Doggy Blog

The Big Easy: Nola's Grand Adventure

I'm happy to introduce you all to Nola, one of my favorite doggos to walk. She's a fine ol' Southern belle of a black lab who, in true New Orleans fashion, loves eating green beans. 

A not very great photograph of a very great dog about to enjoy a healthy snack.

A not very great photograph of a very great dog about to enjoy a healthy snack.

To be totally honest, I've never checked to confirm if Nola's name is in any way related to the deeelightful burg of New Orleans. However, in true Doggy Blog fashion, I have constructed an elaborate narrative about Nola's early life in the antebellum South and her subsequent escape to a new life in north side Chicago. Let's dive in with a beautiful bulleted list—also in true Doggy Blog fashion!

  • 1867 AD, New Orleans, LA. Nola is enjoying life as a soothsayer in the French Quarter, trading her mystical abilities for green beans. She comes from a mysterious lineage, known for magical abilities and looong lifespans. Her business is booming in the recently upended Southern cultural and economical ecosystem, as many citizens seek a new direction in the occult. Nola, as any sound businesswoman would, expands her business into the apothecarian arts: tonic brewing, protective salt crystallization, alchemical tinctures, potion bottling, etc. Things are good.
  • 1872 AD, New Orleans, LA. Casie Blount, of the much respected and oft feared Louisiana Blounts, saunters into Nola's now well-established shop looking for a nerve tonic to soothe her jittery hysteria. Nola, aware of the import of this transaction and thus a bit nervous herself, reaches for her popular "Ms. Nola's Pacifying Potion, No. IV". Unfortunately, in her anxious stupor, she accidentally grabs "Ms. Nola's Pacifying Potion, No. III," essentially a diluted rodent poison. She accepts Ms. Blount's bag of Confederate currency and bids her adieu.
  • Later that same day. Ms. Blount, after drinking said potion, is poisoned and passes away, hand still clutching the rose-tinted bottle. A mob is formed and Ms. Nola is chased from her shop, and subsequently town. She heads north.
  • 1968 AD, Chicago, IL. Nola has wandered the continental United States for nearly 100 years, haunted by the lingering influence of the Blount family. In an effort to conceal her identity, she had become a resolute Democrat and fervent opponent of the war in Vietnam. Running in these circles had introduced Nola to many movers and shakers, many of whom  dabbled in the apothecarian arts that had brought Nola such fame and eventual misfortune. While attending a protest at the Democratic National Convention, Nola was stopped by a policeman. Upon seeing his badge and name, Nola was aghast: printed in bold, san serif font on the policeman's lapel was the name "Blount". Clearly the Blount family passed down a likeness of Nola over the last century, and the officer recognized her immediately. Nola turned to flee, reaching into her pocket for a small vial given to her by Timothy Leary, labeled "For Emergencies Only." Nola ducked down an alleyway and quaffed the black liquid. This, as you probably already guessed, transformed her into a black lab just as Officer Blount turned the corner. Blount, finding no evidence of the Louisianian soothsayer, picked up the kindly black lab and ironically adopted her.
  • 1998 AD, Chicago, IL. Over the years, she gains his trust and finally explains her side of the story to Officer Blount on his death bed. He forgives her with his last breath, and Nola feels at peace for the first time in years.
  • 2016 AD, Chicago, IL (north side). I begin walking Nola. After several walks, green beans, and head scratches, I gain her confidence and hear tell of this amazing story. And with her permission, and to ease the burden of over a century of guilt and persecution, I now share it with you.
Nola, relieved after telling me her life story after a beautiful springtime walk.

Nola, relieved after telling me her life story after a beautiful springtime walk.

And that's basically the story of Nola the sweet ol' black lab. She's a wonderful creature, wise, friendly, very stubborn in her walking tendencies and not afraid to pull a mere Yankee like me around like a kite with legs.

Here's to many more walks with Nola, a proud ol' Southern belle with a heart of gold!


As a palate cleanser after that story, here's my fave pic of Nola. She's the cutest.

As a palate cleanser after that story, here's my fave pic of Nola. She's the cutest.

Dogwalking 101: A Day In The Life

For today's post I figured I'd walk everyone through what a normal day in the life of a Home Treat Home dogwalker. In bulleted list form. With some pictures that may or may not have anything to do with said list. Ya know, in case my prose doesn't keep your attention.

  • Wake up. Get out of bed. Drag a comb across my head.
  • Make coffee. I don't want to sound like a Cathy cartoon, but you DON'T WANT TO SEE ME WITHOUT SOME COFFEE IN ME LOL ACK ACK ACK.
  • Prepare backpack. This usually includes my bike lock, an extra sweater if it's cold (which it ALWAYS IS), an umbrella in case it rains (which it ALWAYS DOES), my keys, some notecards, and of course some Poop Bags™.
  • Grab bicycle. I typically bike every day—I look at it as one of the perks of the job actually. Unless it's absolutely pouring (refer to second bullet for frequency of rain in Chicago recently), in which case it's foolish to ride unless you have completely laminated your body to waterproof it. At this point, I typically check my tire pressure, chain, brakes, medial fringulator, and all that bike stuff. Today I actually had a flat, so I had to waste precious minutes that could have been spent hanging out with dogs changing a lame ol' bike tire.
Cooper looking pretty god damn happy.

Cooper looking pretty god damn happy.

  • Bike to first dog's residence. Yes, I always refer to it as the dog's residence because from my perspective every dog is a bachelor or bachelorette living in their own pad, on their own, doing their thing, maybe sometimes with a canine roommate sometimes not. Also it's funnier. Today my first dog was Nola, a grand ol' dame of a black lab. I can't recall if I've written a bio about Nola yet, but I definitely need to. She KNOWS things. I'll typically get the rest of my route sorted on that first walk.
  • Leave a nice note/text owner. A hallmark of Home Treat Home's business is communication. If you're one of our clients, you already know the pastel notecards that we leave behind (or, as is true in some cases, the pastel text message that arrives on your phone after walks). If you're not a client, you should look into it. The notecards are fetching (LOLOLOL).
  • Bike to rest of dog's residences. Bet you didn't see THAT step coming! Most of my clients live in the same general area, so my route is pretty easy to plan. It's nice being able to take in a swath of the city, especially on vibrantly sunny days like this. Another perk of the job is that whilst on this journey, I meet a wide variety of mailpersons, other dogwalkers, shop owners, kids that want to pet the dogs, and of course your garden variety crazy folks that scare the dogs with their slightly tilted personality and often loud approach.
  • Lunch? Sometimes I will stop at a local eatery and grab some potables. Sometimes I eat a big enough breakfast and drink enough coffee to get me through the day. You can really slim down doing this job, what with the walking and the biking and the not eating. Another perk! Although when the dog biscuits start to smell appetizing, it's usually time to calorie up.
  • Finish day/run errands. When I've walked my last dog, I usually run a few errands since I'm already out and about. I've found that dealing with even the most menial crap of 21st century life (going to the cell phone store, the bank, grocery shopping, returning library books) is delightful when you've been imbued with the naive joy of the dogs you've walked all day. Yet another perk!
  • Bike home/write Doggy Blog posts. After I'm all done walkin' dogs, I head home full of ideas for these very posts you read. When I worked at a desk, I would often feel a sort of malaise deep in my bones at the end of the day—a gray, deadening sort of deep soul thrombosis. No real inspiration to do much after 5. Now, with the near constant exercise and the novel experiences that fill my day, I am delighted to park myself in front of my laptop and tap out these flights of fancy. WOWOWOWOW ANOTHER PERK!
Juniper, illustrating a elasticity of spine that would make all of Cirque du Soleil blush.

Juniper, illustrating a elasticity of spine that would make all of Cirque du Soleil blush.

Some notes that don't really fit in the bulleted list:

  • Headphones are a necessity. I listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks throughout the whole day. It's a great way to pass the time, but if you're pursuing this line of work definitely only listen with one headphone in so you can keep plugged into reality and the dogs. This is a good tip for any public headphone listening to be honest. You don't have to completely tune out the world to listen to some cool shit when you're walking around.
  • Water bottle! Gotta stay hydrated, y'all. The job—obviously—includes a lot of walking (often more than 8 miles a day or ~18,000 steps according to my probably not very accurate iPhone) and you're losing a lot of water. Even if it's cold.
  • Sunglasses. A must when it's sunny. A shamanic talisman summoning the sun when it's cloudy.
  • A good book. You should just always have a good book with you. Whenever you don't bring one, you end up needing one. Trust me.

Enough rambling for today! Enjoy your weekend!