Day 1, Night 2, Day 3
 Pug Tales
06:04 PM, Monday, August 08
Walks. They do the body good.
Walks. They do the body good.
Day 1: It's not unusual to hear barking dogs in my neighborhood, but it is unusual to hear one in my neighbor's backyard, since last I knew he didn't have a dog. I went outside to make sure that it was in fact coming from his yard. It was. I saw that my neighbor probably wasn't home, as there was no car on the street or in the driveway. I went and peeked over the fence and saw a cute little dog that happened to be... a pug! This little guy was also a skilled watch dog and let me know that it was not okay for me to be there!

I didn't have my neighbor's number, so I emailed him. Time went by and the barking ceased. When I received a response from my neighbor Jay, he didn't answer all of my questions about the dog. He did say that the dog should be fine, but that if I wanted to check on it that would be appreciated. I went back over and looked over the fence, unfortunately waking up the pup, so more barks were heard.

I emailed Jay letting him know that the dog was fine and that I won't go back over because I don't want to disturb him. Later on, when walking my own dog I went through the back alley and peaked over the fence from the rear angle and was able to see that the pug was again napping.

Night 2: In addition to writing and my work with people and pets, I am a performer. I have experience as an emcee/host, actress and singer. Right now my main performance focus is as a stand-up comedian. Following a comedy show I performed on last Saturday night, a friend and I came back to my house to walk my dog. My neighbor was in the yard with some friends and they invited us to come over. After walking my dog, we went to Jay's. It was then that I found out that the little pug, was his dog and his name was Champ. He had had him for just a couple of months and the puppy was now about a year old.

Champ was in the backyard and I wanted to see him. I was eager to meet this little guy that I had already said hello to over the fence. I went in the back and was greeted by an energetic and obviously affectionate little energizer bunny type of of a pup. I offered to walk him, which I then did. It's obvious that Champ loves Jay. When I was walking away with Champ he paused several times to look at Jay. He wanted to make sure that he wasn't losing his person. He was excited about the idea of a walk, but would have felt more comfortable, at lease initially if Jay had come with us. He liked that my friend came with us. What I realized is that although he liked me fine and loved the attention I was showering on him, he was drawn to men. There was a comfort level he had with them. I saw it when my friend, Tony joined us on our walk and also in how he was with Jay and his friends.

After returning from the walk I chatted with Jay for a while. He is a busy entrepeneur, which requires that he works beyond full time hours. This situation may sound familiar to many reading this. People have to make money to live, as well as properly care for pets. This can take us away from home for long periods of time. During my conversation with Jay, I offered to start walking Champ to help out. Jay asked me how much it would cost him, "1,000 dollars," I replied. Knowing my superior dog walking skills, Jay felt this was a fair exchange. But I knew that in actuality I wanted to do it on a volunteer basis, at least for now. I think Jay was happy to find out that my sarcasm never sleeps.

Day 3: The next day I wasn't able to make it over until the late afternoon. There was a slight breeze, but the sun was still warm enough to know that today we would just go on a short walk. My girl has much longer legs than a pug and it would have been an unfair and unsafe expectation for Champ to travel the same distance as her. Also, I am not sure yet what Champ's stamina is like and overheating can be a common issue for pugs.

Champ was over the top excited to see me. It took a little while for him to calm down enough to put the leash on him. Once I did, we were on our way! We had only been walking a couple of minutes when an unleashed 80ish pound dog came running up to us eager to meet the pug. I scooped up Champ. What a difference to have that as an option! When I got my girl she was already about 35 pounds and growing fast! Not the easiest thing to carry around, let alone "scoop up" spontaneously.

When the large dog came up to us, Champ whined in fear. I happened to know the other dog. He's a friendly pitbull named Bing. My dog and Bing like each other and have played together before. But since I don't actually know either dog that well, I was extremely cautious. Plus Champ is very small in comparison, weighing an estimated 10 - 12 pounds. When I walk someone else's dog I feel the same level of responsibility for them that I do my own companion animals. I was very protective of this new little friend. I had to turn my body and start walking away immediately to get away from Bing. His people corralled him back inside and apologized for the incident. Luckily it wasn't actually an "incident."

After a little while I put Champ back down on the sidewalk. I saw that another neighbor, Steve had just gone in his house, so I decided to stop by and say hi. Champ eagerly greeted Steve. Again, I saw the instant affinity that Champ has towards men when he interacted with Steve. They spent a short time getting to know each other. Steve gave Champ some water in a bowl. Champ drank a little and then we were back out the door.

We continued down the block. As companion animal caregivers, we get so happy when our pets successfully pee and poop, which Champ did. Yay Champ! He's one of those walking poopers. Or are they called poop walkers? I'm not sure of the correct term, but Champ poops then walks a little, poops, then walks a little and continues until done. It's so intersting how all animals have their own charateristics, habits, likes and dislikes.

One interesting behavior Champ does, I actually saw exhibited in another dog I took care of. While on the walk both of these dogs turn in a circle and then continue on the walk. They do this multiple times throughout the walk. With the previous dog I pet sat for It was very pronounced and frequent. It had seemed that he was checking behind him to make sure he was safe. It was related to anxiety, nervousness and fear and was tied in on a survival level. At the point when I met him, it had become a habit, but it also served as a self protection technique. With Champ it seems to be related to the level of energy he has. He has a lot of energy, some of which is a nervous energy. I am excited to have the opportunity to work with him and give additional exercise and outlets for that energy, as well as some tools to help him more effectively express it, harnessing it as needed.

We crossed the street and headed back towards Champ's house. He was so curious and interested in the different smells he discovered. When it was time to cross the street back to his house, I picked him up and carried him across. I could tell he was warming up and panting to cool himself. I again, was being ultra cautious to ensure he didn't overheat, as well as wanting to take time to build his walk endurance up vs. overdoing it.

I put Champ back down once in his driveway and we went into the backyard. After taking off his leash I filled his bowl with fresh water from the hose. I found a stuffed animal toy and threw it for him a few times, which he liked. Then I pulled a lounge chair into the shade, got comfortable and Champ jumped on my lap ready for some cuddle time and doggie massage! We hung out together for a while. I want to use massage, not only because I enjoy doing it and dogs generally like it, but also as a method of relaxation. With the additional exercise, mental stimulation, attention and massage I am hoping to tire Champ more fully. The more relaxed he is, the more likely he will nap comfortably while Jay is gone. I want to help diminish any separation anxiety he may experience when alone.

Today is actually Day 4. I wrote this blog entry retroactively to catch up with where things are. I already walked Champ this morning, but will wait until after his evening walk to write what happened today. So... stay tuned for more Pug Tales!

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