/Canadian and multilingual. Looking for the next adventure!

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  1. I just love reading your post, I can feel every emotion you describe and it just broke my heart about Luke and I’ve only known him for the time it took me to read this post :). It made me think about my furbabies and I just hugged mine so tight he gave me that “what the heck is wrong with you” look because I disturbed his nap 🙂

    I can only imagine what kind of bounds you build with the pets in your care and how much it hurts when you get news like that. How do you handle it?

    Lovely post Ms. D!

    1. Hi Corina; Thanks so much for reading and leaving me this heartfelt comment. It breaks my heart when any of my clients’ dogs pass away, especially the long-term ones, but I take comfort in the fact they were well-cared for and happy, both at home and with me. I cry, and that’s a release, of sorts.

  2. Hello Debbie nice post and a great looking dog indeed, I also have a spot in my heart for mans best friend because they are always there for you no matter what.

    Thanks so much for the share my friend

    1. Hi Rob; Yes, Luke was very handsome. 🙂 That’s so true about animals – they offer unconditional love. You’re welcome and thank YOU for visiting and taking the time to leave a comment.

  3. Found this through the Sandra’s Old Post Hop! I always enjoy reading about experiences with animals, even though I don’t have any pets at this point of my life. Looking forward to reading more!

  4. What a beautiful story! Thanks for coming to visit and for leaving such a lovely comment. Got me over here and I like it :-).
    following you now

  5. we have our first dog ever and he’s only 5 months. But a already cant bear the thought of anything happening to him! touching post.

    1. Awww, just a sweet little pup! I know, the time will pass much too quickly and yes, that is the hardest part about having a dog. No matter how many times you go through it, it never gets any easier, But it is absolutely worth all the wonderful years you do share together. Glad you liked the post and thank you for visiting. 🙂

  6. Debbie, I am absolutely going to love reading your blog. I am a dog lover too and took the plunge a few months ago and became a foster mommy for furry friends in need. I work with a miniature schnauzer rescue and did my very first adoption the Weds before Thanksgiving. I am very active with my dogs and fosters as well walking them daily and working on training. It was the perfect solution for my mild midlife crisis. Lol. All that to say, I will love to hear about your adventures with dogs!

    Cheers, Jenn

    1. Hello Jenn and welcome! 🙂 Sounds like you are enjoying your furry friends and what a great service you are providing for them. Really appreciate the time you took to visit and comment. Have a good weekend.

  7. I had tears in my eyes as I read the end of this lovely story, Debbie. Your clients are very lucky to have a dog sitter who obviously loves and cares for their dogs as much as they do.

    Don’t know how on earth I’m going to handle it when either of our dogs dies – I just dread the thought.


  8. Luke was a real beauty. Wow. Our first shepherd passed of bone cancer at 12 and a half. It’s heart breaking. It’s so good to see someone who obviously loves what they do. 🙂

    1. My sympathies about your Shepherd. 🙁 Yes, it never gets any easier, does it? Dogs have been a huge part of my life and always will be. Thank you for stopping by.

  9. what a wonderful story. It is great to hear the love professional dog walkers and sitters have to the pets they care for. The pets in your care really do become part of your family as well. Maggie, loved her walker in NYC and was sad when we had to move.