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Once When You Were Trouble: Loving an Old Reactive Dog

I saw the dog coming towards us. Like always, I began to make a quick u-turn to give you some space. But silly me. There’s nothing quick about the way we move these days.

So there we were – me guiding you in what felt like the world’s slowest about-face in the middle of the street.

By the time we were done inching our way around, the other dog was long gone.

You looked confused. What’s with all the fancy foot work?

When the next dog appeared, I guided us to a stop to make some room for them to pass. I held tight to the leash, waiting for you to see the other dog and react.

But you just stood there.

I smiled. Look at you, not caring about the other dog! Way to go old lady!

It only took you 15 years to finally stop giving a shit about every single dog that looks at you.

It’s the moment every person who has ever walked a reactive dog dreams of – my dog stayed calm.

We finally did it!

Then I started to cry.

You didn’t react to the other dog because you’re old.

You’re not being cool about other dogs. You’re losing your vision. And your hearing too.

Did you even see the other dog? I don’t think so.

And if you had?

Then the cancer in your body or the ache in your back would have stopped you from putting that dog on full blast.

Who has the energy for rumbling these days, right?

Loving an old dog who used to be trouble is a bittersweet thing.

I feel relief that we no longer need to hide behind cars or that I can hold your leash lightly and get lost in thought while we stroll.

Then I feel a punch in my chest. It’s my heart breaking.

This new peace comes at such a high price.

This is the last leg of our journey together my old friend.

Lately I find myself reminiscing as we walk, a little slower each day, about the times when we had to cross this very block three times to escape the woman who wanted us to meet her dog.

That dog died years ago.

We’re still here.

But crossing the block three times would take us so long that anyone could catch up to us now.

We used to move so fast! I could barely keep up with you.

Back then you would explode at other dogs. It was a big show and it stopped some people in their tracks. Tsk tsk, they’d say.

I’m longing for those days now that I know they won’t come again.

I cried while we walked today.

What I wouldn’t do to see you at full force again.

What I wouldn’t do to yell at someone to back off so we can make our escape together.

Loving an old dog who used to be trouble is a funny thing.

Here we are, where we desperately wanted to be. All those years when walks were an obstacle course of stress, embarrassment, and near misses.

Not any more.

I’m enjoying how easy it is to be out in the world with you now.

But oh, what I wouldn’t do to see you at peak naughtiness again.

To see you strong and healthy. To hold you back with both hands while you tried to take on the world. To feel exhausted by our walks.

This peace comes at such a high cost.

Now that we finally have it, I don’t want it.

I want the trouble.

I want you to stay.




Building Badassery Boundaries and Other Stuff I Made For You!

Hi there my sweet friend.

I keep meaning to officially close this blog, because I so rarely write here these days.

But you know what? I don’t want to.

So what if it’s weird that I only post 3 times a year now?

There are no rules.

I can do what feels good. And keeping this space – one of my favorite places – open to new posts just feels good.

So I’m just dropping by to tell you that I made two new things this month that some of you may be interested in:

1. The Compassionate Badassery Collective: a FREE private Facebook group for people who take care of others (personally or professionally) and want some support around caregivers stress and self-care. DINOS families are welcome!

In the group, I’ll be hosting self-care challenges, answering your questions in live streams, and facilitating peer conversations that can help you feel better, while you care for others.

Interested? Join us here!

cbad instagram

We’re just getting started (the group is only 9 days old), so it’s great time to get in there and meet a whole crew of really amazing people, just in time for….

2. The Building Badassery Boundaries Challenge: it’s a FREE 5 day online challenge starting Monday June 18th designed to help people who care for animals (personally or professionally) to feel more confident about what boundaries are and how to create them, so that you can finally take care of yourself and enjoy life (without all the guilt!).

Learn more and sign up here!

badassery boundaries challenge.jpg

I hope that I’ll get to see some of you in there, so we can reconnect and high five each other!



To Birdie, With Love.

Birdie died this year. We made the decision to let our sweet old girl go on April 4th.

Birdie had kidney disease for months, but in the final week of March the disease finally began taking its toll on her little 15 year old body. We didn’t want her to suffer, so we said goodbye.

Just a month before that, our cat Gus died suddenly of congestive heart failure.

Losing Gus and Birdie back to back was devastating. 2017 was a really hard year.

birdie back porch

I’ve wanted to write a loving tribute to Birdie for months.

Since 2011, I’ve been sharing stories about my life with her on this blog. I felt like I owed it to her to write about her death here. And to write something spectacular, because she deserves that and then some.

I haven’t been able to do it. Writing about her death makes it feel so real. Like losing her again, on another level. Up until now it just hurt too much to do it.

And nothing – NOTHING – I write now feels good enough.

But now the year is coming to an end, I feel like it’s the right time to say goodbye to her here. To wait any longer feels wrong.

Many of you read about Birdie’s experience with physical therapy on this blog and I hear from lots of you through email, asking for updates on how Birdie is doing today.

I haven’t been able to reply to those emails all year. Now you know why.

birdie swims.jpg

Thank you for letting me share my life with Birdie with all of you. Losing her has helped me to realize that it’s time for me to bring my writing here to a close too.

This chapter of my life feels like it’s come to an end. I have loved writing this blog more than you know, even if I haven’t written much here the past couple of years.

I guess I was avoiding this ending too.

But I want to honor my girl and this space with a real goodbye.

I shared a version of what’s written below with friends and family back in April. I thought I could and should write something better for the blog, but I haven’t been able to do that. Maybe I don’t have to.

Birdie was a straightforward dog. Loving her was not complicated.

So I’ll keep it simple and true:

Birdie’s 15 year old body was ready to rest, but we were not ready to let her go. We would gladly take another nine years with her.

Birdie spent the first six years of her life in a shelter in Arkansas and somehow, in this world overflowing with dogs and people, she found her way to our home, just two months after we moved to Maine.

That was almost ten years ago.

Thank you Universe for keeping her safe all of those years until we were ready for her.

Birdie belonged with us.

She was the sweetest, gentlest, old soul.

This is what she loved:

Taking naps in the sun, rolling in the grass, going on vacation with us in the summer, digging holes to lie in and munching on bugs in the dirt, being our co-pilot in the car, taking walks to smell all the smells, meeting little kids, and having her ears rubbed.

Not once did she let me forget when it was time for dinner.

Which was 3pm. On the dot.

If we weren’t home at that time, we’d drive home laughing and shouting up the road, “We’re coming Bird! Dinner is coming!”

Birdie barked once every other year, just so we would know she could.

She mostly snuffled at us. I hope I never forget that sound.

There are so many details about her body, her personality, our life together. I want to share them all as some sort of public declaration and documentation of how much she was loved.

But I know I don’t have to do that.  So I’m going to keep those tiny treasures for myself. 

Birdie was a tough old girl. She lived until the wheels came off her busted little body.

Our hearts have been broken all year with missing her. 

Birdie Dog, we love you.

Thank you for waiting so long for us to find you, so that we could be your family.

Until we meet again sweet girl.

birdie sniffs

Thank you to Almost Home Rescue for bringing Birdie to us. Thank you to her foster family for caring for Birdie. Thank you to the staff at Lone Pine who cared for her for 6 years. Thank you to Gayle for taking care of Birdie’s aches and pains and for holding her head up so she could swim. Thank you to the staff at Pine Point Vet Hospital for taking such good care of Birdie (and me) all the way to the very last moments. Your kindness will never be forgotten. Thank you to everyone who cared about Birdie over the years. Thank you. 

One last note: This is almost it. I have one more blog to write here at NFADW, so I can share where I’m going in 2018 and how we can stay in touch. So I’ll see you again in this spot once more.

Lots of love to all of you in this new year.

–  Jessica

birdie fence

Are You in Self-Destructive Savior Mode?

For those of you who work or volunteer with animals, I wanted to let you know that the new session of Compassion in Balance, my 8 week online class, starts June 5th. If you’d like to learn how to build compassion resilience, manage your stress, and feel less exhausted and guilty and more at peace with your work, then this class can help.

I know I’ve been out of touch for a while and I’m sorry this is the first thing I’m posting in months. The truth it, it was a long, brutal winter at my house. If you subscribe to my newsletter, you already know that my cat Gus and my dog Birdie both died just a few weeks apart from each other. I’m not ready to write about it in detail here, because Birdie was such a big part of this blog and telling you about losing her feels like another kind of ending that I’m just not ready for yet. One day.

But what I learned these past few months, as I struggled with my own grief, is that the lessons and tools I share in my compassion fatigue class really work. I knew this before, but everything I teach I just had to test drive all over again this winter. I wish I hadn’t needed to do that, but the silver lining is that I can say with even more confidence that the class strategies can help you.

I hate promoting my work. it always feels weird. But I hate that so many of you are suffering alone even more than I hate being uncomfortable, so I’m just going to make myself keep saying it: Compassion in Balance can help you manage compassion fatigue and reclaim the joy of working with animals.

The class will give you the tools you need to do engage with this emotionally challenging work in a different way, so you don’t have to suffer so much.

power is in balance quote

Here’s a little something I shared on Facebook today. I’ve read this passage from Perseverance many times and maybe it will speak to you as much as it does to me:


“What are our limits? How much more work, how many more causes can we realistically take on? How exhausted are we? What signals from our bodies are we denying? How much longer can we keep this up? Do we think we’re doing just fine playing the lone hero?

And finally, why are we afraid to ask these questions? Do we feel that once we see the truth we’ll just run away or withdraw or abandon everything and everybody?

Of course, seeing clearly who we are in this moment – our health, our motivation, the messages coming from our world – gives us the information we need to continue on.

Just not in self-destructive savior mode.”

– Margaret Wheatley


You don’t have to do this alone and you don’t have to hurt yourself to keep doing the work you care most about.

Join me this summer and let’s explore these questions and solutions together, okay?

All the class details:

To sign up: direct enrollment page 

Use the 50% off code and save $74: SUMMEROFTHANKS


Living with DINOS is now an ONLINE Class!

Holy moly, it’s been so long since my last post! Before I share the big news about the new DINOS online class, here’s the world’s fastest update/excuse, for anyone who cares:

Birdie is really old and has kidney disease now, so I spend all day cleaning up pee pads, but in between mopping, I squeezed in a few more semesters of graduate school, taught a few more compassion fatigue classes, went on a couple hundred walks with naughty dogs, and ate so much vegan ice cream (Thanks Ben. Thanks Jerry.), that I have to do yoga every morning, just so I can still touch my toes. More on that in a later post. 

But guess what else I did? I built an online class for people who live with DINOS!!

It took me 34 years to finish it (I started developing the idea during nap time in pre-school), but it’s DONE and OPEN now!


Here’s the scoop:

Living with DINOS, is an online self-study class designed to help stressed dog owners feel less burned out, so they can enjoy their dogs (and their lives) more. The course addresses the human issues – stress, conflicting emotions, and isolation – that many people who live with dogs with behavioral issues may experience. Tackling these areas helps to decrease caregiver fatigue.

The whole point of the class is to help folks stress less and have more fun.

It’s geared towards people who are new(ish) to living with a reactive, fearful, and/or aggressive dog and feeling lost or overwhelmed. But anyone who’s feeling conflicted or stressed about living with a challenging dog will get something helpful out of the course.

The class contains 12 simple lessons, 7 worksheets, and a bunch of awesome interviews with people like Dr. E’lise Christensen DVM DACVB, Melissa McCue McGrath CPDT, Sara Scott CPDT, and Kristin Buller LCSW.

Plus, you’ll have access to private discussion boards, so you can talk to one another.

To be clear, you’ll hear tons of general tips in my interviews with the pros (which may help you address the practical aspects of living with your dogs), but this is NOT a dog training class or a substitute for working with a training or behavior professional.

The class is about YOU (the human) and your needs. Think of it as a companion to any training or behavioral work you’re doing with a pro in your area.

You can read about the class in great detail here. 

All of your questions will likely be answered if you click on that link (so try that first if you’re scratching your head about something now).

The full price for the class is $38, but for you guys – my sweet readers – it’s just $19.

Here’s the coupon code: EARLYBIRD17

Just go to the sign up page and plug the code in at the bottom to save 50%!

The code expires on 2/15/17, so if you’re thinking of signing up some time this year, do yourself a favor and do it before that date, so you can save some $$.

You can start the class anytime you want after that and it’s self-paced (there are no specific times or dates that you need to be in the course), so there’s no rush to participate after you sign up.

The class never expires, so you can spend just a couple of days exploring it or keep coming back to the lessons and discussions for years.

To recap:

More info here. 

Sign up here. 

Use this code for 50% off through 2/15/17: EARLYBIRD17

High five!

p.s. If you’re a dog trainer, behavior consultant or vet behaviorist who likes the class and wants to share it with your clients who have DINOS, I’d love to offer you a discount code to share with them. Just email me (info at notesfromadogwalker dot com) and I’ll give you a special code for your clients that doesn’t expire.

Compassion Fatigue Help for People Who Work With Animals

Compassion in Balance, my online compassion fatigue course for people who work with animals, begins on June 6th, 2016!


If you’re a dog walker, dog trainer, shelter pro, rescue volunteer, vet tech, ACO, or any combination of the above, I hope you’ll join us this summer as we tackle compassion fatigue in animal welfare work. You can learn how to better care of yourself, while you care for the world.

boundaries bb.jpg

  • Are you wondering what healthy boundaries are and how to create them at work and at home?
  • Are you struggling to set limits on how much you give, so you can take time for yourself (without feeling guilty)?
  • Do the challenges and sorrows of your work with animals leave you feeling isolated, angry, or helpless?
  • Are you unsure if you have compassion fatigue, but want to find out?
  • Could you use a few stress reduction practices to help you become less reactive?
  • Are you so exhausted that you’re not sure what to do, but know you can’t keep going without making a change? 


This class can help.


Heather, a volunteer with a pit bull rescue, shared how CiB has changed her life:

“The class helped so much! I learned so many simple, helpful things and decided to form small new habits that have ended up making a huge impact on my mental state. Now I take breaks to breathe, eat, walk and play with my dogs. No matter what is going on, I take breaks now. And I am learning to say NO without feeling terrible (sometimes I say “no” and I feel joy welling up as I say it!) and I feel proud of myself afterward. I’ve also stopped working until 3am because I need boundaries and sleep! These are just a handful of the ways the class has helped me. There are many more!”

And guess what? Heather didn’t even finish the whole class! She got that out of doing about half of the course modules. Pretty neat, huh?


Metis, founder and volunteer of a 501c3 animal welfare non-profit had this to say about her experience with CiB:

“Compassion in Balance is the first compassion fatigue class I really “got”. I have taken workshops and seminars about the topic before, but Jessica’s experience in animal welfare and her easy going, humorous writing style really helped me understand compassion fatigue and how to address it in my life.

I suggest this course to anyone and everyone in a caring profession who wants to sustain a long and healthy career. Compassion fatigue might not seem like an issue to you yet – if not, consider the class preventative. If your feeling burned out, spend some time learning coping skills and strategies that will help you learn how to be happy while doing the work you love.”


If that sounds good to you, then I hope you’ll give yourself this class as a gift.

You really can make simple, yet powerful changes that will allow you to be well, while you do good work.

And I’ll be there every week for 8 weeks, guiding the way.

Compassion in Balance can be a game changer.

You can read more about the class and what other students had to say about it over here. 

Ready to sign up? Here’s the link. 

I hope you’ll join us this summer – class starts in just a few weeks!



Now Taking Questions!

Well, hello there stranger. Is it OK if I join you?

It’s been a long, long time since we last saw each other.

I’m sorry I didn’t write, but I want you to know that I think about you all the time.

It’s just that with the job and the other job and the job on top of that and the grad school and the old dog peeing on everything, I haven’t been able to think of anything to write during my five minutes of free time that I spend lying on the floor.

I’m embarrassed to admit that it was me who sent you that random text in January. You know, the one that said: SEND ALL THE COOKIES.

Can we just forget about that? Thanks, you’re a real friend.

Anywho, we’ve got some serious some catching up to do, don’t we?

First things first:

Imagine that a professional dog trainer, a veterinary behaviorist, a social worker, and a dog walker all offered to answer your most pressing questions about living with a reactive, fearful, aggressive, or just plain old weird dog.

What would you ask them?

I want to know. Tell me in the comments section.

Here’s why: I’m interviewing some pros for the upcoming DINOS online mini-class that I’ll be offering later this year and I want to make sure I ask them what you want to know.

I’m creating this class to help you guys feel less stressed, more connected to your dogs, and more empowered with good info. Plus you’ll have private discussion boards to talk with each other. Wheee!

The DINOS class isn’t a dog training class, although the info will pair nicely with any dog training you might be doing.

The class will include, among other things, a few recorded interviews with professionals who really understand the challenges you’re facing and have good advice we all need to hear.

So you tell me what questions you have for a: professional dog trainer, social worker who runs a support group for people who live with dogs who have behavior issues, and veterinary behaviorist.

I’ll choose a few of your questions to ask when I sit down to talk with them!

Speaking of questions…

And now for my most favorite thing ever: I’m answering the questions I get through my search results. I haven’t done this in years, but I love it and I wanted another round.

Here’s how it works:

When you type words into a search engine, like Google, results will pop up. If you click on a blog that came up in those search results, then the writer of the blog will see the exact words (the search terms) that you typed into the search engine, which led you to their blog post. Bloggers get a whole long list of the “search term results” that led people to their site.

These search terms crack me up. Sometimes they make me sad. And lots of times they’re good questions that deserve to be answered!

Without further ado, here’s a lightening round of search term Q+A:


“List of names for a pit bull dog”



Snack Pack

Prince Harry



Garbanzo Bean



What can I say, I like carbs and old people. And rear ends.


pit bull in car

I don’t care what you call me, as long as you call me! Ba dump bump ching!



“Dog licking its balls”

To clarify, are you looking for photos or advice? Or is that you’re so stressed out by that awful slurping noise, which distracts you while you try to write important emails, that you were looking for an online support group? Help me to help you. Also, here’s the best ball licking cartoon out there.


“Why my dog doesn’t stand up for himself.”

Because he’s waiting for you to do it.


“Is it bad to let a dog dictate its life to you?”

It depends. Do you have an app to record them telling you their life story or will you have to take the dictation by hand? Because I can’t write as fast as my dog talks, so it would be a bad call for me personally. But maybe you’re a court stenographer, in which case you have the necessary skills to record your dog’s epic stories of relentless ball licking and how they learned to stand up for themselves when other dogs made fun of them for being named Tushie.



“I am a dog owner in Ireland but hate people with multiple dogs that are not kept on leashes and cant control them.”

Matching! Except I’m in America. Let’s be pen pals!



“tradmil for dog practice and make metirial Punjab”

Terrific! I’ll see you at 7.

Wait, huh?

Did your dog tell you to write that?


I sure do miss you guys. Remember, tell me what you want me to ask the smart kids when I interview them. Put those questions right in the comments for me to read!

Oh, and if you want to be the first to know when the DINOS class will run, please sign up for updates here! I’ll only email you about class info…no spam, ever.



How to Talk to Your Gynecologist About Euthanasia

If I tell someone that I work with dogs, it’s guaranteed that that person will ask me for advice about their dogs. This happens no matter where I am.

If I’m getting a massage, I get asked about house training problems. If I’m at the dentist, my hygienist wants to know how she can convince her mother not to be terrified of her pit bull (who is lovely, thank you very much). And when I’m at the gynecologist, my doctor is asking me about her elderly dog’s end of life issues.

Let me say this from years of experience with a variety of gynecologists who have nothing in common with one another except that they all like to talk to me about their dogs while they root around in my lady bits:

After someone’s had their hand in your vagina, it’s pretty easy to talk about euthanasia.


So there I was at my new doctor’s office, having never met her before, and she’s telling me about the wonderful dog her family adopted a few years ago from the animal shelter where I used to work. The dog, let’s call him Paps (ladies, are you with me here?), was pretty old now and had a whole host of expensive medical conditions.

His meds were running about $500 a month. My doc said she didn’t mind paying, even though that meant her family wouldn’t be able to afford a vacation this summer. She was really just so worried about her dog.

Was he ok? Was he suffering? Why didn’t she know if it was the right time to let him go?

Everyone kept telling her she’d “just know” when it was time.


photo credit: glamour magazine

photo credit: glamour magazine


Around this point in the conversation I wrapped that weird plastic sheet around me and sat up. “That’s not true for a lot of us. We don’t just know. Some dogs don’t magically tell us and we can’t figure it out, even though we love them. It’s ok if you don’t know.”

Tears. Hers.

She was relieved to know she wasn’t failing Paps.  Because you know what “you’ll know when it’s time” implies? That if you don’t know, then you suck at loving them.

Doc thought that if she didn’t know the answer to this seriously important question, then that meant she didn’t really know her dog. How awful is that? On top of being torn up that your dog is old and sick, now you have to question whether or not you’re a good dog owner because you don’t “just know”?

I know we mean well when we say this (I know I’ve said it in the past) and it is true that sometimes we do “just know.” But this common advice winds up not only failing, but hurting, a lot of good people.

So, why wasn’t he just passing away quietly in his sleep? Would that happen, she wondered?

Maybe. But with the level of medical care she was giving her dog, Paps, like so many of our pets, was receiving life-extending treatment. It’s not like the old days – for pets or humans. Today we treat a lot of conditions we couldn’t years ago and that means that both pets and people may get to experience a long period of old age. And with it comes full on decrepitude and peeing in our beds (when we’re sober). Which means we need to actively make a choice on their behalf.

So when is it the right time?, she asked.

I told her what so many people have told me over the 15 years I’ve been caring for their pets:

Waiting too long, because we can’t bear to let them go, often results in a shit-storm of guilt later. If we let our pets suffer, because we’re not ready to lose them, then months and years later we’re stuck with a lot of guilt about the unnecessary pain we put them through. Often, it’s better to err on the slightly too soon side, then the slightly too late side of things.

Disclaimer: When I say “soon”, I don’t mean that the minute they have an accident or sneeze or fall over we should rush to put them to sleep (if that were the case I would have sent Birdie to meet her maker – Charles Schulz, I think – about 4 years ago). I really mean when things are already quite serious and the end is near.

But how will I know?

I told her about the Quality of Life scale which would help her measure the, uh, quality, of her dog’s life. She was so relieved to know this existed and that she would have something to help her measure this seemingly immeasurable thing. She thanked me profusely.

Tears again. Both of us this time. And a hug.

Then she stuck her hand back up my hoo-ha and talked to me about my cervix.

Later that night, when she opened my email that shared a link to the Quality of Life scale, Doc was sitting in her sons’ room waiting for her boys to fall asleep. Her boys wanted to know why she was crying. It was because, thanks to the scale, she now realized that old Pap had some life left to enjoy.

And when the time comes for her to make that inevitable and excruciating choice for her family member, now she knew that she didn’t have to hope that she’d “just know.” She’d have some help.

End of life issues are so complicated. People shouldn’t have to hope that a dog walker with no filter and no shame comes into their office for a birth control refill just so they can get sound advice about when they should put their dog to sleep.

Instead let’s make a point to talk about the hard stuff. Leave out the judgement and shaming and let’s do everything we can to help our family, friends, and clients be better prepared, so that they can make choices that support real quality of life for both them and their pets.  And veterinarians, can you please do me a solid and make sure this Quality of Life scale (and hospice information) is easy to access? It’ll save me some weird moments next time I’m in stirrups at the doctor’s office. Many thanks.




Here are some resources about figuring out when it’s time, including the quality of life scale:

The “HHHHHMM” Quality of Life Scale by Dr. Alice Villalobos

Minimizing the stress of euthanasia by Dr. V of Pawcurious

How to say goodbye by Dr. Andy Roark (with other ways to measure quality of life)


And because I get asked about euthanasia for behavioral issues ALL the time, here are some wonderful, non-judgmental, realistic resources to help with that brutally painful and individual decision (really folks, we need to do a better job of openly talking about this too. I’ve had enough with the shaming and bullying around euthanasia. It’s not helping anyone when we go ALL CAPS about something as complex as this):

When is it time to put down a dog who is aggressive to people? by Patricia McConnell

When is it time to put a problem dog down? by Casey Lomonaco

Euthanizing Aggressive Dogs: Sometimes It’s the Best Choice by Phyllis DeGioia, editor Veterinary Partner and VetzInsight

The burden on euthanizing an aggressive dog by Mel of No Dog About It

Goodbye Huckleberry by Ana Poe – I read this years ago and it’s never left me. Such brave, compassionate, honest writing.


Meet The Rebel Dog Walker of Williamsburg


The other day a reporter from The Forward contacted me to share a story she produced about Gedalya Gottenger, a Hasidic Jew, who decided to become a dog walker.

Hasidic Jews are notoriously afraid of (or at the very least avoid) dogs*.  So a Hasidic dog walker is not your run-of-the-mill professional pooper scooper.

This guy is breaking cultural norms every time he leashes up. I was intrigued.

What I dug about his story is that although his choice to work with dogs is an act of rebellion in his community, the bottom line is that he walks dogs for the same reason I do:

“Dogs are awesome and, uh, I get paid to hang out with them even, so what’s not to like?”

Ain’t that the truth.

I thought you guys might find his story interesting! Take a look at this short video about Gedalya (featuring an adorable brindle dog). You can also read more about him here.

A Hasid’s Best Friend from Jewish Daily Forward on Vimeo.


Sending my colleague Gedalya a poop bag high five, from one Jewish professional dog walker to another!

*So are lots of people…of all religions. Which is why you should always have your dog under your full control. Putting a leash on  your dog also gives others, who may be panicking at the sight of your dog, a clear visual signal that your dog is connected to you and not about to run up and knock them over. Remember, fear isn’t logical – have compassion, use a leash, and spare someone a cold sweat. 



New England: Compassion Fatigue Workshop This Weekend!

Dear New England Posse,

Just a quick note to let you know that I’ll be in Wakefield, MA this Saturday, October 3rd giving a full day compassion fatigue workshop hosted by the New England Dog Training Club.

This seminar, designed for people who work or volunteer with animals in any capacity, is open to the public and you can earn CEs!

map compassion fatigue

I’ve got all kinds of things planned for this weekend….interested?

We’ll be covering six strategies and numerous tools we can use to transform and manage our experience of compassion fatigue, so that we can continue to do ethical, effective, and sustainable work with animals.

The full day seminar identifies what compassion fatigue is, its symptoms, and contributing factors. We’ll also take a look at stress management and self-care practices. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in discussions, experiential activities, take self-assessments, reflect and connect with the positive aspects of your work, practice a stress-reduction technique or two, and create a self-care plan.

We’ll be busy learning how to be well, while we do good!

Spots are still available. Join us, won’t you?


Please note: This seminar is not a substitution for professional mental health care. If you’re suffering from clinical depression or are having suicidal thoughts, please seek professional help.


When: 9:30am – 4:30pm on October 3rd, 2015

Where: Knights of Columbus Hall, 570 North Ave, Wakefield, MA

Cost: $80, $65 for shelter workers and groups of 8 or more. $10 lunch (optional)

CEUs: 6 CCPDT Vet/Tech CE


Register Here!

High five and hope to see you there!