Dear Indignant Client,
Today I am pissed. As you have seen I work in a dog-themed business in a management-type capacity. I don’t manage employees, I do however have independent and, on my work days, sole control over what essentially amounts to a Pass/Fail evaluation to determine admittance to our Shangri-la. I manage who comes in and today you failed repeatedly and amazingly, so I’d like to explain to you my reasoning because you seemed offended and confused. I heard you call me stupid and I’d like to explain exactly what transpired to you, since you seemed unwilling and unable to see it.
I saw you walking in, or should I say, being dragged in, barely keeping your balance as your hell hounds charged through the parking lot, paying not a lick of attention to the useless bags of flesh at the end of the lead (That would be you). You laughed, or maybe you half-heartedly told the dog to quit, flapping your flexi leash like a mentally-challenged chicken attempting to fly.
That dear client, that was your first failure. It showed me you had no control of your dogs and little to no desire to gain that control. Whatever your dog does will be “Cute”, “So funny” or “I don’t know he’s just like that”. You feel no personal responsibility for your dog’s behavior and aren’t inclined to acquire it despite signing a contract with me to the contrary. I watch this, shaking my head, and mentally preparing for the fiasco, all the while hoping your lack of responsibility or caring will be made up for by your animals’ exceedingly good nature and forgiving temperament.
Your entry into my work-space is calamitous. Your hell-hounds attempting to lay siege to the gate starts what could only be described as a battle of decibels when the shrieking of disgruntled cattle dogs rattle the gates and the eardrums of those of us unfortunate enough to listen. You giggle when I tell you to please move your dogs back. “Oh they’re fine,” you tell me, allowing obscene vertical advances over the gate into cattle dog country. When the gate suddenly and forcefully pushes outward as twenty-five pounds of unmitigated Australian rage hits it, you jump back. That vicious dog could hurt your precious babies. “Mine will not be,” I tell you. You get an inkling that I’m not pleased, but I’m probably a bitch anyway so who cares what I think.
That dear client was your second failure. It showed me that you truly believe that you know best, regardless of the needs and concerns of others. Your dogs are “fine”, therefore everyone else’s dogs must be fine with whatever yours may or may not do, and therefore their owners must also be fine. I do not claim perfection for my charges. I asked you not to do something. You ignored me. That doesn’t bode well. It also tells me that left to their own devices your dogs are assholes. While this doesn’t make entry impossible it does require you to get your head out of your ass. While I understand it’s warm and safe in there, the real world would appreciate your participation in things that involve you.
You have your required paperwork (Shockingly), and I give you the other forms. You fill them out, only grumbling mildly about how much work it is to write your name and read a few lines of text. It’s a stretch, I understand. All the while I’m managing my own hell-creatures desperately attempting to keep yours from making it into their space and starting what I could only describe as ‘Lord of the Flies’ with more swearing. Finally the arduous task of simple word construction is over and we’re ready for the moment of truth; The temperament test. I explain the rule, a simple off-leash greeting in our big room. My big sweet boy is my barometer. He is sweet and big enough to not get squashed in a conflict and he refuses to engage in squabbles. Your first dog is a delight. Sweet, gentle and attempting to provoke a playful response from my boy. He complies and they bow and scramble at each other playfully. My pesky puppy joins the fray and your first dog alters the play to include her and yet not overwhelm her. I will enthusiastically pass *that* dog. The second dog enters for what should have been a similar test. The grumbling from the start is not unexpected but the repeated posturing over everyone is not promising. Refusal to disengage from said behavior on a recall, and proceeding to bully each of the the others to a corner and continue to ignore your plaintive calls to “Sweetiecake Mufifn Prince of My Heart!” is the nail in the coffin. “I’m sorry but he does not pass. He cannot go in”
At this point, dear client, we were at a draw. I can grumpily overlook the lack of control, training, and concern for others, because through pure luck, you have one really excellent dog-friendly dog who listens to strangers. Your second dog could be really awesome but we will never know for sure because of said things I am unable to overlook because he is not in fact dog-friendly. We could have left as friends (Not really.You suck hard.) but then you had to go and ruin it, client by opening your stupid-filled mouth.
“I can’t believe you won’t let him in. We’ve never had a problem, and it was just with that one dog! He just doesn’t like German Shepherds. This is ridiculous. Nothing even happened. This place is a joke I would never pay to come back here.”
As I unclench my jaw and swallow the words I feel rising in my mouth. Firstly, Believe it. I take *real* safety issues incredibly seriously. Your dog poses a safety risk for others, human and canine. He is a bully and you show no interest in gaining control over his less than desirable traits. Secondly, if you haven’t had a problem yet, it’s because you’ve either refused to recognize his behavior as a problem and ignored it likely pissing off others like myself extensively, or because you don’t take him anywhere. Thirdly, my big male is essentially the toned-down version of most park dogs. He isn’t overtly pushy. He won’t bounce your dogs around in rough play. If they have an issue with him odds are pretty good it won’t be good with others. We tried with puppy, no improvement. So, it was two vastly different personalities, sizes and appearances. Fourthly, neither dog is a GSD, but thank you for playing. Yes, it is in fact ridiculous but not for any of the the aspects that you’re considering.I offer to let you use our training yard but you stomp out in a huff.
This is your third and final failure, client. It’s not that I don’t want to take your money, in fact, were I less scrupulous, I would do precisely that. I can kick you out per owner discretion without giving you a refund, see? If it were about the money, I’d let you in to run amok and ruin everyone’s day with your ill-mannered dog and your shitty attitude. The bitching about you and your dog alone would ruin my day, and frankly I’m not interested in dealing with anyone else’s shit today so my money grubbing plans will have to wait. And just so we’re 100% clear, when I say your failure, I do in fact mean you. I failed you today, not your dog. Your dog simply didn’t pass. Their likelihood of passing in the future is fully determined by you. You failed and you failed your dog.
So thank you. Thank you for pointing out to me that working with a dog, regardless of the struggle is more rewarding than letting it pass by in front of you without doing anything. Thank you for confirming my initial thoughts as I saw you being yanked across the lot and making me sure of my choices. Thank you for overreacting to the exact wrong part of what I told you. Thank you for not listening so I don’t feel badly about telling you ‘No’. And finally thank you for your rudeness, without which I would be unable to compose this letter. I’ve been doing this a while and I’ve gotten especially good at seeing issues and potential problems. I’ve passed dogs with reservations and those reservations, if unaddressed have become realized. I don’t tell you this to hurt your feelings since I genuinely don’t care about your feelings. I tell you this because you need to know and you need to address it before you have a real problem, not just some uppity bitch failing your dog because she is just hateful. I am all of those things, but I promise I don’t use my best qualities on lesser beings.
Fang (Your not so friendly and not-so-amused local uppity dog bouncer.)