Earlier this summer, a kid came to our back door and asked Doug if she could walk our dogs. For five dollars per dog, she would walk them for a half hour. She told us the route, and I knew that could be walked faster than a half hour but it was a nice walk, and Doug gave her permission to take Brodie.
The other two dogs would have to wait. Much to their chagrin.
She returned the next day with two more kids so that all three dogs could be walked. So all three dogs got to go.
I told Doug that I didn't want to pay 15 bucks a day for our three dogs to get walked when they should be walked by Geoff, Doug and myself for free. He agreed, but he's a sucker for kids, really. They had convincing arguments. "We're saving money for school supplies this year, trying to make it easier on our parents!"
And seeing as our son was running his own little business mowing people's lawns when THEY really could be mowing their own lawns, well... we understand the effort.
He let all three dogs go the next time they got him at the door. They started talking to him about a solid schedule, and giving discounts after the first 10 walks it would drop down to three bucks a dog. Making punch cards to track the walkies.
Doug said that was silly and complicated, and that this was not going to be a regular daily thing, but to just check in with us if we're home and we'll decide whether or not the dogs would be going on a walk that day.
Now, Jack and Gonzo both have very bad limps. They may have tick-borne illnesses, again. They also may just be old and arthritic. When they go for long walks, I end up having to half carry them up the stairs at night, or at 2:00 am there is a dog down here whinging that he wants to come up but can't quite make it, so then I'm wide awake after that ordeal.
Brodie is really the one who could use a daily constitutional of honest distance. But I wasn't paying for this daily.
Daily, these children would come to the door in the morning to walk the dogs. Some days I would let just Brodie go, other times Gonzo because he seems to handle the walk better. I gave them bags to pick up dog crap and they gave rather detailed reports of the back end expulsions produced. They knew that they could put the bags in our trash barrels, and even if they were walking someone else's dogs, and they were passing the house here, I told them they were welcome to pitch the poo into the barrel here rather than carry it about.
Well, things got a little weird.
One day two kids showed up that I didn't recognize. They said that they were working with the other kids so ... I let them walk the dogs. Later that afternoon the three regular kids showed up and they were a tad peeved.
"We saw your dogs with Kid A and Kid B. They don't work with us. We don't like them. They're trying to steal all our customers. So if they come here, you tell them that you only want us walking your dogs."
Okay. So now you're indignantly telling me what to do. You're TEN years old. What?
Seeing as the one girl was indeed the first person who came to walk the dogs I kind of agreed that yes, she does a good job and takes care of Brodie very nicely. I said I would not make the same mistake again.
A couple days later, one of the two boys who was with the girl initially was "fired" by the girl.
"He does a bad job and he is stealing from us and so we don't want him working with us and we don't want him walking your dogs."
You've got to be kidding. This kind of drama from elementary school kids?
So Kid 3, the fired one, started coming here himself, and then the original two were coming here... and they were competing for who could get here earlier.
I was leaving at 8:15 am one day to take Geoff to football practice and they were coming up the drive. "We can walk the dogs and have them back by the time you get back!"
No. We are late leaving as it is, and I don't want to get the leash and the collar on Brodie.
"We'll do it," says the girl and she goes to open the door.
Uh, NO. If I am not here, I don't want you out with the dogs. "What if something happens, the leash comes off, or she gets away and gets hit by a car. You don't want that happening and me not here I had kids knocking on my doors all day. "No walking today, come back on Thursday." They'd come the next day, even though it wasn't Thursday. "So, when did I tell you to come here? Today is Tuesday. I told you to come back on Thursday. so...???"
They all made up and the three were back in business. Until yesterday.
Kid 3 and his brother came, I gave them two dogs to walk. Kid 3 informed me that he and the others could not work things out. He said "they are putting bags of crap in people's mailboxes and I don't like that. That's not right."
I told them I wasn't interested in getting in the middle of Dog Walker Wars, that this was starting to get crazy, and that I was hoping that once school started that there would be no more fighting over the dog walking situation.
Later on the original girl and boy showed up and were disappointed that I let the dogs walk with their mortal enemy, Kid 3. She informed me that Kid 3 was "going to Juvie" because he "inappropriately touched" her, and she called the police on him. So he's going to get locked up. And he breaks into people's houses and steals from them, so I should watch out for him.
So again, I told the two of them that I am not interested in being stuck in the middle of Dog Walker Wars. I told them that this weekend I would not be around on Saturday and that the hurricane on Sunday would mean that there would be no dog walking. But that I was pretty much on the verge of making a decision that no one would be walking the dogs anymore because I cannot deal with the drama of fourth and fifth graders.
I'm ready to kill these three kids at this point.