Pooch and the Chook

I’M coming up to completing my 22nd year in my own business and the Fremantle Herald has been there, integral to my success, from the very beginning.

I just wanted to send a big shout out to all the people I’ve been lucky enough to meet as clients past and present through my dog walking and pet feeding business.

Although there were times during the first eight years that I needed to supplement my business by holding down casual, part-time or even full- time work, I probably wouldn’t have the success I have today without the Herald and, of course all the people who needed my help.

Way back, around Christmas time in 1995, I was getting tired of the fortnightly ‘dole form’ dance…

• Megan Tee

Centrelink wanted me to get a real job and I didn’t really want one, full time at least.

I was living in White Gum Valley and the dog next door was one of the poor critters left alone all day while his owners were at work 9-5.

Unfortunately he let it be known by his almost constant barking and howling that he was most unhappy with his boring solitude.

I am an animal lover in general, but have always had a special affinity with dogs and I just put two and two together.

I thought to myself that that dog and his owners’ predicament was duplicated thousands of times throughout the Fremantle region.

In January 1996 I put a small ad in the Chook classifieds and within two weeks I had my first two clients.

One, a brief stint for a lady in Booragoon, and the other a wonderful, kind lady with mobility difficulties and her elderly mother in Willagee. They had just adopted a meek young kelpie/healer mix from a shelter she supported and they needed my help to keep her happy.

I walked Mandy six days a week at first then, as I got busier I once again valued the concept of having a weekend, so put up the rate for Saturdays and Sundays.

At this point they decided to drop back to five days a week.

I also often ran errands for this special lady, doing her banking at the post office or dropping into the shop for bits and pieces, most commonly bird seed mix so she could feed the pigeons and lorikeets.

I walked Mandy right up until the Friday before I was admitted to the old Woodside Maternity Hospital, East Fremantle on the Sunday to have my first baby.

She saw both my children through their youngest years.

I breastfed and changed nappies on her spare bed before and after walks for what must have been years.

After a couple of years walking, Mandy discovered the joy of play, something that her owner had never seen nor experienced before.

She’d get a twinkle in her eyes after I’d taken her lead off after our walk and she’d take on ‘the crouch’.

I’d stomp my feet and clap my hands and she’d zoom up the passage past me to do a spinning loop track in the lounge room, out and back down the passage, in and out of the kitchen, to take up her crouching position again.

Over and over we’d do this, me pretending to chase her, her pelting around the small home at breakneck pace.

Such joy to share with her owner.

I ended up walking Mandy for all of 10 years!

I also remember teaching Song, a gorgeous red cloud, that she could in fact swim.

She loved the ball so I’d take her to the beach, tossing the ball into the shallow water just within her reach and every few throws just beyond it. It didn’t take too many weeks before she was a full blown, confident swimmer, retrieving her ball from behind the breaking waves.

Her owner was truly grateful.

Over the years I’ve walked many many dogs.

From the biggest bull mastiff, dobermans, and Bernese mountain dogs to toy poodles, maltase’s and jack rustles and everything in between.

I’ve fed and watered rabbits, guinea pigs, cockies, fed fish, let out and shut in chooks and petted and talked to many cats.

I’ve watered gardens and pot plants, collected mail, taken out and brought in bins. All starting with a small ad in our independent, local paper, the Fremantle Herald.

And I’m grateful.

ED’s note: Ms Tee is hoping to catch up with former poochy pals and their owners on October 29 down the bottom of the Frank Gibson netball courts on Leach Highway, saying in lieu of a charge, they might make a donation to an animal welfare organistion.

by MEGAN TEE

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