I have a job. I'm currently the newest kennel technician at It's All About the Dogs in Eureka, CA (www.itsallaboutthedogs.com). The business boards dogs and provides a "doggy daycamp" service. Monday, I looked after over fifty dogs. Most of these dogs were boarding dogs, staying with us while their owners went away for the President's Day holiday. Still, there were several dogs just there for the day. The facility keeps all of the dogs seperated by size (large, medium, small, and toy). When we arrive in the morning (about 6:30 am), we open up the large dog kennels and herd the large dogs into the large dog play area. Next, we move the medium dogs, then small, and then toy. The dogs are given two hours to pee, poop, and play. At about 9:00 am we put each dog's food into their kennels. Each dog has it's own kennel with it's own dog bed/blanket, toys, food (most people bring food from home but we do provide food if needed), and water. By 10:00 am, we begin herding the dogs back into their kennels for breakfast. This is especially hard for me because I don't know their names yet. Once all of the large dogs are put back into their kennels, we herd the medium, then small, and then toy. Some of the dogs require medication. Also, some of the dogs come in pairs but can't be fed together. We give out medication, seperate dogs as needed, and make sure they all have time to eat and relax a little (they've been playing in the yard since 6:30 am). By noon, we let each group back into their respective play areas. While the dogs play, the kennel tech observes. We make sure dogs are getting along, we move dogs around if needed (sometimes large but older dogs do better in the medium group, for example). Obviously, we also pick up poo and clean up pee. Luckily, most of the dogs pee outside so pee isn't a big problem. Having a 130lb Burmese Mountain dog with diarreah, however, is not my favorite part of the job. Still, we have great pooper scoopers so I never come close to touching poo or even having to bend over. I play with the dogs a bit and, of course, give each of them some love. People are dropping off and picking up dogs all day. The gates in/out of each play area are large and dogs often get out each time we open them to bring a new dog into the group or take a dog out. This is especially true of the small dogs. I swear, everytime I had to get into the small dog play area, the same little pug would escape. Each play area is gated so none of the dogs can go anywhere once they get out of their area (other than the office but that door is usually closed). Still, this wheezing (I've never heard such weird noises in my life!) little pug kept running away from me. I'd chase him around, pick him up, and take him back into the small dog area. Sometimes, when I put him back in, a beagle or rat terrier would escape. I'd chase them, pick them up, and repeat the process. I'm still learning how to get in and out of each area without allowing dogs to escape. I don't know how much hope there is though, even when the owner goes in and out of areas - dogs escape! This is where many of my 10,000 steps per shift occur. Anyway, by about 5 PM, we bring the dogs back into their kennels for dinner. This process is similar to the breakfast process so I won't repeat the details. After everyone has eaten, we let them back into their respective play areas to pee, poo, and play a little longer. At about 6 PM, we bring them back into their kennels for the night. Each dog receives treats brought from home or a complimentary dog bone from our stash. We play relaxing music and leave for the night. There are several other things we do throughout the day. The washer and dryer, for example, are ran most of the day. We constantly wash bedding, towels, etc. Each dogs kennel is swept and mopped daily while the dogs are out playing. Dog dishes are cleaned after each meal. In the office, there are a ton of things to do. We keep very detailed notes about each dog's belongings, diet, behavior, medication, etc. We also keep track of all of the dogs' vaccinations. Each day, we call vets to verify vaccinations. If vaccinations have expired, we call the pet's owner and ask that they have their dog vaccinated before bringing the dog(s) back to the kennel. We book appointments for boarding, grooming, daycare, etc. The list goes on and on. It's crazy, I never thought this much work would be involved!
Anyway, I LOVE the job. It's super busy and there is a lot to do so the day goes by very fast. In comparison to office jobs, I definitely prefer to be on my feet all day. I'm also excited to bring Mushko to work with me (I can board him for free as much as I like, excluding major holidays). I can also bathe him in our grooming tub and use any of our scented dog shampoos (chocolate, vanilla, mint, oatmeal, etc) - all for free!!! Furthermore, if dog toys/treats are left behind, kennel techs can take them home! Because of dog allergies, we can't give treats, food, or toys to other dogs... I think Mushko will love free treats and toys. I took him to the vet yesterday and had him vaccinated so that I can bring him in tomorrow. I can't wait, wish us luck!