23 CommentsDogs, 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)


Sweet Candy ©
Sweet Candy ©

Candice was a Golden Retriever with a unique look, because of her curly coat. She also had a birthmark, right in the middle of her tongue. Such a cutie!

Her human mom, a busy executive, didn’t do any grooming, so poor Candice looked quite ratty, most of the time. This didn’t bother her at all and she went merrily through life; a dog with a sweet, fun-loving personality.

Weekday walking was the main assignment and I soon learned that Candice didn’t have any leash manners. She yanked and pulled mercilessly. Despite my best training efforts, this did not improve much over time. She also had a stubborn streak and would sit down abruptly, refusing to move. Once, this happened in the middle of a busy street! I had to give her a gentle shove in the hindquarters. Thankfully, there was no traffic at that moment.

My solution was to take her to the local leash-free park. Candice just loved playing with other dogs; a real “party animal”. Not so nice on muddy days. She would invariably end up on the ground, rolling around. Horrors! Mud is the bane of all dog handlers. I did my best to clean her up and brush out the dirt before we went home. At least she got a good grooming out of it!

muddy golden

This continued for several years, until I retired from such a gruelling schedule. My various infirmities were making it less and less pleasant to be out in bad weather for hours at a time, so, home boarding became my primary focus.

Candice would stay with me two or three times a year and she was a lovely house guest; always congenial and fun-loving. Just thinking of her now, makes me smile.

Candice (r) and her boyfriend Rudy ©
Candice (r) and her boyfriend Rudy ©

Another interesting thing about Candice was her TV viewing habit. She actively followed the action and barked furiously, every time an animal came on screen. They say dogs can’t see two-dimensional images, but, obviously, she could. No nature programs when Candice was in residence. Too noisy!

tv watching dogs

Candice’s last visit was a couple of years ago , when she was about 11 years old. It makes me wonder (and worry) why I haven’t heard from her mom in so long. Sadly, I fear the worst. Most clients let me know when the inevitable happens, but not every one.

Miss you, Candy!

© D.D.B. 2013

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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. Candy could actually see what was happening on the TV screen? That’s unusual. I had one dog who did that, but only occasionally. It’s sad when dog owners don’t inform people who love their dogs about the dog’s ups and downs.

    1. I’ve known a few others dogs who watch TV, but most of them don’t pay attention. Dog owners just don’t think about it, I guess when it comes to letting me know what’s happening with their dogs. Some do, though

  2. I don’t do well with muddy dogs Debbie and Candice would have been a handful for me. I know, I like the smaller ones myself but my sister loves the bigger ones.

    Kayla doesn’t necessarily watch TV but when she hears a dog barking she’s staring right at them on the TV set and barking along with them. She’s the funniest thing so I know what you mean.

    I couldn’t do what you do because I would be a basket case every time one of my babies passed away. I hope that’s not the case with Candice. At least no yet.


    1. Candice was a handful for me too, Adrienne; believe me! 🙂 I loved her nonetheless though and hope she’s still with us……
      Your Kayla sounds like a real cutie! 🙂
      Losing one of my clients’ dogs is almost as heartbreaking as losing my own and I cry, right along with them. Could never work in a vet’s office or a shelter, because I’d be crying all day long. I take solace in the fact they had good lives and were happy and well cared for. Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

  4. Oh, Debbie – Candice must have the same gene as my labrador, Toby – despite my best efforts at training using every technique known to man and every training tool on the market, he is a NIGHTMARE on the lead. Like Candice, he often just stops and won’t move in any direction. Unlike most dogs he rarely pulls forward (unless there’s some food up ahead!) but more often just digs his heels in. Any smell on the horizon and he yanks mercilessly; it’s a wonder my arms are still in their sockets. We’ve now got him a wonderful ‘dogmatic’ head collar, which at least makes him a bit more manageable, but he still keeps going on strike! My neighbour saw him standing stubbornly in the middle of the road one day and said “what a plonker!”

    Candice sounds a lovely dog – what a shame you haven’t heard about her for a while, that must make you very sad. Looks like you gave her a great time, though, whenever she came to stay with you – all that lovely mud!


    1. Hi Sue; it must be a Retriever, trait somehow. LOL Labs and Goldens do have similarities. Loved the “plonker”. That’s a great description! Glad you found a collar that works with Toby. Some dogs are just stubborn, yes? Good thing they’re cute! Candice was one of my favourites and I do miss her, along with so many others over the years. Thanks for spending time here and I enjoyed reading your comments. Haven’t had time to install that CommentLuv Premium yet, so, I hope you do see this. Cheers!

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  6. Hi Debbie,

    Lovely and lovely 🙂 She’s such a cutie.

    Birthmark in the tongue? Never heard they exist in tongue too.

    Her photo shows that she’s very friendly and a playful one. It reminds me of playful boy I had too.

    Watching TV? 😉 That’s very nice. They eagerly waiting for an animal to show up there among moving pictures and once they see, we can’t stop 😀 Somehow I love to see ’em in action 😉 Like little kids, we can observe all day.

    Gosh… I can imagine her watching TV right now 😀

    Hope she’s enjoying her time wherever she is 🙂


    1. Hi Mayura; Yes, watching dogs is such fun; better than TV, sometimes. 🙂 Candice was one of my favourites and I hope she’s still around, somewhere. Thanks for visiting. Have a great week!

  7. My wife and I, along with one of my characters, John Hixon, are all dog lovers, too. We always try to get rescue animals whenever we want another.
    Nice excerpt!

  8. We need a dog sitter!!! Mom always has a problem when she wants to go away because she does not know what to do with us. We dog sit for friends dogs but none of them reciprocate, not because they don’t like us, they say they don’t have time to walk us and take care of us…sad…in Germany our friends always watched us and we in turn watched our friends! Mom used to pet sit as a kid too…just what she (we) like to do but most people don’t see it that way 🙁

    1. Hi Emma; Have you checked the pet stores in your area? Some of them have bulletin boards where pet sitters advertise their services. How about the yellow pages? Ask other dog people you meet what they do when they travel. I think many people just don’t want the responsibility of looking after other people’s pets. Too bad you don’t live in my area. Would love to have you and Katie as house guests! 🙂 Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend. Good luck in your search.

  9. What a touching story Debbie. I wasn’t a dog person growing up. We always had cats but when I became a furmom in 2008 it changed my life and now I have four furbabies.

    Out of all of them Bubba is the one who loves to run around and roll in the mud. DeeDee, his girlfriend is more of a prissy and hates getting dirty. I have the hardest time getting her to do her business when it rains 🙂

    Chico and Fergie are brother and sister and love playing in the rain an they love watching TV. They just love the Animal Planet channel 🙂

    Great story about Candice and she’s so beautiful 🙂 Have a great weekend Debbie!

    1. Your babies sound wonderful, Corina! 🙂 My Dalmatian was a real “Princess” too; hated to get dirty or even just wet. She would jump over puddles. LOL Candice was a real “mudder”; the dirtier the better. Made me earn my money, for sure, but, I loved her and wish I knew what happened to her. Glad you enjoyed the story. Thanks for visiting.

  10. Debbie, thanks for this good read. I just love your entire blog. It will take me a while to read and see it ALL. Love – Karin