Dog Walker Confessions: Strangest Client Requests

Will I spoon your dog to sleep? Sure, but that's already included.

Police dog learning to catch a criminal, man used as bait
I'll do anything for dogs (but I won't do that) 🎵

"I received a calendar request from a new client for an overnight sitting and went to check the notes for any specific instructions. The note read, 'We'll need you from 7pm-7am to stay with Bruno and our 4 year old daughter. Thanks!' Perhaps unsurprisingly, this was not the first time I've been assumed to be some sort of babysitter/petsitter hybrid. I rejected the request with a brief response explaining that my company is only insured to care for animals, not humans. Next time I think I'll just ask if she's leash trained and whether she prefers fetch or the kong."


"My weirdest client request was part of the feeding instructions for a very babied Bichon Frise. My client explained that the only way Biscuit would finish his dinner is if you sing to him while he eats. "Any song will be fine, but if you know any Queen, that's his favorite." At least he had good taste!


"At one point during a weeklong cat-sitting for a regular, Ana, I received a text from an unknown number: 'Hi Fatima, this is Ana's mother. Could I ask you for a huge favor? Ana and I have a garden gnome we hide in each other's yards; whoever finds it gets to keep it until the end of the year. It's my turn to hide it. If I try to do it myself, her cameras will see me and spoil the hiding place. Could I deliver it to you and have you hide it at her house?' Obviously I accepted this (adorable) challenge, and it's still my favorite 'strange request' story.


garden gnome meditating in the grass
Gnome pun intended.

"Sometimes I feel like more of a locksmith than a dog walker. I can't tell you the number of clients who've called me in a panic because they've locked themselves out, and I'm the only other person with a copy of their house key. After my fifth request for this, I added 'Emergency Key Delivery' to my list of available services!"


"One of the frustrating things about choosing a career in the pet care industry is when people assume you'll do all sorts of unrelated domestic work in addition to their animals' care. They'd never ask their plumber to do chores around the house! My most recent request was from a client who needed a nightly dog walk and then wanted me to stay and cook their family dinner afterwards. Too weird!"


"I had a dog dad message me while I was on the way to their house that afternoon: 'Hey, Vicki, I had a long walk with Bailey this morning but she wouldn't cooperate, and I had to leave for work. Would you mind getting a poo sample for me to take to her vet?' All in a day's work!"


small dog pooping outside in the grass
What a crappy situation.

"I walk into people's front doors for a living, so I'm rarely shocked by anything these days. On this particular weekday, after letting myself in for a lunchtime pet visit, I head for the dog crate in my clients' living room. As I round the corner, the husband, clad in boxer shorts and beer in hand, leaps up from the couch. 'Please don't tell my wife!' Apparently he was playing hooky from work that day and forgot all about the dog walker. I couldn't help but feel bad for the guy having his space invaded as he stealthily reached for a pillow in lieu of pants. I'll bet he's much more involved in managing the household schedule these days."


"I run a pet care company, and all new client accounts have to go through me for approval. I once had a manufacturing company sign up with a month's worth of two-a-day requests to 'feed [their] bricks' at 7:00 AM and 12:00 AM. Positive that this was the strangest prank that anyone's ever bothered to pull, I took to the internet for some sleuthing. Some exploratory research revealed that one can grow cement bricks (the house-building kind) by 'feeding' them bacteria. After I finished laughing my head off, I mentally commended them for coming up with the creative solution to try employing a petsitter for their brick-feeding needs. I might have even taken them up on it if not for the odd hours required for the feedings."