Despite being a newbie on Wag!, this was not my first rodeo. I felt experienced, relaxed and prepared for this adventure, as I had two previous sittings under my belt, both seemingly more difficult than the last. I’ve made mistakes, but I’ve learned from them, and was ready to use them to my advantage for this upcoming sitting. To my luck, I was only caring for one dog this time. Compared to the 4 that drove me crazy during Thanksgiving with their high-pitched barking whenever I walked inside the door, a mature German Shepard would be better to handle. He’d be receiving my complete attention for the whole 5 days I was watching him, so we’ll be fairly acquainted by the end. I was excited yet nervous. There was no meet and greet until the day of and the information given on the canine would make any person hesitant (Firstly, who names their dog “Gun”???). He was described as sweet but troubled. He was attacked by other dogs in the past in which turned him aggressive whenever one came near. This made me fearful — Not of Gun, but my possible inability to contain the “beast”. I walked aggressive dogs before and it isn’t a delightful experience, especially in a heavily dog friendly area like Manhattan. Plus, without meeting Gun prior, I clearly had no clue what I was heading in to. I was hoping I could make it through the week without any issues, however, issues did arose.
Upon first meeting, I was fairly surprised. A big but gentle giant met me at the door and trusted me within minutes. I was relieved at the fact that he didn’t appeared to be hesitant to strangers or afraid of being around me when their owner wasn’t home — because of course, MTA had to do heavy construction the week I needed it the most, so I wasn’t able to meet the owner before they left. Thus, I was flying solo that afternoon, with my bag of lunch in my hands and a whole lot of hope that I didn’t need to cancel this sitting. After I made my set up in the living room and figured out where Gun’s food was, I took him out for our very first walk. From looking at him, I could tell Gun had strength, but I was not prepared when he pulled me through the streets of the East Side. I was so happy he was a friendly dog or else this wouldn’t end well. We didn’t run into any dogs that first time, or that entire day rather, so it was a breeze. The following day however, the difficulty increased. More dogs began to appear during our walks and it was almost like a game trying to dodge them all. Gun knew the protocol and shuffled quickly by my side as we tried to avoid conflict, but we couldn’t always hide from it. He was a good dog, I knew, so I knew deep down his reactions towards dogs were out of fear. Hopefully, this isn’t a fear that lasts for him.
The one thing that was good about the sitting was the weather. It was ever changing throughout the 5 days. First, it was chilly, then it was cold, after that it was warm, and finally, it got hot — and the cycle began all over again. It was weird how one day I could jog outside without a coat, then the next I would be bundled up to the fullest for the snow forecast. Regardless of the weather, Gun loved every second of being outside. Out of the 4 seasons, I can imagine winter being his favorite because whenever there was snow, he lit up like a Christmas tree and pranced around happily. His smile could brighten up anyone’s day – It brightened mine.
By the end of the sitting, I was familiar with Gun’s temperament and take him to the local park. It was a huge achievement for both him and myself. It was a sunny, but chilly day, so we jogged around for 45 minutes that morning to avoid the possible dog traffic. Gun thoroughly enjoyed himself and was smiles all day. It was sad to say our goodbye later that day after we grown so close, though I hope in the future we meet again.