Italian Greyhounds

Kirsten, the animal lover and pet care giver (part 1)

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“I started grad school and dropped out within a couple of weeks.

I needed a job.

My roommate was a dog walker for a company and got me a job as an assistant.  I worked for them for 2 years before I went out on my own.

What was funny for me, was that when I was a kid, pet care was my first job.

I grew up in the suburbs and when my peers started babysitting, I would feed my neighbors cats, take in the mail and general house sitting stuff.

As an adult, whatever jobs I had often involved pet sitting (on the side) for co-workers.

I didn’t put it all together, or see where I was headed until I started dog walking.

I think I could do this for a while, but I don’t really know.

All of the dogs that I’ve taken care of give me a way to be a better person.

Everything with a dog is immediate, so in the moment.  For example, with Gremmy, the Italian Greyhound, she’s so delicate, fragile and tiny, so when I am with her, I have to watch people and dogs in a different way.  I have to literally protect her from the cold (which for her, is September through June), feet (people stepping on her), and people trying to pick her up.  Those are the main things in protecting her.  Taking care of her reminds me to be patient and also assertive.  I have to tell people no, don’t pick her up.  I also have to be careful of her space, so I don’t accidentally step of her or make her nervous.”

Marcello, the teddy bear

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“My in-laws adopted a rescue greyhound and he was a sweet dog.

We got Marcello because we love the greyhound (whippets, Italian Greyhounds) breed.

We got him from a breeder, but not for lack of trying to rescue.

We wanted to adopt or rescue, but we didn’t qualify. We didn’t have a closed in yard or enough funds to prove to the rescue groups that we would be good dog owners.

The hardest time that we’ve had since we got him was during my unemployment.

It was the middle of a cold winter and I was struggling.  He literally, got me out of bed, because I had to walk him.

He’s comforting in the way a teddy bear is comforting.  He lets me hold him and he keeps very still. He talks to me with his eyes.  I think he asks me, what I need from him.

If I am grumpy he knows to keep away. If I am feeling joyful he jumps up and gives me hugs.

He is intuitive.

He’s like our little kid.  We feel maternal and paternal towards him.

He keeps us grounded.  One of us has to go home and walk him.  He’s about responsibility.  We are homebodies and he is part of our little unit.

We went on our honeymoon with him.  We drove across country with him.  He didn’t like hot springs, but he loves hiking.  He had a girlfriend in Wyoming.  Her name was Bobbie and she was a Corgi Chow mix.

He’s very social and he helps us meet people all the the time.  My husband and I are very shy.

He’s the referee, like me. He’s a mediator at the dog park.

None of us like conflict.”