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Who Let The Dogs Out, Or Rather, Who didn’t?

Outfitted in a black, hooded Patagonia anorak, jeans and high-laced waterproof hiking boots I found myself soaked and not a little miserable after just 20 minutes amidst the horizontal rain that Oregon is so well known for. Even with a hood, I could barely see through my rain-streaked, misted glasses. Ahead of me, tail high and wagging, nose to the ground sniffing vigorously and powerful limbs eagerly plowing ahead is my 11:00 on Wednesdays and Thursdays. She’s a stocky yellow Lab named Moorea and one of the sweetest tempered, most lovable dogs I’ve ever met.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this yet, but I’m a dog-walker. This is what I do which is why I was out in this weather in the first place. Still, I got to wondering, something I am apt to do on these dog walks, where was everybody? More specifically, where were all the dogs I usually ran into? Earlier this morning the dog park was a virtual empty lot as well. What happens to these dogs during our seemingly endless days of nasty weather? I began to imagine said dogs stuck inside their respective houses, noses pressed against their misted front windows, curious¬†eyes searching up and down the street, patiently waiting, maybe in vain, for when their master would at last be there to take them for a walk, to their favorite place, dare they believe it, the park.

Moorea On A Sunny Day

Ah ha, you counter, but you just admitted to being “miserable” and only there because of said profession. Admittedly, dog-walker/ pet-sitter is my chosen profession and feeling wet and chilled to the bone is not something that I relish ( I am originally from L.A. after all). But let us backtrack to the beginning of my story. There I was, trudging through muddy, water-mired streets… Actually, trudging may not be an appropriate description. Walking at a trot or maybe a brisk jog might be more accurate ( Moorea is very enthusiastic). Once we arrived at our destination I find a stick for us to play with. A tennis ball is completely out of the question as I learned the hard way a long time ago. The last time she got hold of a tennis ball I practically needed the jaws of life to extract it from her clenched grip. But I digress.

These walks are, as her mom informed me just the other day, the one thing she looks forward to. Her joy and exuberance are contagious too. She teaches me, as many of  my other furry clients do, to find pleasure and beauty in the simple things in life and for this I am grateful. When we get home, after she charges into the house to her water bowl for some much needed hydration, she immediately comes to me and makes sure she gets her habitual hugs and kisses before I leave. Another important lesson: Give your loved ones a hug a day.


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My New Pet-sitting Website: A Work In Progress

Nero and Ruthie at Mary S. Young Park In West Linn, Oregon

I was so excited about my new pet-sitting website. It took me about two weeks to complete but it really felt like two months. Ok, I admit that I am not the most computer literate person in the world but I am tenacious, so on I stumbled and fumbled, loading pics, formatting text, framing pages and forming cohesive, informative and business-like paragraphs( I hoped).

Initially, I went with a web-hosting company which charged a mere $14.99 per month if you signed up for three months in advance. This also included a free private domain name. Great, saves me the added aggravation and cost of buying one on my own I thought. This particular web-hosting website looked impressive and promised many wonderful templates to choose from. After charging up my credit card I couldn’t wait to get started. Much to my chagrin, the actual number of templates suited for my type of business was very limited. Actually, they were downright amateur and outdated. Right, I cancelled my order, got my money back and started again from scratch. People I knew recommended web-hosting companies and I had also done some research on my own. Still, since this was my first ever web-site and I was nervous about further charges on my credit card that I might possibly regret, I decided to go with a free service this time. After all, what did I have to lose?

So I chose to go with Wix. While creating a website through them is free, hosting of a private domain is not. $140.00 poorer I plowed on and two weeks later http://www.lauragalleypetcare.com was born. Am I totally happy with my site? No. I wish it would load faster( it’s slowness is apparently due to the photographs I uploaded). I also wished it was more full screen and professional looking. Well, at least it’s up and accessible. Or is it?

Now comes the real work. How do I get my published site viewable on search engines? Wix does not help with this in the slightest( unless I’m willing to whip out my credit card of course). I am the creator of my site and so it is up to me to manually apply to the various search engines and submit my site. Some are free, others are not. Then there’s complicated terms like “meta tags”, “site-indexing”, “banner ads vs. tile ads”, “web crawlers”, “xHTML”, “WML”, or “CHTML”, etc.,etc. I just want my new business website to be seen! Is this too much to ask? Uh, apparently.

I believe in the excellent care I give to my clients’ pets and by building a website I hope to make my business and services better known to others. I also believe that in the end, perseverance will indeed prevail. So, with that said, it’s back to my computer and the wonderful web for further research in hopes of answers to my many questions and dilemas.

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