I decided to stick all my miscellany anecedotes about working with dogs on this page. I'm not as good at creative writing as I used to be so I apologize if the writing on this page seems kinda stiff and awkward. It's nice to practice getting back into writing for fun by sharing stories about my job. I also just like talking about dogs and other animals. :)

A little background information: I've been working with dogs for about 10 years now. I first started with volunteering at my local shelter to walk dogs and was lucky enough to be hired at a dog training company. That was my first job dealing with taking care of dogs and I worked there for about three and a half years. My second dog care job is my current job, a kennel technician at a veterinary office. Unlike the first job, I take care of any boarders so now I also look after cats and, very rarely, other kinds of animals.

It's very hard to take care of animals, especially family pets that are not your own. Even though I've been taking care of (mostly) dogs for a profession for over a decade I don't consider myself a "expert". I'm constantly learning more about dogs, even when I make mistakes, and I'm sure that there's other websites that has more information about boarding your pets than what you'll find here. I'm also not in the veterinary profession so I only know the bare minimum when it comes to canine medical issues! I guess that's it for a "warning".

Newer entries are towards the top.

I have my qualms about living in southern New Jersey, but one positive thing that I will say is that the folks down here LOVE their dogs. There's only been one case in my experience that I would possibly call "abusive", sadly, and that was years ago.

There was this sweet, adorable, wonderful Great Dane puppy named Anouk that came into the dog training facility for training. Everybody fell in love with her very fast and she was very smart. I used to love to hang out with her - I would try to play with her but she would just stand by you and wait for you to sit down so she can (try!) to curl up in your lap.

However, she was so, so skinny and malnourished when she came in and it was very concerning. Unfortinately, I don't know what my boss did about this situation, but she did have to take Anouk in to a local vet for a checkup and she apparently contacted animal services in the area where her owner lived. (He lived by NYC. We would occasionally get clients from up there.) I don't know what happened to her, but when she was about to leave, my boss seemed very forlorn about the situation. She was a tough lady, though, and I doubt she would let her go back to her owner without doing everything in her power to help the dog. I never knew what happened to Anouk and her owner, or even if it was abuse, and I hope she lived a very happy life. (This was right before Hurricane Sandy hit our area in 2012 so it's possible she's still around but it's rare for a Great Dane to live to 11 or 12.)

How the hell do you drop off a sickly skinny Great Dane puppy to a training facility out of state and NOT be overly concerned about your dog? And when I say that she was malnourished, I mean that she's probably the most malnourished puppy that I've ever seen in real life. Great Danes aren't exactly picky eaters either. ... now that I think about it, why would my boss LET such a sickly puppy stay with us? The whole ordeal, looking back now, is confusing. But I still have good memories of little Anouk. Even as a puppy, I could tell that she would grow up to be one of those dogs that would be excellent as a service dog because of her demeanor, intellegence and kindness.

I've had three instances of dealing with animals being dropped off at my job while I was working but I'm sure that my coworkers who work in the hospital and the front desk have dealt with more.

The most recent one happened on a morning that I was there by myself and I was taking out the trash to the dumpster. All of a sudden this SUV rushes into the parking lot and the driver asks me if I work here. When I said that I did, she explained that her husband found a injured and most likely dying dog outside their house that morning and it's in the backseat of their car. I had NO IDEA what to do so I tried to calm her down and called my coworker who has worked there for years and would know what to do. Turns out, I couldn't do anything. I forget exactly what she said but she told me (as this woman was yelling about the dying dog) that we could not do anything due to a New Jersey law except tell the couple to call 911. I think it was a legal issue about us being closed and I'm not a licensed vet tech.

While the husband called 911, I did go inside and get the phone number and addresses of the closest vet offices that might be open. Of course, calling 911 was useless and the operator had no idea what to do. And of course, the couple were furious and I kept apologizing because I felt horrible about the whole situation. They weren't mad at me but their behavior did get me flustered. After I gave them the addresses of the other vet clinics they headed off and that was the last that I heard about them. I hope the dog made it through okay.

The second occurance wasn't a dog, but a young kitten that my coworkers found outside in a box when they opened. It was a early closing day but I was made aware of the kitten via text messages before I went in for my night shift. Thankfully, the kitten was stable and didn't need medical assistance, I just had to make sure she was comfy and alert during my shift. Someone came in after I went home to check up on her. I think it was a female?

There was actually a note inside the box with HORRIBLE spelling and messy handwriting:

Please can you help this little cat. It's old enuff to eat dry food but its gotten sick and I cant aford to help it. Try not to kill it but if its to far gone I under stand. It just sucks strulging to take care of my slef and Its hard to help aneything elce. So if you can help I would apreshate it.

... it didn't seem like anything trying to cover their handwriting. Also, the kitten was too young to eat dry food and didn't really know how to use a litter box so I dunno how the idiot who wrote the letter could tell that "it's old enuff to eat dry food". The kitten had a meal before I came in and was very hungry so she mostly slept during the couple hours I was there. But she did wake up a bit and she was very chatty and sweet! It was so cute because someone placed a small stuffed animal on the bed we gave her and she was curled up against it when she was sleeping. Thankfully, she did get a home, I THINK that someone who worked at our other branch took her in.

And the third instance were a pair of puppies! A coworker from that other branch found by her car before she went to work a few days before she had to cover for someone at our clinic so she brought them in. One male and one female, obviously from the same litter. They were soooo adorable and sweet. If I had to guess, they were shephard mixes, maybe mixed with Rottweiler? Because they had the cute little eyebrows that rotties have. I literally did not have a chance to consider adopting one, however, because within the hour I met them both puppies went home with seperate coworkers at the end of their shift. I never found out what the female was named but the fella was named Roman because "he likes to roam". They're both grown by now and sadly the two ladies that adopted them no longer work with us but I know that they are in good hands.

My favorite dog names that I've come across while working at my jobs: Pacha Mama, Bobby, Banjo, Porkchop, Sweden, Gingersnap, Seabiscuit, Taco, Nacho.

Biggest dog? Well, quite a few come to mind! The absolute biggest dog that I've ever seen in real life was the dog that came in for grooming while I was being interviewed for a job at a dog salon before I was hired at my current job. And by "dog" I mean "coyote that looks like it was crossbred with a Tibetan Mastiff". The dog was so huge that it could not fit into any of the crates in the back and had to chill on the floor away from the other dogs until its grooming time.

The kicker? The dog was a female. If it was a male, she would've been even bigger! That's all I know about her since I was hired at my current job before I heard back from this place, the last time I glanced at her as I left the interview she was politely stepping into a tub for her bath.

For current boarders, there's two Great Dane clients that come in once in a blue moon from separate families. We can't have them board at the same time because they simply do not fit in one of our runs and so we have to put them in what we call "the cat room". It's a spare room attached to the main kennel that our cats that live on the premise stay in, but we currently only have our adoptable cats here and they live up front in the adoption center for now. Anyway, it's a pretty good sized room and we now use the room for huge dogs.

Other pets I have helped take care of include:

I've only been injured three times that were serious enough for me to remember.

First time was when I was taking a miniture poodle out of her crate and she jumped into my arms. (It was a smaller crate on top of a bigger crate.) In the process, however, my head snapped up and smacked the top of her crate and my tongue started to bleed since I bit down on it or something. This was on my third day at the job and I cried in the bathroom for like 10 minutes straight about it.

Second time a beagle puppy jumped on my left knee oddly and caused me to feel immense pain for a week. I don't know WHAT he or she did to make it hurt so much.

Third time was with a lab-something-mix that would bite the lead whenever he was taken outside (and therefore I would let him out without the lead around his neck, he was very smart and went outside if the door was propped open) but I was a idiot that wasn't paying attention and went outside with him with a lead around my neck. Dog nipped my belly (where the end of the lead lays when I have it around my neck) - thankfully it didn't break the skin but it left a mark and ripped my clothes. It was 100% my error and now I know to not go so fast when interacting with dogs that have quirks like that.

I'm going to jinx myself for saying this but I've never, ever met a dog (or other animal) with the name "Maggie" that hasn't been a complete sweetheart. On the other hand, the name "Beau" (not "Bo") always seems to come with a bratty boarder. Hopefully that will change in the future because that was also the name of a creepy dude that used to bully me in high school and I would love to have a positive memory attached to the name!

Dog breeds that I've never had a problem with: Shetland Sheepdog, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bedlington Terrier, Rough Collie, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Miniature Schnauzer, Greyhound, Papillon, Standard Poodle

All dogs are good dogs and these are the breeds that have always been awesome to look after. Unfortunately, these are rarer breeds and in most some cases I can only remember one boarder of the breed.

The Anatolian Shepherd deserves special mention, he was a older dog named Jekyll. His owners sent him to us for training (at my first dog care job) after adopting him and my boss told everyone that he "will give us problems" but didn't elaborate. As I wasn't a trainer I don't know why she said that since I had no way to check his records or speak to the owners.

Well, turns out that no one had to worry (at least from what I saw) because he was extremely pleasant to everyone and completed his training with flying colors. He was so cool - I took him outside whenever I had the chance and Jekyll would just chill out next to me.

Yes, you won't see my favorite breed, the Newfoundland, on that list. There was a young Newfoundland (fully grown but still in adolescence) that came into my first job for training and he was -- get this -- aggressive towards the owner's children. Not in a "oh sometimes he knocks a child over when playing with them" way, the "oh my god he is snarling and aggressive towards any child that approachs him" way. Very bratty and jumpy but he took to training well and thankfully he did not come back for retraining.

Dog breeds that I've only had trouble with once or twice: Pomeranian, Boxers, Alaskan Malamute, Akita

Pomeranians get a bad rap.

Boxers are 99% of the time just lazy goofballs. The one Boxer that I had problems with had possession aggressive tendencies but once we figured that out he was fine.

Dog breeds that have never liked me: CORGI (both types), Bouvier des Flandres

I'm cursed, every single Corgi that I've ever looked after has hated my guts. :(

Dog breeds I haven't met yet: Shiba Inu, Leonberger, Hovawart, Clumber Spaniel, Bearded Collie

Yeah, I can't remember meeting a Shiba Inu even in passing! And good luck with the Hovawart breed as the breed is mostly bred in Europe and it's a very rare breed. (But it's a cool dog!)

Breeds that don't come in that often, despite their popularity: "pit bulls", Pugs, German Shepherd

"pit bulls" means what the public would call a pit bull but really consist of American Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Bully, American Bulldogs or mixes of any of those breeds. I love all of them and thankfully I work for a pro bully breed company.

Nicest dog breeds that aren't in the "dogs I've never had problems with" category: Newfoundland, Chihuahua, Saint Bernard, Maltese, West Highland White Terrier (aka "Westies")

The first Newfoundland dog I've ever met actually came in a duo - their names were Moses and Eli and I was over the moon to meet them. Beautiful Landseer litter mates, extremely affectonate and very well behaved. They came in for training when they were pups and only boarded with the company I worked with twice. (It was company policy that the only dogs that could board at our business were dogs that we've trained beforehand. Sunny, my dear Golden Retriever that I adopted from that job, would come every summer for years for boarding after being trained there as a puppy.) Those two were so much fun.

There are two instances that come to mind when I think of the topic of "worst encounters" - a young Golden Retriever imported from South America to live in New Jersey and a old English Bulldog that had to wear a diaper.

The Golden Retriever was beautiful but just plain nasty. We didn't know how nasty he would be when his owner dropped him off because the owner was a real piece of work that thought his dog could do no wrong. It was his wife who had to call us to tell us how aggressive the dog was. Very, very possession and food aggressive and did not like women at all. At the time we had a equally male to female ratio working there so there was almost always a man to take the dog out - our boss wanted no woman to even get near the crate the dog was in, much less touch him. Of course, the dog also gave the men a hard time but he at least wouldn't growl or get aggressive towards them.

One afternoon I was in the main training room when I heard this horrific scream come from the side room where the Golden Retriever was in (it was a old storage room that had one of the big crates in there for the really mean dogs to stay). I went running towards the noise and I'll never forget the massive wound in my coworker's leg from the dog biting her. I ran out of the area screaming for help and she had to go to the hospital to get many, many stitches. (Oddly enough, she drove there and had to wait in the emergency room's waiting area for over a hour with the huge dog bite on her leg! Why the hell did no one call 911?! Actually, I think she wanted to drive there to avoid the ambulance fee - this is America, after all.) The dog had to be sent back to its owner, we all felt just awful for the owner's wife. It's really not my coworker's fault that she was bit (I'm not going to victim blame her) but it served as a warning to me that if someone says not to touch a dog, DO NOT TOUCH IT.

As for the English Bulldog, he was very old and had a owner who was in failing health who just didn't want to take care of him and just started to put the poor dog in diapers and not take him outside. His adult children just didn't know what to do so they brought him to the training facility to see if we can try to train him. If my memory is correct, all of the children were young ladies and the English Bulldog had a serious case of aggression towards females. I don't know WHY my boss did this but she placed him in a crate in the main training area (yeah, we had a bunch of crates in what used to be a garage for dogs staying with us instead of runs) instead of in that little room I mentioned previously. If you walked by him and you were a female he would bark and literally move the crate by slamming up against it to get closer to you. I forget what happened to him, I think he had to go home early and I hope his owner's managed to rehome the dog safely.

I've boarded a lot of dogs that I would describe as "difficult" since then (and plenty of them were really great Golden Retrievers or English Bulldogs - I even adopted a Golden since then) but these two encounters are the worst I've dealt with so far.

Besides the bearded dragon mentioned above, I've never met a dog named after a video game character. Quite a few have come in with strange fantasy-sounding names and when I've looked them up the name turned out to be a reference to Game of Thrones. I'm not familiar with the series at all so I forget what names they were. I did meet a Goldendoodle dog named Lightning (that came in around the time Final Fantasy XIII was released in North America) but it was a male.

There's also the name "Jax" - I've met a LOT of Boxers with that name and with that spelling as well. Searching for "dog named Jax" on Google shows a few pieces of media that the name can come from but I have no idea why it's so damn popular with male Boxers in particular. It's probably a different way to spell "Jack" but you never know, someone might've named their dog after the Mortal Kombat character! ...kharacter.

Speaking of names for male Boxers, it took me years for it to click on why the name "Rocky" is so popular with those dogs...

My boss at the dog training job always would put on country music to, quote, "help calm down the dogs". ...It didn't help.

You know you're sick and tired of a certain type of music that whenever a collegue turns on the sports talk radio station you automatically think, "Thank god!!".

Sometimes when I'm alone at work and the dogs are quiet I'll put on a podcast or music on my phone. I think the dogs, for the most part, enjoy hearing different voices than my own and I really don't listen to loud music. I do have playlists of "work friendly music" to play, lots and lots of video game background music and songs with no vocals. I don't think the genre of music matters much and I've only had a dog react to a song I've played out loud once. It was a Husky (of course) and she decided to howl a little bit during the chorus of a Bjork song. I CANNOT REMEMBER WHAT SONG EXACTLY but I think was listening to her Vespertine album.

Occasionally I'll catch myself singing along to a song I'm playing and I have to stop immediately, not because of embrassment but because I can't sing and I don't want to punish the dogs.

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Last Update: April 2023