Searching for Answers: Turkeys, Soft Poop, and Underage Dog Walkers
One of my most favorite things about having a blog (other than getting to hang out with you guys – seriously, thank you for being here gang!) is reading the search terms that lead people to my blog. For those of you who have better things to do with your time than hang out on the back end of a blog, search terms are the words that people plug into Google or other search engines. Sometimes the terms trigger my blog to pop up in the search results and then those poor innocent people are directed to my posts.
For example, here are a couple of common search terms that bring people to my blog:
“How to make flirt pole” or “Toy on a string for my dog”
Then they get directed to this post.
Makes sense right?
Here’s where the fun comes in: people plug in all kinds of oddball search terms that lead them to my blog, even though they’re clearly hoping for something non-dog related. Like:
“How much space do I give my girlfriend?” or “Tell that bitch to back off.”
Then I get some that make me want to cry, like:
“My dog was killed by a loose dog” or “My dog got hit by a car and died in my arms.”
These slay me.
But I also get a ton of questions in my search term results. It turns out that, in addition to typing in questions like:
“How do I get my dog to stop pulling?”
We’re also typing in our deep, dark, vulnerable questions, hoping that the Universe (aka Google) will guide us to the answers.
“Am I bad dog owner?” and “Does my dog hate me?”
And much more, much worse. Trust me.
Except it’s not Google/Universe getting the questions, it’s me. And every other blogger out there.
If you click on the blogs that pop up in your search results, then we’re the ones who see you in your most freaked out, desperate-for-answers moments.
So I thought: What if I just answered the (anonymous) questions that lead people to my blog?
I feel like these questions and search engine terms deserve their moment in the sun. I’m gonna give it to them.
Here we go. Let’s start with a couple of funny search terms that have led people to my blog this week:
Do people walk their turkeys? It never occurred to me that they did. Are there TINOS out there? Do I need to start another website?
I don’t know where you get a turkey harness, but I do know that if a dog can get out of a harness, so can a turkey. So, to all you turkey wranglers out there, always use a carabiner for back up. Safety (gobble) first.
“Don’t get mad when a girl cares too much. Worry when she stops caring.”
True that. Except if caring too much means pulling a bunny boiler ala Fatal Attraction. In that case, go ahead and worry. Go ahead and call the cops actually.
And here are a couple of questions that people have plugged into the interwebz, hoping for answers:
“I have begun a dog walking business. But will people be surprised that I am a kid?”
Maybe. How young are we talking here? When you roll up to a new client’s house, how many wheels are on your bike? Do you have enough facial hair to convince them you’re not a 7th grader?
Depending on how slick your website is, some people will be really surprised that you’re not an adult. If, on the other hand, you made homemade fliers with construction paper and glitter, people might not be so shocked that you’re 10. And they might be fine with hiring a kid to walk their dog. Sometimes kids can be OK dog walkers. And they’re cheap too.
However, lots of families want to hire an adult that is a real pro and for good reason. You’re too young and too full of magic unicorn dust to understand liability issues, but sadly adults are not. Due to stuff like liability, geezers like us may prefer to hire someone that considers dog walking a full time profession and has significant dog handling experience under their belts.
They should know in advance that you’re not an adult.
Going forward, make it clear how old you are in your advertisements. It’s a waste of your time and theirs for you to show up for your first meeting and have them discover then that you’re 6. Plus, it’s gonna be super awkward. Especially when you have to excuse yourself mid-consultation to have a juice box and take a nap.
Also, be upfront about your handling skills when you’re talking to potential clients. Don’t overstate your skill level. Being a good dog walker – at any age – means recognizing how much people are relying on you being honest and trustworthy. Don’t get a relationship started in a lie (of omission). Admit your newbie-ness and get your feet wet by walking easy, laid back dogs. Or stuffed dogs on wheels.
Please recognize your limits kiddo, even if your clients do not. No one under 18 should be handling other people’s dogs who are fearful, aggressive, or reactive. If something goes wrong (it will) you need to be experienced, insured, and have access to a car or cab to get to a vet asap. Or be able to get yourself to the ER. There are some dogs that really are adults-only when it comes to taking them out in public.
Good luck in your new business. Be proud of who you are – you’re a hardworking kid that digs animals and wants to earn money providing a valiant (if not poop covered) service. That’s exactly what some folks are looking for, so don’t be afraid to strut your wee stuff.
“How come my poop came out like soft serve yogurt?”
Dude. I know why it happens to your dogs (see this), but I’m so sorry you wound up on my blog when what you really need is WebMD or some other site that deals with human #2. I want to help you, but after reading this page with one eye closed (just in case there were photos), I’m going to throw this one back at you and Google/Universe.
There are hundreds more. I purposely left out the sad ones this first time, but I’ll come back around and answer them sometime in the future. It seems like the people who are throwing those painful questions out into the universe are most in need of a little anonymous support.
Until then, keep asking questions. One day, you might just get an answer!