Dogs are just like people sometimes – only better! I’ve been volunteering at an animal shelter for some time now and have met so many dogs with different personalities, that I wanted to introduce you to a few of them.
1. The Ball of Joy
Feeling down in the dumps, woke up on the wrong side of the bed, got your personal cloud hanging over your head? You’re guaranteed to forget all that when you enter a shelter kennel inhabited by a furry, slobbering, jumping, smiling ball of joy. Sure, sometimes that ball of joy is an extra slobbery 40-pound pit bull slamming his front paws into your stomach region or a 80-pound German Sheppard trying to place his paws on your shoulders for a hug – but they’re just SO HAPPY that you came! A subcategory of the Ball of Joy is the Butt Wagger. These pups are so happy that tail-wagging is not enough, their whole butt goes along with it. Extremely funny when they’re trying to walk and wag at the same time.
2. The Perfect Kisser
There’s the slobber-face that goes straight for your mouth or your ear, leaving it dripping with dog drool and as an extra treat he huffs and puffs dog-food-breath straight up your nostrils afterwards. Then there’s the tiny chihuahua with the even tinier tongue cautiously working his way over every inch of your hand and onward up your sleeve leaving you with a damp, sticky feeling all over. And finally there’s the perfect kisser. He goes for the cheek and plants a wet, but not too slobbery smootch on you. No more, no less, just right.
3. The 10-Minute-Harnesser
Now these guys are either so anxious for their walk or just hate their kennel so much that they put up a huge fuss when they see somebody at the kennel door. It takes about 3 minutes to squeeze through the door while at the same time trying to keep the dog from escaping and also ensuring that you will get out of the mess with a normal amount of fingers on both hands. Then you just stand there for another minute, holding the door shut, ignoring the dog that is jumping all over you and trying to keep your balance while paws are slamming into your back. The next 6 minutes you’re alternately soothing “Alright boy, calm down now” and yelling “NO” as soon as those teeth get too close to your skin again, all while making one thousand attempts on placing the harness over the dog’s head without some part of it ending up in his mouth. Finally you got that done, now you have to close the clip of the harness, which means either going on eye-level with a mouth full of teeth and slobber or bending over the dog and risking a head-puncher into your crotch. After about 10 minutes you exit the kennel feeling like you just got out of a fist fight and POOF: The 10-Minute-Harnesser is the calmest dog around and is strolling along by your side so patiently your fellow dog walkers don’t believe your story of the fist fight.
4. The Ball-Not-Catcher
This one loves balls, especially jumpy tennis balls. He’ll go after them forever, it’s absolutely impossible to tire him out. He just can’t catch those balls if his life depended on it. At first he’s so happy that you came to play ball with him, that he’s constantly tripping you as his eyes are always on the ball in your hand. You throw the ball and he dashes after it, now himself tripping over his own paws and clumsily running into bushes and trees on the way. He reaches the ball’s position in air and awaits it with a wide open snout – only for it to plunk to the ground 2 feet next to him. He notices his mistake and frantically goes after the tennis ball jumping around in wild zig-zag patterns since the ball is bouncing everywhere but into his open mouth. Finally the yellow target lands in a bush and the Ball-Not-Catcher leaps after it – returning victorious at last and now putting up a fight about dropping the ball so you can throw it again.
5. The Frequent Pooper
Yes, poop is an essential part of the job. After a while of dog walking you will find yourself doing baby-talk with the dog like “Is this pretty little girl going to do a nice potty for me? Are you? Of course you are, you’re so pretty!”. If only dogs could talk back… Usually a dog will do his business once and if it’s not in the middle of the street where you have to start regulating traffic because heaven forbid someone disturbes a peacefully pooping dog, you’re happy that the dog relieved himself before returning to his kennel. Not so with the Frequent Pooper. The record holding dog at our shelter goes four times on every walk, preferably in tall grass. Trying to pick the droppings out of the long blades of grass always makes things worse, since you’re only covering them with poop and not removing anything. But at least the dog is emptied and happy.
If you love being around animals and are looking to volunteer in your free time, check out your local Humane Society, I’m sure they will be thankful for every help you have to offer! Not to mention all those big smiles and kisses the dogs will give you. 🙂