Like sands through the hour glass....can Toronto dog walkers please just focus on your own business?
I guess every occupation has employees who love to gossip around the water cooler, but when it comes to dog walking.....there is no such cooler (unless you count the streams that the pooches love to swim in!). The result? Sass, backstabbing, & anything and everything you'd find in any occupation. Yet the problem lies in the fact that most dog walking businesses within Toronto are owner operated (small) and when one starts spreading rumours, the result can be the the end of a small company, and in turn the end of one's livelihood.
While I'm sure the world of dog walking isn't nearly as "nefarious" as say the TSE, you'd be surprised at the level of "back-stabbing". One minute you'll be in the park getting along with all the frequent walkers and as soon as one of them leaves, another can hardly wait two seconds before sharing every negative trait they can about the departed person. I've been the victim of it, and I know many walkers who have as well. Here's a novel idea : Mind you own business!
I've seen walkers who basically refuse to pick up poop. I've seen walkers who spend their entire walk listening to the radio on their headphones or spending THE ENTIRE WALK on their cell phones. I see walkers who seem to treat their time at the off leash park as more of a social event for people than an actual dog walk (standing around in one place gossiping about others hardly constitutes a dog walk). I've heard of walkers being admonished by others for walking in the wrong direction at the park (I assume under the legal precedence of the fourth grade argument, "I was here first"). I've even heard of one walker spreading a rumour that another had a DUI! I'm telling you about these instances not to gossip (if I wanted to do that I'd call out names and really, is it any of MY business?), but rather to make the point that trashing another walker for things that ALL OF US may have done at one point or another serves little purpose other than to sate one's own ego, not to mention the fact it's pretty much an adult form of bullying.
I guess dog walking has become as cut throat as any other business, and I guess some will go to any lengths to steal business from another. But at the same time I wish walkers would leave well and well enough alone. Just keep it to yourself (unless of course you see anything you would consider a criminal act). I'd hedge bets that if you were in an office and gossiping about pretty much every other employee in that office, you wouldn't last a day.
Don't get me wrong, I'll talk to a walking friend once in a while about another who is bothering me (it's called venting and it happens in every occupation, though at the same time I've had the courtesy to tell another walker directly if I think there might be an issue) and by no means am I a perfect walker every day (can anyone in any industry attest to that?), but when some spend THE MAJORITY of their time attempting to stir up trouble, their actions begin to reflect more on the individual than any target of their gossip.
The end result of the gossip? A completely unenjoyable park experience for owners, walkers, and dogs. So in the meantime remember that if you are spending more time complaining and gossiping about other walkers, perhaps you should divest that energy to concentrating on your own business. I've got a good feeling that it may not make you any happier, but at least others will be able to enjoy their day a little more.
If you have hired a dog walker, by no means let this post deter you from maintaining an amazing service that is so helpful to you in your daily life. I'm just venting here (it happens every week or so and lately I'm hearing more and more about "park gossip" & it's driving me nuts!). The majority of dog walkers in this city are fantastic and spend the majority of their time actually walking rather than gossiping. If ever you have any concerns about your dog walker head on over to the park to watch them in action, and read this post if you are in the market for a dog walker.
Feel free to comment Toronto readers & walkers but keep in mind that I will be removing any comments that directly name another company or individual, as that's just gossip.