T is for TAILS AND TALES | #AtoZChallenge

48 Comments#AtoZChallenge 2016, Blogfests, Dogs, Writing/Blogging

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Welcome everyone, to the #AtoZChallenge Blogging Extravaganza, where hundreds of bloggers publish 26 posts in 30 days, one for each letter of the alphabet, covering a myriad of topics! “Dog Breeds & Anecdotes” is my theme. Click HERE to see all posts and HERE to view the participants. Please support our efforts by visiting, sharing and commenting. We have all worked long and hard on this project. Have fun and thanks for reading!

#AtoZChalenge Day 20: T is for TAILS AND TALES
Day 20, April 23


Doglady late 1990sIn 1994, I started a pet care business, two years after being “downsized” (a nicer way of saying “fired”) from my corporate job and not finding a suitable replacement. It was born of desperation! We were apartment dwellers at the time, so I offered mostly house calls for cats, plants, birds, fish etc., plus dog walking, with a single boarder now and then. After about 10 years, the running around 7 days a week with no time to myself was wearing on me. I switched to providing home boarding for dogs only. (We had become home owners in the meantime and have a fenced back yard.) This has worked out well and my house is like a little “doggie commune”. The photo is from 1998 or 99 and shows JRs Saba, Maggie. Butler, my sweet Tasha (Mama’s second in command) and Bentley

Some people think this is an easy job, but I’m here to tell you it is NOT. Dogs can have accidents, get sick, pick fights with others or be destructive, just like children. They may need constant grooming, require special diets or have complicated medication regimens. Then there’s the mud! Rain is the bain of all dog sitters’ existence. Imagine having to clean six muddy dogs all at once. That’s 24 paws to be wiped! Thank goodness I can count on hubby to help when things get crazy, like Spring Break.

#AtoZchallenge: T is for TAILS AND TALES

Dogs pictured, left to right: Lacy, Butler, Mika, Robbie,
with Milo the Vizsla(see the Apr. 26 entry) in back.
Tasha, our Dalmatian never needed a leash.

In 2012, I started writing a book “Adventures in Dogsitting”, about the dogs I have cared for. What I didn’t consider was that reliving some of the sad endings (Chapter Seven in particular) would turn me into an emotional wreck. At the time, I was also dealing with the trauma of my father’s death and mother’s subsequent relocation. It was all too much to bear and I put the book aside after eight chapters. This A to Z Challenge has given me new enthusiasm to finish it. Chapters one, four and five were included in the “Read for Animals” anthology, published in 2014.


Would you be interested in reading such a book?
Looking forward to your comments!


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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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48 thoughts on “T is for TAILS AND TALES | #AtoZChallenge

  1. I can so see you writing a book.

    I cannot imagine pet sitting in an apartment setting.

    Also, I have never walked two dogs on a leash at the same time. That would be nerve wracking!

    1. Thanks, Myke. I plan to go back to the book after all this has died down. When it comes to dogs, the setting doesn’t matter, as long as you take them out somewhere for exercise. Being in an apartment forces a person to go for more walks (or to the park) than someone who has a yard. Some poor dogs with yards never get walked and that’s so sad for them. Walking two dogs is usually easy enough (as long as they’re manageable). Try four and five. 🙂

  2. Dogs are definitely like children, so loving, so playful, so affectionate, so messy….and so instinctively understanding! I just imagined them in the rain… couldn’t help smiling, Debbie! My friend had four – and it was quite hilarious to see them padding around the place, calming walking across the puddle in the garden. My friend’s Mum would say that if she ever dreamed of me, I would be holding a mop – because that’s what my friend and I did, quite diligently!

    Yes, I’d love to read your book. Please do continue writing and complete it! Hugs – memories of loved ones who’ve passed on are always painful.

    1. Hi,Vidya; Some dogs are attracted to puddles and anything smelly, just like small children. 🙂 I was lucky with Tasha. Dalmatians are clean and cat-like. She hated to get dirty and side-stepped the puddles. When I stopped writing the book, there was a lot of other stuff going on and my emotions were just too fragile to keep reliving those sad stories. I wrote a couple more for this challenge and seem to be handling it better, so, it’s a good time to go back to it. Thanks for the encouragement! ((HUGS))

  3. I would love to read such as this – provided there are happy and funny stories to counter the sad ones.

    I would never consider a dog boarding service easy, but I am very grateful to those who sacrifice their personal life to help those of us who need the service.
    Molly @MyCozyBookNook
    My Cozy Book Nook
    Revising Life after 50

    1. Thank you, Molly. The endings are often sad, but there are many cute and funny moments in between. 🙂 We still manage to have a personal life in between houseguests and try to make the most of it. Often, it doesn’t seem like work at all, because the dogs are so wonderful.

  4. I would totally love to read this book. There is always a reason for something and the delay was probably much needed so now, even though it was tough, you are writing about animals that have been important to you.

    1. Thank you, Birgit. At the time, I was emotionally fragile for several reasons. Writing some of these posts has been difficult as well, but it seems I can handle it better now. 🙂

  5. What a wonderful post, Debbie!
    I never doubted for a minute that the Doglady’s Den was anything less than frequent loving pandemonium:-) I’m so glad you’ve been inspired to resume writing your book. I’m sure it will be informative, poignant and an overall pleasure to read! I will stayed tuned for further details:-)

    1. It can be challenging, at times. 🙂 I will resume writing the book once this has all died down. Need a little break in between. Thanks for the encouragement!

  6. Emotional traumas effect us all so very differently, but I truly ‘get it’ about setting the book aside for a moment. I’m glad that this challenge is inspiring you to re-address your book and hopefully give you that needed spark to complete it.

  7. I would certainly be interested in reading. I hope you are able to continue and get it published. It’s the makings of a great book, and I think people will love it.

  8. I would totally read your book!! I love dogs and mine rule my world. My mom used to manage a doggy daycare and enjoyed it so much. It was hard work though and at times very emotional. I’m so glad you got to make a career from a passion. Being fired was a blessing in some way.

    1. Thanks, Holli. 🙂 Yes, it can be hard work, at times. Getting attached to the dogs makes it difficult to bear when something happens to them. Getting fired was a low point in my life, but it all worked out well in the end. 🙂

  9. I know it takes tremendous commitment to care for dogs. The desk I work at is next to a window overlooking an old cemetery and all day long I see people walking their dogs out there. Most of the time it is pretty peaceful but there are days when the dogs have run-ins or are just overly enthusiastic.

    Meet My Imaginary Friends

  10. I would totally read your book, Debbie! I’m glad you’ve found the oomph to go at it again, and I look forward to hearing all about it. Yes, living with dogs, whether yours or “borrowed” (or even briefly, as is my case with rescues), brings with it high emotional charge. I think dogs put us in touch with a deeper level of emotion, stuff that we don’t let out often with humans… Maybe that’s why their loss hurts so badly. And you’re absolutely right; pet sitting is not an easy job by any stretch of the imagination. People seem to think that those whose professional lives revolve around animals—behaviorists, sitters, vets—live in some sort of pink bubble… They have no clue, do they? (I’m actually tackling one side of that on V day next week 😉 )

    Kudos to you for staying with it, though… My dog sitter is an angel in disguise (and not a very good one at that—the disguise, I mean), and my life would be a horrid one without her. And I’m sure your clients feel the same way about you 🙂

    Happy A2Z day off tomorrow! (And thank you for the lovely, lovely comments over at the dog blog… You make me smile.)

    1. I think you’re right about the deeper level of emotions, Guilie. Anything sad to do with dogs (and other animals) turns me into a blubbering idiot. 😛 I’ve had some lovely compliments from clients and it’s nice to be appreciated. 🙂 Thanks for your support; I do plan on finishing that book. There is another horribly sad story I may skip, though. We’ll see.

      It’s been my pleasure to comment on your A to Z series. 🙂 It should be must-reading for anyone dealing with dog rescues and dogs in general. Excellent book material!

  11. I’d imagined that caring for the dogs would be equivalent to caring for young children. A true commitment where you have to be on top of it the entire time. I’m glad you’ve found your inspiration again. I’d love reading your book. I’m sure all dog lovers would.

    1. Yes, it’s sometimes like a doggie kindergarten around here. 🙂 Glad to know there’s an audience out there for my dog tales. Thanks for your support, Yolanda.

  12. My neighbor dog sits for a few families. She and her husband are excellent with dogs. About twice a year, she keeps a Beagle for a family that goes on vacation and that Beagle is a dear. Beagles are my most favorite dog and that what I will get if I find one that can get along with the cat that I want to get also.

    I need to come back and see if you wrote about Beagles. I also have a hard time with Cocker Spaniels. They bard too much for me. But there are people here in Germany who loves them very much.

    Visiting from the A to Z Blog Challenge.

    Patricia @ EverythingMustChange

    1. Although I didn’t write about Beagles, I have known a few. They were sweeties, but you can never, ever let them off leash as they will follow a scent and not come back. Cocker Spaniels can be lovely, but I’ve known a few snippy ones as well. I was born in Germany and know what a dog-friendly country it is. We used to dine out and take our dogs to the restaurants with us. 🙂

    1. Yes, it is hard work sometimes, but so worth the effort. 🙂 Sad stories are difficult to read and also to write, but, when doing memoirs, the ending isn’t always happy.

  13. Oh Girl, I know exactly what you’re talking about. We just had upwards of 9″ of rain over four days and my dog run was an absolute lake with a mud pit shore! Cleaning all the paws of all the dogs is indeed not fun!
    This IS a hard job and I always say people just don’t get it. The accidents can be draining, like one dog who had a bladder infection and was peeing in my house every day: Thank God for tile floors! I can’t imagine having carpeting. Wait, yes I can. I DID have carpeting before the tile and I remember shampooing the carpet every week…because if it’s not a pee or poop accident it’s going to be somebody bleeding on it or barfing up grass.
    So much work. People don’t understand how creative you have to be at feeding time to ensure that everybody eats out of the right bowl… And don’t forget the medications. Yep, this is for sure a tough job. It’s one I wouldn’t trade though. I’m happy as a clam doing it!
    I’d love to read your book and have enjoyed what I read so far. Keep going. You can do it!

    Michele at Angels Bark

    1. I knew you of all people could relate, Michele. 🙂 Having a dog who pees in the house is definitely no fun! 🙁 When we first moved into the house, there was wall to wall carpeting in the living/dining area. After a couple of years, it was buckling badly, due to all the steam cleaning, so we ripped it up. We do have area rugs (bare floors get too cold in winter) and still steam clean occasionally, but it’s not as bad. I wouldn’t trade this job either, despite the difficulties. Thanks for the encouragement about the book!

  14. Hi, Debbie the Doglady!

    We’re heading into the home stretch of the A to Z and tonight I enjoyed reading your dog tails (tales). They say most great achievements are born of inspiration or desperation. When the going got tough, you got creative and found a way to adapt and built a new career. I admire you. I can tell just by looking at these pictures that it isn’t easy work being a canine innkeeper. I had a hard enough time wrangling my Cocker Spaniel on the end of a leash. I don’t know how you were able to walk several dogs at a time. Mrs. Shady used to flip her wig when I’d take Toto out to pee on a rainy day and when we came back inside she would track muddy paw prints all over the house. When I look at the pictures of you and your dogs from years ago I smile and feel sad at the same time knowing they are no longer with you. I would surely be interested in reading Adventures in Dogsitting even knowing that many tears would be shed along with way.

    Thank you, dear friend Debbie, and have a restful weekend!

    1. HI, Shady; Thank you so much for those kind words. Hubby helps with the dog walking or sometimes, I have to do two shifts, but the dogs hate that! 🙂 With dogs and mud, the key phrase is “dog towels”. I have a cupboard full – when a bathroom towel gets torn or worn out, it goes there. Even though most of these dogs have passed on, I try to think of the fun times and not dwell on that aspect. Sometimes hard to write about, but I will absolutely resurrect this project!