The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.
So said the great Albert Einstein. Clearly the man never worked in a dog kennel. He was right about one thing…timing is essential for minimizing repetitive chores. Still I find myself flirting with the clock so my monotonous figure eight is, at the very least, efficient. It takes only seconds for a miscalculation to end in hours of scrubbing.
Scrubbing floors, blankets, furry feet and fluffy ears. Yes, even I, can make scrubbing sound cute and fun. After all, my job is simply playing with dogs all day. Right? A few muddy feet and full dinner dishes…what else needs to be done besides an entertaining bout of fetch, a relaxing snuggle in the sun, or a rousing game of tag?
There is one very important personal trait that allows me to do this job well, my complete lack of smell. You would think that after the first time of watching chlorine vapors rise from a urine soaked mop to burn my sinuses I would stop mixing bleach into my cleaning routine. My ingrained need to be clean simply will not allow me abandon the cleaning power of bleach just because chemistry can magically take 2 liquids and create gas. Thanks Mom! The irony is that I now have to wait for someone to start gagging before I realize I missed a soiled blanket.
Now you are all sitting there and asking yourself how I could possibly missed a soiled blanket. Well…let me tell you…at bedtime I tuck an exhausted, adorable, chocolate tri, Cocker Spaniel into his room. I’ve carefully pre-planned Charlie’s early dinner 3 hours before and during this final romp with all his buddy’s, I have carefully set him up with clean blankets, a full water bowl, and a nylabone. He loves to dig the light fleece blanket into the heavy cushions underneath until he gets just the right nest to curl up in and dream away the quiet night. In the morning he lifts his tired head and asks to sleep in a little bit longer. I can see that he buried his nylabone overnight in his blanket nest and is sleeping on it so nobody finds his prize.
He’s the first one I shoo out the door with tired eyes and this is where timing becomes essential…everyone wants out at the exact same time…the silent click of the front door is the “freedom bell”. I’ve strategically arranged bedrooms with puppies in the first run so I can quickly pull the cord on the guillotine door and they can relieve their tiny bladders outside. The older dogs are on the right hand side of the kennel and will be let out the front door into the yard as a single charging gang. Bing bang boom, in 10-20 seconds on the clock, everyone has outdoor access to deposit their night’s built up waste.
Despite strategic “puppy placement” the baby had to go doodie sometime during the night. In his excitement to see me in the morning he ran through his soft “away-from-home” stress poop leaving adorable little brown puppy prints from one end of his room to the other. His brown caked paws have jumped up inside his room and have literally flung the smelly butt mush up the walls while small drips have boomeranged over his head and landed in his fur. I count my lucky stars that he wasn’t tall enough to fling dung droplets over the barrier to land on me. As if the puppy poo room wasn’t bad enough, when one pooch smells tushy tots in the warm enclosed kennel overnight they all feel the primal urge to empty their colons. After 4 mop buckets, 3 loads of laundry, disinfectant, smelly candles and good open air session the kennel is once again clean. On my way out of the kennel I grab the poop scoop and start removing the deposits on the path from the main kennel door to the front gate preparing for the arrival of my 9am appointment.
Believe it or not there is a special skill in handling the pooper scooper. The first line of defense is in the scan…discerning poop from rocks and leaves is a “Where’s Waldo” cartoon that usually ends up with the sole of my shoe finding it before my aging eyes do. Solid, healthy, non-squished butt nuggets can be flung with the metal rake into the scoop like an expert golfer tapping the ball just the right way so it lands in the hole. Trampled pancake stink wads show off my expertise at maneuvering the rake tines under the flat mass and gently pulling upwards to untangle the grass or cedar bark from the hotcake. If you pull too hard the edges will break apart and crumble forcing me to pick up tiny pieces of the camouflaged explosion. The flat metal scoop is a challenge all in itself…dogs love to poop on things. I remember my first pup Shylo would carefully position his butt over Gramma’s perfectly placed and pruned planters to deposit his surprise. The scoop’s flat edge makes it hard to retrieve strategically placed poops from the tops of my garden rocks or bushes…tip it too much to one side and you loose the whole load, too high and the poop will land in pieces on grass under the scoop, too low and the poop will fly over and hit my feet.
In seeking validation for my endless doo-doo battle I tune into the “Twisted Groomer Humor” on facebook, the uplifting ladies on this site post cute pictures of caca piled into heart and pretzel shapes, dirty squirty rooms from newbies who disregarded the clock, poop in water dishes, pooped out toys, wrappers, and whole potatoes, poop on hands, under nails, and on bare flip flop toes. The virtual community gathers together in sympathy, understanding, camaraderie, and laughter to keep moving forward and not let the poop get us down.
After a full day of grooming and supervising doggies in my care, it is once again time to get everyone’s munchies ready. Dinner, Play, Bed. My routine pushes exhausted pooches outside to deposit any remaining butt truffles while I set up their bedrooms. Charlie’s bedding gets straightened and I pull out the hidden nylabone to make sure that Charlie doesn’t have to sleep on the hard knuckle. Hidden under the small fleece blanket with his nylabone…yep, you guessed it! Poop! Poop that has been dug into the fleece, covered up and slept on! This crepe turd peels seamlessly away from the blanket so I can start the last laundry load of the day.
I clean up shite all…day…long. I know you are all thinking it’s not my dog! Believe me, it’s your dog, it’s every dog! They know where the magic doodie spot is at home, it smells like doo-doo! Just follow your nose! That singular yummy smelling magic spot doesn’t exist at the kennel. Mature dogs who have the routine down to a science at home can hold it an extra minute because they know the door always opens exactly at 8:13am. We are all creatures of habit. They go potty at 8:13am. That’s all they know.
Albert Einstein was right there is a reason for time. But time doesn’t exist so that everything doesn’t happen at once…time exists to teach us humility. Time teaches us that we need to be organised with careful execution. If we get distracted and tune out the ticking of the clock, our execution fails and time speeds up to stab at our hearts with anxiety. Time is our ultimate teacher. Time is the parent who teaches us to fish. You can not conquer, cheat, or manipulate time…you must learn to work as a team, laugh when you fail and celebrate when you succeed. Well behaved takes time. Friendship takes time. Love takes time. Time gives us the free will to sink or swim. Time Management is a critical life skill that offers no safety net, no sympathy, no guidance, just a kick in the pants to keep us moving forward.