Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Unsolicited Advice

I'm lucky that my best friend Kathy is so understanding. Recently, I babysat her pit bull, Lila, while she and her husband were in Europe. Kathy's mum and I traded off dog-sitting duties, so I mostly got to enjoy her on the weekends and shuffle her back to Grandma's house while I was busy working. I noticed Lila was a little sore in her back legs, probably because her bad knees were acting up (in addition to being her doGmother, I'm also Lila's vet). I picked up some Flexadin, a glucosamine supplement I'd been interesting in trying, due to the inclusion of the natural anti-inflammatory Devil's Claw. I started Lila on the supplement, and let Kathy know what I'd done via a Facebook message.

Lila had a great time at our place, playing with her "cousins" Jake, Granger, and Fletcher, and going for great hikes, car rides, and even a swim. I noticed a bit of "only dog" syndrome when trying to incorporate her into my crew, but she soon learned to wait her turn for treats, stay in the car until being released, and even made some progress in the no-pulling-on-leash department.

At a charity dog walk on Sunday, I chatted to Kathy about Lila's experience at our place, and went into detail about what I thought we could be doing better for her, health-wise. I also offered up a couple of training tips. Now, usually people pay good money to hear me offer advice like this, but I was happy to make recommendations free of charge. It wasn't until I got home that I realized it might have sounded like an unsolicited critique of Kathy's dog parenting skills.

I quickly sent Kathy a text explaining I hope she didn't think I meant Lila is neglected or unruly (she's any but!), I'd just had a chance while keeping her full-time to observe some areas where I thought I could help. Luckily, Kathy has been my friend long enough (since Grade 8) that she's had plenty of time to learn not to be offended by me, and she appreciated my concern for Lila. Sometimes my client-communication blunders turn out ok!