Jenna’s Blog: A Horrifying Discovery
I know I talk for a living, but where do I even begin? Since sorta boyfriend and I broke up, I had to figure out an arrangement for my pug Maximus. Our work schedule makes it impossible to have a dog without help taking care of him. So I hired a highly recommended professional dog walker literally the day we broke up because Maximus is high priority to me-as a dog should be. I had no doubt upon meeting this person that I had struck gold as far as dog walking goes. He revealed that he was a super fan of the morning show and even cried talking about Kidd’s passing. He was everything you could hope for in a dog walker… a caretaker really. Passionate about animals, compassionate about life. Hiring a dog walker carries so much more importance than say, a maid service or a handyman. This is a living, breathing life ya know?
All seemed good for a long time and I guess I learned the hard way again that there are just some bad people in this world. Maximus was diagnosed with diabetes over the Christmas holidays and since then I’ve been referring to my dog walker as a lifesaver. He is paid 18 dollars per walk twice a day to administer insulin and walk Maximus for 20 min each time. Recently, I became suspicious that Maximus wasn’t getting his walks in. Accidents in the house, lethargy when I arrived home from a long day at work and something just seemed off. I brought it up to my roommate who often overlaps with the dog walker when she is getting home from her boyfriend’s place or her morning pilates class. She had no idea what my arrangement with my dog walker was until we discussed the walk time. She told me there was no way he was walking Maximus for the 20 minutes in our contract. So now that we were on the same page, I had her keep mental notes about time frames in the morn and I also decided to get a dropcam that my friends have for fun to watch their new doggie. What’s the harm in checking in on my sweet, sick pug every now and then while I’m at work right?
Ignorance sure is bliss, because what I discovered was beyond heartbreaking. There were some other off moments in the past few months that led me to believe maybe he just wasn’t being walked that allotted amount of time. So, it was time to tune in and hope that maybe it was just a couple times he wasn’t getting his full walk. I get it, people cut corners sometimes when they have a lot of dogs to walk. That’s not ok, but it’s not full fledged doggie abuse right? What I discovered over the past few weeks was hard to accept and devastating. I was able to confirm my worst fears. My dog walker was not only consistently walking Max for only 4-9 minutes of my 20 minute morning walk, he was coming back for the second walk and not even taking Maximus outside AT ALL. My baby loves outside. I already have guilt that I don’t live in a house with a yard and in what might very well be the last year of his life, he deserves as much time outside as he wants. I knew I needed to build a case and not base this on off days the dog walker might be having. It was hard 2 weeks ago to not call him out on the first time I saw a morning walk last 4 minutes door to door. It takes a MINIMUM of one minute to get downstairs so that means he was taking Maximus out to literally pee and back in. Watching him leave and seeing my dog go straight to the open patio door because he needed to potty was heartbreaking. Still, I didn’t say anything. Then Maximus had his hypoglycemic episode Thursday and had to be at the vet through Friday, so I decided to focus on his health and give it another week.
Yesterday wasn’t ideal because the morning walk was very short again and I wasn’t able to catch the afternoon one because of internet change. So today I see yet another brief walk this morn. 9 minutes total. Again it’s supposed to be 20. I want so badly to give this man who has been seemingly amazing the benefit of the doubt. Okay, 9 is better than nothing, but why am I paying for service that isn’t being delivered?! But then something happened and it sent me over the edge. Today’s afternoon walk went like this. Dog walker walked inside, talking loudly on cell phone, barely petted Max’s head, strolled around my place for 2 minutes still on phone and walked out the door. I couldn’t believe what I witnessed. I played the webstream back again and again hoping I missed the walk. How could this be happening? My dog is sick as hell and he’s not even getting a walk that I paid for? I am so uncomfortable with the thought of getting someone fired. I waited a few weeks on this because I truly didn’t know the best way to handle it. But seeing this happen with no walk at all for the second time in a week sent me over the edge. Then I received a lengthy text about his long stroll and how great he was feeling and went to the bathroom a ton. Talk about a boldfaced pathological lie! I asked the dog walker to come back over because I needed to talk to him about Maximus.
He had no idea he was about to walk into some sort of Chris Hansen To Catch a Dog Predator situation. I was scared. I have never had to fire someone before. I just wanted to get my key back and give him the opportunity to be honest and explain himself. I have given this person my trust and actually felt like he was a family member to us. Understandably I think. I decided to invite my roommate and friends to watch the stream from the same dropcam that caught all of this just in case things went south. I first asked him to have a seat and said I need to ask you about Maximus’s walk times and how much walking he’s getting. Dog walker without flinching said, 15-20 minutes every time. I said, “try again”. He again lied to me. I said, “I wish you chose to handle this differently, I gave you the opportunity to come clean here but I am going to talk for a second.” I told him what I have been witnessing and he became agitated and shockingly offensive. He started blaming Maximus for not wanting to go on walks. Then he again lied and said he took him out. I was prepared with time coded proof of walk times and he said he doesn’t like rain. It was one excuse after another with nowhere for him to run.
He had zero remorse in his eyes and said ok, look what do you want me to do. I can refund today. I was like, no f***ing way he just said that. I said, yes the refund is something your boss will take care of later. Now, I wanted to give you the chance to explain why you are not only NOT walking my sick dog at all, but you are texting me detailed lies about your long walks and how great he is feeling. Then he had the nerve to blame Maximus again….he said he didn’t walk Maximus today because he noticed he went pee and poop on my patio and he didn’t need a walk. Are you kidding me? Do you realize what you are saying? He went potty because he didn’t get enough on his first walk and now he doesn’t get to walk? I asked why. I just want a real human reason. Are you lazy? Just wanting a paycheck? I’ve tried to reason with myself that something is up but I can’t help but think this really is animal abuse. He again had no remorse and said I just don’t know what to say. Not an apology, not an explanation, just fidgeting and uncomfortable. I laid into him of course and he just kept trying to lie.
I got my key back and told him how upset I am and that I genuinely think he is a bad human being. I want to keep his name private. I spoke with his boss who was equally as shocked and disappointed. It’s not his fault and he felt betrayed on a friend level as well. I am so hurt that Maximus has been getting this kind of treatment for who knows how long. And with him being sick-which by the way started after my dog walker was hired. I’m hoping they are unrelated and I don’t want to get into any legal battle. I am just so hurt and betrayed. I want money back, which they are going to do and he apparently already quit his job before the boss even talked to him. I hate that I have to get someone fired, but the most important thing here I keep reminding myself of is that I could be saving a lot of other dogs’ lives. If he’s doing this to me, imagine how many others are never getting walked too? I really hope I did the right thing. I have video evidence, a Chris Hansen style Dateline confrontation and a really broken heart. I also forgot my camera was on as I stripped into gym clothes so sorry friends who watched the drama. At least they got a full show:) Why are people just so disappointing?
Listen to Jenna tell her story HERE!