I was pretty new to the business and relatively inexperienced when I started working with Poki, and I remember being a little concerned when she hid under an end-table when I came to take her on our very first walk. You see, Poki is actually very content to stay inside and nap if you’ll let her – her human once described her to me as the “perfect dog for a cat person”.
I don’t recall exactly how I got her out from under that table – I think treats were probably involved – but it wasn’t long before we reached an understanding: She knows that she will get a treat once I’ve been permitted to put her harness on; that I will let her take her time to sniff to her heart’s content on our walks; that 90% of the time I will let her take us along her favorite route, which includes a sometimes-stinky alley that runs behind restaurants; that I will occasionally allow her to eat some treasure that she has found along the way, as long as it’s innocuous (the goldfish cracker that she lunged for on the sidewalk the other day, for example); that I will take care that we avoid the advances of over-zealous dogs whose walkers don’t respect personal space; that if it’s raining I won’t make her stay out any longer than she needs to finish her business, at which point we’ll come back inside and play with the bouncy ball; and that she will get more treats when we return from our walk and she performs her repertoire of tricks, including “up”, “sit”, “paw”, “go find it”, and “lay down”. Sometimes she gets so excited about this last part that she does them all in rapid succession – truly impressive!
I’m looking forward to spring when Poki will once again start rolling in the new grass and will insist that we “sit a spell” and bask in the warm sunshine for a while. We never fail to get big smiles from people walking by when they see her all blissed out on her back, soaking up the rays.
I am grateful that Poki’s guardians took the chance on me as a relatively new and inexperienced walker, and I’m happy to have the opportunity to spend time with Poki each week day, and hope to do so for years to come.
I chose Poki as the first Pet of the Month because March 17 is her adoption anniversary – happy “Gotcha Month”, Poki!
(Going forward, pets of the month will be chosen by random drawing)