This is not right and it troubles me
Today the tigers are gone, but we still keep Rover for love and comfort. We even pay a professional class of Humans to exercise our pets and attend to their little pet needs. It’s not right. It troubles me. I pass through the parks, and spot walkers latch up to a team of dogs. Together they strut down the street with their K-9charges and charge the owners about $12 per hour per dog.
That’s $60 with a pack of five. I’m guessing more like $75 per hour equivalent because walkers get their cash in fist rather than after-tax like the rest of us. Arrange two walks per day, and you pocket $150. That’s over $38,000 per year for a couple of unskilled labor hours—pretty good spending cash for a two-hour hike.
We’ve come a long way since living in caves. Back then, Rover was there to warn us of danger and chasing away saber tooth tigers. We let him eat what he could kill or clean up the scraps around the floor of the cave.
What are the career goals for this pet walking fraternity? Did they begin by watering plants and then graduate to feeding goldfish? Moving onward, do they work their way up the pet ladder to hamsters and gerbils?
I do have some sympathy for these workers. We call this job “unskilled labor”, until the day comes when half the team is fighting with or chewing on the other half, and the leashes become all braided up. The walker’s hands are full negotiating peace. What if the pack chases two separate squirrels, heading in two different directions? They will quickly develop problem-solving skills or become a human rope in the middle of a dog tug. Or what if just one puppy escapes the leash and chases grandma over the hill. That will require professional-level diplomatic-gerontology skills.
In addition to untangling leashes and making peace with grandma, there’s the matter of poop.
If walkers are lucky, their charges will all be constipated, but how often does that happen? Neighbors and park wardens will insist they equip themselves with plastic pick-up bags. Do walkers think about the message this sends to the pooch? Put yourself in Fido’s shoes as he leads HIS human charge by a string. What does the dog see? His crazy charge is picking up excrements. What would come to a dog’s mind?
“No no! Don’t you touch that stinky stuff? That filthy stuff should be left on the ground you jerk!”
Yet despite this, my town’s pet walkers parade along that insufferable attitude of condescension. They project a persona of erect, purposeful, nonchalance. Look closely, and you’ll detect a hint of disdain. I’m no psychologist, but after spending a demoralizing day cleaning up after dogs, I believe walkers have to save face by assuming this supercilious posture. In my neighborhood, they are not exactly arrogant, but they carry an aura that says, ” I am in complete control, and I am proud to hold poop in my hand. I love animals more than you, so LIVE WITH IT!”
I harbor fears about these guys
I have the highest affection for all the dogs I’ve owned over many years. I only bring up the subject of professional pooch perambulators because walkers in my neighborhood are not as warm, fluffy, and lovable as my pets. Of course, I am jealous of anyone pocketing $38,000 for a walk in the park. But I have a more philosophical bone to pick with this profession:
In my darker moments, late at night while binge-watching Kardashian reruns, I begin to suspect that doggy walkers segue into animal rights misanthropes. They’re divorcing themselves from their fellow Humans. What evil is lurking in their minds? Are they preparing the K-9 race to replace the human race? Do they make plans to endow trust funds for Fido and Buffy? Or will they endow a graduate division for dog training school?
The rest of the world spends its vocational days interacting and matching wits with their fellow men, children, or machines. Dog walkers are matching wits with Bella and Buffy. I’ve known some smart pets, but comparing dog IQs vs. Humans? We Homo-sapiens should aspire to something more. There must be higher challenges.
I suppose there’s no limit to how high a walker can climb. Do they hope to find dog-walk grandiosity by untangling leashes of ever-larger teams of mutts? Fifty or sixty dog teams? Do they aspire to move on to larger animals: Horses, hippos or elephants? Can there be a Lifetime Achievement Award awaiting them at the top of this career ladder? How much could you make walking the park scooping up after a hippo?