My blood's boiling, that little 'Jack Nicholson in the Shining' vein is starting to dance like a drug addled raver on the side of my forehead; that's a sure sign that Dick of the Week is ready to roll....... so here goes.
When you become a DD client, or 'DD family member' as we like to call you, you are joining a program, you are not just a client at a regular business.
Everyone knows it, it's on the contract, it's deliberately pointed out in the first email that either Kris or I send out to a prospective client, and then, just to be sure, we mention it a few more times before and during the evaluation. We also point out very succinctly, RIGHT FROM THE START, that if you don't abide by the rules of the program, you'll no longer be able to board your dogs with us.
Our part of the bargain is we offer a unique and all-encompassing service, fully staffed 24/7.
And by 24/7 we mean 24/7.... if your dog even FARTS in the night, we are on it like a SWAT team, Tom Cruise style, wires suspending us above each suite as we zip line down from upstairs dressed in black complete with night vision goggles, to check on the guests...'Need a poop, Buddy? Wanna go out? I know its 3am but we are here for you, baby....just a cuddle? Okay then big boy, move over..”
There's nowhere else like it....all the comforts of home, all the adventure of Six Flags, all the love and care of a doting parent, and over 60 years of combined experience that has categorically shown us that dogs have less stress when surrounded by familiar things and people.
So, it is part of our contract that anyone who joins the program HAS to come at the very least every 3-months so that we can maintain a close, loving relationship with their dog.
New clients we sometimes need to text a reminder to, only once......but someone whose dogs have been in the program for 8 years?
Meh, shaking my bloody head at this one.
Enter Bob and Kitty, not their real names but they are this week's Dicks of the Week.
These two became clients even before they got their puppy and had approached us asking advice on local vets and food, trainers etc. They joined the program officially when their pup was 4.5 months old and told us then that they LOVED the fact the fact that we insisted upon the regular visits, as it meant that their dog would always have somewhere that felt like home. A wonderful relationship ensued, with their dog Mary (names changed to protect the innocent) becoming a huge part of the group, we chatted often about her emotional needs and how to fulfil them and worked very closely to help her be accepting of new things.
For a short time, their daughter was a client with her two dogs. When she stopped bringing them quarterly, I wrote our standard 'get your ass back here' email, not once but twice, warning her that people who don't, get dropped from the program.
A year later, having completely ignored these emails, she texted requesting a spot for her two dogs and was told categorically to bugger off. I explained to her Mum and Dad back then that we just don't accept people who don't want to keep within our rules. They nodded their heads and said they understood.
Bob and Kitty live locally and know many of our clients. They have a dog that loves other dogs but hates, literally HATES, being touched or handled by people she doesn't know... fair enough, some dogs are like that - I have one myself- and so we worked hard, and very successfully, on helping her with that.
Their other dog is pretty easy going, if a little nervous, but it is their older dog, Mary, whom they have told us on many occasions, couldn't be anywhere but at DD. 'That's fine' we'd always say, 'Just make sure she comes often and she will keep improving’.
I was never much of a fan of Bob to be honest, a weird, bumbling, Mr Magoo-esque chap, he is known as an a$$hole in the retirement complex that they live in.
Local legend has it that once, in the community dog park, he saw a dog sniffing Mary's butt hole while she was taking a dump, so he picked the poor dog up and threw it over the fence. Okay, I wouldn't want, nor advise, anyone to go sniffing around my own butt hole while I was doing my business, but these are dogs, for God's sake! They get all their personal information from another dogs' butthole. Those long, indrawn sniffs are them checking their doggy emails and texts...they sniff, roll in, even sometimes eat sh*t...with a dog it's all about the butt hole!
An obsession with said orifice, however active, goes hand in hand with being a dog!
While I thought that this was a dick move, and I wish the owner of the 'flung dog' had punched him in the gonads, he seemed to have escaped unpunished, albeit but for the behind-the-hands whispers.
As for us, we really did love his dogs, Mary had been with us since a puppy, I felt like her Grandma...and so, because his wife was an okay sort, we continued to have their two dogs boarding and pledged to just avoid the blithering old fart like the plague. To be fair, we thought he was perhaps 'away with the fairies' a bit and we didn't want the dogs to have to pay for the owners' mental deficiency or idiocy...so Kris, Pete and I discussed it at length and decided that as long as they complied with our protocols, and neither of us had to talk to him, we would continue to work with the girls.
And then Covid hit.
DD closed for two months due to the lockdown and, while we were seen as an essential business, we had no clue where this thing was going and so decided to protect our staff while we waited to see what happened.
When we opened again in May, I wrote to Bob and Kitty and expressed that before the lockdown, we had not seen them for 4 months and that they'd ignored an email from me, but that now we were open, we needed to see the girls very soon as it had been 6 months. I reminded them that with a nervous dog, that wasn't advisable.
Crickets. Nada. Zip.
So a couple of weeks later, I wrote again, and this time Kitty answered telling me they weren't traveling but that they'd get in touch when they were. I reminded them of their contract with the program and explained that we had all manner of Covid safety protocols set up, including a new entrance way, a new time, 'no-touch' handover of dogs to maintain 8 feet of distance and that all leashes and collars were sanitized before or after hand overs. Plus, we were all masked and gloved up like CDC staff at an Ebola party. 'So', I wrote, ' Let's get them in for day-camp to keep them in the program because if you leave it any longer, they won't be able to stay in, not least because Mary needs regular contact with us to ease her stress and keep her social with people.”
They contacted Kris, didn't answer me directly but oh well, and arranged a day-camp day for the girls.
Then four months went by and we hadn't seen them, so I emailed again. Crickets.
So I resent it, only to be told 'Yeah, we're not travelling, but we'll be in touch when we are.’
"Nope", said I, rattled by this time, "We either see them every quarter or you leave the program, you know the rules. If you don't feel this is a fit for you any more it's okay, but when we have wonderful people bringing their dogs every 3 months and, to be fair, as soon as we re-opened, we had some incredible kindnesses from people who sent their dogs just to help us pay the bills, sorry but you don't get to skip out on months of visits”.
They brought the dogs for a visit without answering me, I was clearly by now 'persona non grata' unworthy of a reply, but they did promise Kris they'd get back on track now things were back to normal. I hated being ignored, especially as I had been there for them at every stage of their dog's life with free behavioral advice, diet planning, supplemental advice, anything they needed day or night. The dog lover in me wanted to forgive, the egotist in me wanted to smear dog $hit on their front step...ahh, decisions, decisions.
My eventual thought was, let's just give them one more chance.
4 months later, and nothing from them, so I texted and emailed. Crickets.
Then again. Crickets.
Texted again a week later to ask if they were, perhaps, dead?...Crickets.
All texts showed as read. All texts unanswered.
And so, I texted them one last time after a week of silence, to say that they were out of the program for good, and to wish them luck finding somewhere that would suit their girls when they travel.
Two minutes later, Kitty texted Kris, (not me, I was dead to them, clearly) to book a stay for the girls, and was shocked to be told that it was too late, that the 'firing' stood. What followed was a lot of disbelief, fury, indignation and then anger at how they now couldn't go see their grandchildren and where the hell would they board their dogs?
Shoulda thought of that sooner, you ignorant fools.
Kris is way, way nicer, more patient and tolerant than me, but even SHE said "That's just total ignorance. We are clearly just the hired help to them, only worthy of a response when it suits them.”
And so Bob and Kitty, with your 18th century approach to service, this is me, 'Downton Abbey staff' style, tugging my forelock, curtsying and groveling in servitude, begging, nay pleading, you to come back to the program and assuring you that we never ever take offense to anyone who treats us like serfs. Doormats we are to your hallowed feet.
Bob and Kitty, go eat a bag of d*cks and remember that A) a contract is a contract and B) treating people like $hit always comes back to bite you right in the a$$!
Lastly, if you like this piece and want to see it on our page every week, please leave a comment. Even if you think I'm a d*ck, that's okay, freedom of speech and thought makes America great and all that, just say something. We only know if this is ticking your boxes by the comments you leave, so dont be a d*ck, tell us what you think!