What is your favourite customer story?
When you’ve been working in the pet care industry for as long as I have, you gather a pretty impressive collection of client memories. There are hysterical ones, joyful ones, scary ones, and heartbreaking ones. But there are some memories that just really stick with you for better or worse. One of the moments that will always stay with me is one of those memories that has a bit of every emotion all rolled into one.
I was going to visit Toby, one of my oldest dog walking clients and also one of my favourite dogs. I had started walking him before he was even a year old, and here he was 9 years old. Though they hadn’t needed walks for a while, his ‘mom’ Kelly was home and had invited me over for a visit. They had recently found out he had cancer, and it was progressing quickly – so this was kind of a bittersweet good-bye visit.
I hadn’t seen Toby in months, so I was excited to see him, and for those that don’t know Toby, excitement is his middle name! I wouldn’t have even guessed he was sick if Kelly hadn’t told me. When I came in, he was still bouncing all over the place like a pinball, and running around like a puppy. As we made our way into the living room, I sat on the oversized armchair to chat with Kelly. Toby was so excited he was squealing non-stop while unapologetically trying to squeeze himself onto the chair beside me with endless determination. Kelly burst out laughing saying “I’ve never heard him squeal like that before!”, and in all my years I hadn’t either –so I guess he missed me too!
My heart was just bursting as I held back tears even as I was laughing uncontrollably. We sat and chatted about Toby and about life, about all the things we loved about him. And in case you were wondering, yes, Toby DID manage to squeeze onto the chair with me – though he was half on my lap! It was the sweetest visit and the last time I would ever see Toby. But it is one of those memories that I take with me to remind myself that my job is important in those little ways that can change a life, that what I do makes a difference to my clients, to their pets, and that the relationships I build are life-long friendships – whether with it’s with my human clients or my furry ones. They’re not just clients to me, and I’m not just a service provider to them. They’re like a second family, and I will always cherish these moments.