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I’m getting back to my roots!

I’m getting back to my roots! And no I don’t mean my grey roots but I was seriously thinking about that. But that’s another story for another day. Towards the end of last year 2 of our caregivers decided to leave our shores and move overseas. It seems to be an epidemic in our country right now and Dogtown has not escaped the reality of the situation. We deal daily with people needing homes for their beloved pets who they haven’t valued enough to take with them.

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But I digress. Today I want to ramble about my dip back into the caregiver role. The role where it all started for me and my little rescue. With our 2 caregivers moving overseas and it being holiday season, we knew that we were going to struggle to find and train someone during that time. So much to my delight I fell into the role of caregiver over December and January.

I love every minute of being a caregiver. Spending all day long with our beautiful dogs, walking kilometers everyday through our beautiful farm. Seeing the dogs absolute joy as we play games in the play areas. When you’re in with the dogs all day, everyday, you realise how incredibly dedicated our team are and how awesome it is to see dogs who were tossed aside, having a fun time and getting to enjoy being a happy go lucky dog. I know it’s not as awesome as having a loving home of their own but as you work with the dogs you realise that when you do shelter work right, the dogs don’t have to feel like they are in a prison.

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There’s lots to get done in a day. When we arrive at 07h00 we put the mince on the stove and start giving the dogs fresh water and picking up their recycled food and air and change blankets. You know we’re a clan unto our own when poop regularity and texture is discussed with enthusiasm. Then we begin feeding. Now each octagon houses about 22 dogs and there are 2 caregivers per octagon. So we are each responsible for the enrichment of 12 dogs daily. Once feeding has been completed and the brain toys and dishes washed, we all head down to the play area with one of our dogs for a group class.

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I love the group classes. It’s so awesome to see all the other caregivers with their dogs, they’re all proud as punch at what their furkids are achieving in class. Then we all head back to our respective octagons and begin walking and providing enrichment for our other dogs. Now I’m not as fit as the others but I could comfortably take 6 dogs on a long walk around the whole farm or 12 short walks and a visit to the play area. On average we walk 10kms a day. That’s a lot of walking. Then before you know it, it’s lunchtime and that break for me was quickly catching up on some admin, which is never as much fun as being with the dogs.

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After lunch, you put some more mince on the stove to mix with their Montego for dinner and begin our training and behavior modification programmes. Then in a flash it’s 15h00 and it’s feeding and watering time again. Once everyone’s eaten, blankets checked and cleaned, bowls filled with fresh water, dishes washed it’s already 16h00 and it’s time for the evening biscuit run. Where we go to each garden with a yummy Montego biscuit. Check the locks on the gate and that doggie is feeling ok and comes to get their biscuit with gusto, check they haven’t decided to tap dance in their water bowls – I’m speaking to you Claude. Then it’s my saddest part of the day, the time we all head off home. I’m not gonna lie, it sucks lemons leaving them. I’m always the last one to leave. My dogs in my care are probably thinking it’s time for you to go now, so we can get a nice rest but I procrastinate, double checking and going in for one last cuddle.

Eventually I head off home and sleep like I’ve never slept before because I am soooo exhausted. But happy exhausted. Then before you know it, it’s tomorrow and it starts all over again. When the doglets are so happy to see you in the morning it motivates you to do even more for them, you are raring to go to make sure they have the best day you can give them and hope with all hope that today is the day someone will see their plea for a loving family and come and make them a part of theirs. They’re going to struggle to get me back into the office once we have found our new caregivers. I love it so much being with the dogs all day. It’s why I founded Dogtown in the beginning to make sure dogs in a shelter have as much fun as possible and their day is full of enrichment, learning and love.

Love and Licks

Tracy