Recently, most of my time has been spent with lots of animals, specifically of the dog breed. Currently, my full-time job entails taking care of dogs, attending to their every needs, including their emotional needs. Other than smelling like a pooch full-time, I spend most of my days in one of the most loving environments, which is focused on caring for other’s needs.
I currently work for Camp Bow Wow, a doggie day care and dog boarding company, that caters to the needs of over 300 dogs. On a day-to-day basis, our location caters to up to 180 dogs at a time. So, it is safe to say that as a “Camp Counselor,” I have taken care of and gotten to know a great handful of dogs to this day. The job requirements of a “camp counselor,” includes picking up dog poop, but mostly, petting as many dogs as possible. IT TRULY INVOLVES MANY HOURS OF SIMPLY PETTING THE DOGS.
Yes, I have favorites (and, more than one favorite!) It is hard not to have favorites…what can I say, some dogs just leave bigger imprints on your life and resonate with you and your personality more.
Animals, or pets in this case, are therapeutic to be around, and this has been scientifically proven. Compared to many other work environments, my job is fairly low-paced and involves low-stress levels.
The mental, emotional, mood, and physical benefits that have come of spending time with dogs has been amazing. While I knew and was aware that there would be benefits of all sorts from this job, I did not realize how much of an effect it would take on my world.
Spending time with dogs five out of seven days of the week allows me to be surrrounded by a loving and caring environment most of my week. It also has allowed me to form relationships, some of which I have formed true bonds with, with some of these dogs I am paid to take care of.
As a pet, humans, specifically their caretakers, are their world. They generally feel enormous amounts of happiness, unconditional love, and excitement from encountering familiar faces.
It has been life-changing to have over 300+ dogs that I have met through my job show unconditional love and unconditional excitement to see you. There is something about the dogs running up to you, with a wagging tail, a smile, and loose hips, that can turn anyone’s day around. The best feeling is when you realize that certain dogs have begun recognizing you and run up to you with overwhelming amounts of joy and love.
“No one should be this excited to see me,” you think.
“I do not deserve to be loved this much, even after all the mistakes I have made,” you think again.
It is incredibly humbling to experience this kind of love and happiness, and as you begin surrounding yourself with this kind of environment, it begins rubbing off onto your day-to-day personality.
There is also something incredible about the amount of joy you experience when you make a new friend, or form a relationship, with some of the dogs that you encounter quite frequently. As you spend more and more time with them, you begin to notice their own personalities, know their strengths and weaknesses, and you can even tell who they like and do not like. It is infinitely better than forming relationships with human beings…just kidding…maybe…
Like relationships with humans, forming a genuine relationship with a dog requires lots of time, lots of effort, lots of trust, and lots of love. Similar to forming relationships with human beings, every dog is different and unique from other dogs, so, every dog requires a unique and seperate approach when getting to know them. Some dogs are shy, some dogs are timid, some dogs are rebellious, some dogs are anxious, some dogs do not like other dogs, some dogst are antisocial, some dogs are awkward, and the list goes on…Getting to know each and every dogs personality is exciting and a great experience, and it is truly hard to describe what the experience feels like.
As you begin accumulating a handful of friends of the dog variety, it almost becomes a fun journey, as you make it your mission to become friends with every single dog. It has become a fun challenge for me to attempt to get to know as many dogs as I possibly can. It takes much more time and effort than one would imagine.
None of the dogs that I have encountered, and I have encountered many and of many a variety, ever mean to inflict pain or do any wrong. This kind of trait is inspiring to witness, and once again, has helped push me to grow in the right directions.
Another amazing aspect of this job is the amount of responsibility and the amount of trust that each and every owner and every dog has placed in you to take care of their pet, and themselves. Especially for the owner, who do not get to meet every member of our staff, they are placing the lives of their precious dog, and an extension of themselves, into my hands. Just like when you are responsible for taking care of another human being, you do not want to endanger anyone or put anyone in a compromising position. In addition, you want to create an environment that is not only calming, but comfortable for every party.
Along with overseeing the dog’s activities, it is our responsibility to feed the dogs, bathe the dogs, and take the dogs down for a nap, among other things. When it comes to grooming, as a “camp counselor,” I am sometimes repsonsible for giving certain dogs baths and also assist in clipping the nails of certain dogs. It is always an adventure, and most dogs are hesistant and hate the idea of you soaking them. All the dogs love food, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner times.
When I am working a long shift, I spend many hours in multiple dog yards, interacting with most of the dogs that come into daycare daily. It gives a nice change of pace, as I get to interact with a wide variety and am able to form relationships with plenty of dogs a day. After spending long hours, sometimes it gets tiring to maintain keeping an high energy and catering to all the dogs needs. During times like this, I often put myself in the dogs position and realize that they have come here to have fun, and as a result, I need to pump up the party and check up on every dog. Sometimes this is unrealistic, or slips my mind, but I do my best to attend to each and every one of the dogs.
Through my new job, I have also come to realize that dogs offer the world a type of innonce that humans ignore and do not prioritize. This kind of innonence reminds us to take a minute to reassess our personality, and hopefully inspire us to be better people. Sometimes, I think that we do not even deserve this kind of innonence in our life. Most importantly, this kind of innonence reminds me what it is like to be good, and the importance of “good,” in our somewhat evil world.
Animals, and constantly being surrounded by them, will never stop being therapeutic. If it was possible, I would recommend every person on this world to participate in some sort of daily animal therapy, or animal interaction. You would be surprised how much of an impact and uplifting manner the presence of animals will take on yourself.
My world has become dogs, and I have found myself divulging into their worlds. My priorities have begin changing and I have continuined growing in many ways that I could not even conceptualize. I live, love, laugh, and breathe dogs now. I must say that I am not mad at it. No matter how messy the dog is, or how much poop and mud they may be covered in, I have found room for love again.
I have attached some photographs of the doggos in their element – at camp! I have tried to capture as many dogs as possible on camera roll, but these are not even half of them.
I hope you enjoy these fun, loving creatures, doing what they do best, and I hope it makes your day a whole lot brighter!
Just keep woofin’ on (and, just keep pettin’ on) ♥
Feel free to attach your own doggos pictures in the comments below.