Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Afternoon Dog Tea

Coffee shops in Manhattan are the equivalent to a College bar scene. Seats next to outlets (for which we can plug in our computers) are the hoochie sorority girls making out with one another and sporting minimal clothing. And cafe patrons are the disgusting frat boys eyeing, longingly -- waiting for their chance to move in.

Ive never felt more connected to those frat boys. I would give anything to get a seat next to an outlet. Anything. That's how quickly my shiny, brand new Apple computer loses battery power.

In my local cafe, there are about four outlets. Two are near the front door -- the exact same door whose drafty engineering allows the brisk (piss freezing cold) air to come through and chill the hair on your arms. The other two seats are located in the back, near the heater... where it gets so hot, you can feel the sweat create a pool in the dimples of your lower back. These are the prime seats.

And today, I got one. I walked in after a day of grueling dog walking, to find an aura of Godly light shining down on the seat in the back -- beckoning me to its holy outlet. I sat down, and began furiously typing away when I noticed the seat next to me become occupied by a 30-something man and his cheesecake.

He took his fork and broke off a piece of the dessert. With broad strokes, almost like two swimmers belly flopping into each other, this man passionately, and with great fervor, smacked his lips around the first bite. And he continued to smack his lips with a vengeance in between truck driver swallows of his chosen beverage. Each time his mouth opened, strings of mucous and cheesecake connected the top from the bottom. And when he had filled his cake hole with enough food, his lips came down with a saliva-coated crack.

I wanted to kill him.

How difficult is it, to simply keep your mouth closed when you eat? Especially when you're sitting two inches away from another person? Moreover, cant you tell that your eating is making a sound?! I stopped typing and glared. This man was completely oblivious to his own "I was raised in a barn" vibe... and now he thought I was hitting on him.

His girlish waving and incessant smacking, made me rethink the situation's political protocol: Wasn't it sort of my duty, as a friendly neighbor, to advise this man on his disgusting, born-from-a-cow, habit? Or, by some crazy Judeo-christian credence, would that be considered "out-of-line"? I eventually decided on the latter, and with a defeated sigh, moved to a non-outlet table.

But even as I sit, across the room from this horse-of-a-man -- Even though his plate is now empty -- I cant help but viciously send eyebeams of contempt his way. He, along with his Manatee lips have ruined everything, and for that, I can never forgive him.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Save Me

I think I witnessed the efforts of a suicidal pigeon today. Either that, or the tiny bird was blind, deaf and drunk.

I was walking Wally (the aging boxer) when I noticed the little guy tempting fate in the middle of the street. "Pidge" looked like he had just come off a four-night drinking and hooking binge and was now wandering the paved roads with reckless abandon. He had given up on life and remained completely unfazed as looming tires came within centimeters of his little feathered body.

The whole ordeal broke my heart. Maybe I saw a little part of myself in the tiny beady eyes staring back at me over his dirty beak. I too hadn't showered in days, and was feeling the overpowering blanket of depression cover me with feelings of insecurity and uncertainty about my future. And sometimes, I eat things off the floor. It's like we were two soul friends connecting just at the right moment.

I felt horrible, and tried to devise a plan to talk him off the ledge. But I feared that approaching Pidge with Wally in hand would only push him further into the depths of despair. So, I stood on the side of the road and, with open arms (and matzah crumbs), coaxed the Winged Depressive over to me.

There was no way for me to explain -- in bird speak -- that everything would be ok. But I still felt confident about my exploits. Pidge got a new lease on life, and so did I.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Today started like any other. I woke up with a burst of excitement, brushed my teeth with Crest Extra Whitening, and imagined my face on the Wheaties box as I stared longingly over breakfast. (I know the coveted spot is reserved mostly for sports heroes -- and me being afraid of balls and competition doesn't help my chances. Still, I dream of the day, "Worlds Best Dog Walker" will make the cover.)

The weather was abnormally beautiful and I actually left the house sans long underwear for the first time in six months. Things were on the up and up, and I wasn't the only one who noticed.

Everyone was in a good mood, and the neighborhood felt like a Disney musical: Sunshine was pouring through the gorgeous blue sky, and the pigeons seemed to be freshly cleaned and flying about. I half-expected the squirrels to start singing and holding hands, and the delivery men to dance around lamp posts, tipping their caps.

Even the dogs seemed to be in good spirits as we skipped and sashayed down the block. It was a perfect day and nothing could go wrong... until Fizzy ate dogdoo.

I didn't notice at first, as I was kindly giving two elderly vacationers directions to a local eatery. But I could tell something was up as my shoulder was still tucked neatly in its socket. For a twenty-five pound dog, Fizzy has mastered the "tug-yank-and-drag" like a champ. Yet today, he was oddly docile.

Feeling uneasy, I slowly dropped my gaze to find Fizzy knee-deep in the largest deposit of dog poop I had ever seen. I stood in shocked silence, not sure what to do. I'd heard of such horror stories, but shrugged it off as an urban myth. And now, there I was staring it in the face.

On the one hand, it was the most repulsive display of consumption in recent memory. At the same time, I realized that I could enter Fizzy into any one of the reality-based competition shows, and he would have a fighting chance.

His eye caught mine just as the tourists were backing away slowly in fearful repulse. I have to admit, I was a little scared too. Fizzy's big, sweet grin was just barely peeking out behind the thick, chocolate layer covering his entire head.

It was both disgusting and heartbreaking. Here I am praising my amazing dog walking abilities, when I cant even keep my clients from eating crap... that cant be a good sign.

Feeling defeated, I watched the Wheaties box flash before my eyes as I took Fizzy home and washed his mouth out with soap.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Bussom Buddies

Yesterday, I was followed by a hoard of homeless people,veterans, crazy dog-women, and yes, construction workers. I have no idea how it happened, but all of a sudden, I was the sweatpant-clad Pied Piper leading the lonely and disoriented around the city.

And I have no one to blame by myself. I cant help it that I'm friendly -- I come from the land of nice, Minneapolis. The place where, if you're not on the road, driving with the type of vicious passion that could kill a small cartoon character, you're bending over backwards to make sure that everyone else is happy. You open doors for others, offer up the last croissant and let people budge in line. Any action to the contrary is considered unnatural. That's just the way of life in the Mini-apple.

And that way of life works out wonderfully, until you take one of those doe-eyed, sweet as pie, petite, Minnesota girls and drop them into the sweltering, urine-based streets of New York. Here, you can walk by the same person four times a day, and not even crack a smile.

But I don't fit the mold -- Life, to me, is still a 1950's television sitcom complete with cordial neighbors, coiffed hair-dos and TV dinners. I cant help but beam and wave at any and all individuals I see along my dog walking path each day. This includes the elderly, doormen and vagabonds. (I usually avoid making eye contact with construction workers as I don't want to encourage them.)

But, on Thursday, March 22nd, every single person I had ever acknowledged, took it the wrong way, and I spent my afternoon travelling through a tag team of uninvited guest speakers who decided to "walk with me" as I worked.

It was bizarre -- as if each person was stationed around the city and knew right when their transient predecessor was finished. I probably had only 5-10 minutes between guests, and each took my previously friendly gesture as a genuine interest in their stories of leg surgery, dog problems or the onset of Hepatitis C.

Under different circumstances, I may have been very interested in hearing (almost all) of their (very brief) stories, but it's not the right time when I'm working.

What do you say to complete strangers who are jabbering your ear off about their time at war, their botched botox procedures or how they contracted a venereal disease? Since all I'm doing is "walking", its hard to pretend that I'm incapable of a conversation. So, I had to dig deep, go against everything Ive learned my whole life, and lay a hardcore smack down.

It was awkward at first, but once I felt that my new bussom buddies were impeding on my dog-time or personal space, I had to tell them that it wasn't ok. So, one by one, I politely let each of the walk crashers know, that they were seriously creeping me out.

After the last guest retreated (and the slow clap had subsided), I found myself, once again, beaming...but this time with pride. I haven't denounced my "Minnesota nice", I'm just adding a bit of New York savvy to my repertoire.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Strange thing happened today.

I was assaulted by two psychotic individuals hailing cell phone pictures of their dogs. I didn’t know these people – actually I had never seen them before in my life. And still, they freaked out, dodged traffic and, arms outstretched, virtually vomited their little pixilated puppies all over me.

One minute, I was enjoying a leisurely walk with Fizzy, the next, I was cooing awkwardly over fuzzy fingerprinted pictures still emulating warmth from the bottom of this stranger's pocket. And no, they didn’t want me to walk their dog... they just wanted me to look at him. After stroking their ego for what seemed like 10 minutes, I walked away feeling used.

Here's the deal: I’m not one to get excited over baby pictures (I’ve often compared them to awkward potatoes with faces), and I’m starting to realize that I just don't want to see random pictures of your dog either. Its not fun. Bring me a dog in person and you wont be able to tear my adorable little paws away from him...but the afternoon cellphone montage just doesn’t do it for me. Its sort of creepy.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Its freezing cold outside. The news is reporting zero and sub zero temperatures -- though I don't think its actually dipped below the teens. For New Yorkers its still considered the end of the earth as we know it. For Minnesotans, its what we call springtime.

Brief exposure to this "what-I-imagine-hell-to-be-like" weather can lead to frostbite in our little, canine friends. But we, your loyal dog walkers, still trek through the frozen tundra to make sure that no dog is left with crossed legs. We are the champions of winter. While you are sitting, toasty in your fancy office, sipping your margaritas and being fanned by a band of Tropicana girls, I'm trying to defrost the icicle snot that has formed on my face.

But I'm not complaining. I'm wearing two layers of long underwear over my thick, knit stockings; hand warmers in my heavy duty gloves; a ski mask; goggles and mascara. That's right. I may look like the love child of the abominable snowman and his Yeti mistress, I may have to "pee on the go" to maintain feeling in my legs, but underneath it all, I like to look nice. After all, I'm a professional.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I dont like you in that way

Today, Clifford humped me in broad daylight. Thats right, in the middle of the day, on the busy, Chinatown sidewalk, 90-lbs-of-hunkin'-love took a running leap into my lower back and proceeded to vibrate to the high heavens. No, this isn't the first time Clifford hit on me, it was just the first time he couldn't wait until we got into the safe confines of his building elevator.

And since there were no elevator walls to bounce off of, I went flying (Im talking: arms and legs flailing) roughly 2 feet into the fish-tainted air, only to land face down in the street.

The worst part? Don't know if you've ever traveled to Chinatown... but it is probably the most convoluted area in the city: street vendors, tourists and inhabitants traverse the streets at a constant stream. Today, there were maybe 50 people walking by. And no one...NO ONE, stopped to help.

There I was, lying on the ground with a large, furry, man-dog attempting to rape me, and the most I got was one person who asked me to move.

Maybe I have too much faith in my fellow man. But, Ive always thought if I saw someone in need, I would do what I could to help. And a small girl being violated by Big-foot-in-dog-form, qualifies as such.

Are New Yorkers just completely desensitized? If the same thing had happened in Minneapolis, someone would have called the Fire Department and my harrowing ordeal would have been on the nightly news ("Local girl rescued from loins of neighborhood dog").

Not so, here. In New York, Ive got to fend for myself.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Juggling Act

Today was a hard one.

I was walking Fizzy and Billy, trying to keep my balance as they both pulled in opposite directions, tripping over myself and dodging delivery men, small children and garbage cans along the way. Finally Billy found a desirable spot to go to the bathroom.

I steadied myself into a crouching-tiger type position, in order to keep hold of the dogs while picking up after them at the same time. And then it happened. Fizzy took off in a strong gait down the block. I wobbled momentarily, but soon, my growing thigh muscles (still sore from the "stairmaster-esque" daily routine of 5th floor walk up apartments) stabled my squat once more.

But Fizzy wasn't happy waiting for me to finish cleaning up after his friend. Through the corner of my eye, I could see the little bugger slowly retreating backwards as if to "wind up" for some amazing Olympic-like sprint. For a second, there was complete silence. I took this as an opportunity to continue my task. And then, mid-scoop, everything came crashing down. Like a shotgun, with all his might, Fizzy took off.

Unfortunately for him (and eventually for me), my jaws-of-life grip on his leash, and amazing cat-like reflexes repelled the little guy back into me -- more specifically, into the bag of poop I was holding. Which, in turn, flew (open side up) unto my newly cleaned jeans. It wasn't a direct hit, as much of a long smear.

For the next few minutes, I stood, open-mouthed, in complete amazement -- shifting my gaze from Fizzy, to my chocolate covered pant leg, and then back again. Occasionally, I would give Billy a look to see if he could provide any assurance or comfort. He couldn't. No one could. The fact was clear: I was covered in poo, and there was nobody to blame but myself.

I've decided that tomorrow, I'm going to wear plastic pants...and maybe carry a hose. No point in dressing nice anymore. If nothing else, I need to start bringing a camera. Whats the point of being covered in dogdoo, if no one will see it?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Holiday Cheese

There are two things I love: Dogs and Kraft Parmesan Cheese. Both are comforting, smell questionable, and generally make everything better. Most people are familiar with my adoration for our four-legged little friends. The cheese situation (as my mom refers to it), is more "private" information. In a typical month, I go through 2-3 containers of parmesan. It is the one item for which, if given the opportunity, I would choose to be the national spokesperson –- In the hopes that it would be accompanied with a lifetime supply.

Today, my two loves collided like never before. Let me set the scene: I’m babysitting two dogs over the holidays. Fizzy and Billy. Its been almost three years since I actually owned a dog, and I guess I forgot a few things: Apparently you shouldn’t leave home with your brand new container of parmesan cheese out on the counter. For one reason, its kinda gross (some say), and secondly, dogs like to get into trouble. This afternoon, Billy took said container, and (I can only imagine), held onto it by his teeth, while he spun around the room; coating the rug, couch and surrounding areas in a thin film of flavored, snow-like goodness. I walked in (after a long day), to the smell of delicious, processed cheese heaven. I could have enjoyed this dream-come-true, had I not been so mad at the little guy cowering in the corner.

I’m not going to lie. And I’m sure I’m not alone when I say, I’ve always secretly fantasized of swimming in a humongous pool of parmesan cheese and money. But, when the parmesan is mixed with dog hair and instead of a pool, you have a 5-year old rug in a tiny NYC apt, its not as glamorous. Add a broken vacuum to the mix, and you are well near disaster.

While I was very upset, I couldn't hold back my pride in Billy's targeted object of choice. If nothing else, he has good taste. And maybe I could learn something from him...Instead of simply "dreaming of the day" he could roll around in parmesan cheese...Billy picked a day and made it happen. He's a smart little guy...and a dog after my own heart.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Things are looking up

It's a great little world we live in...

I've just been added as a columnist for HousePetMagazine -- a wonderful website dedicated to the health and well-being of dogs everywhere!

To check it out, go to and look for "Mirra's Corner" (in the Departments Section).

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Food Fight

I’m not a competitive person. That’s probably why I didn't excel on the swim team in high school. Well, that and the fact that "belly-flop-splash-and-try-not-to-drown" is not yet a respected stroke. In any case, I hate feeling like I’m in competition.. especially when its one-on-one. Which makes my walks with Clifford (the big, red, 90-lb bundle of love) a bit more trying.

Clifford and I have our differences. 1. he has feelings for me that I cannot reciprocate. 2. he is rather large, and 3. he has got the appetite of a walrus in heat (I hear they get very hungry during that time). Now compare that to me: I’m not interested in a romantic relationship; I'm what you would call "petite" (I've often been compared to the hobbit in Lord of the Rings); and I’m an extremely picky eater. I "graze", as my mother would put it...and you cant get me to eat just anything.

Not so, for Clifford. Cliff will eat anything that walks in front of his path. He's like Pac-man on steroids: Day-old sandwiches, candy, chicken -- there were even a few times when he just licked the sidewalk. And unlike me, he will not make a fuss if a piece of chicken has bones in it, or if a piece of bread was touching a homeless person. He will eat anything, and in its entirety.

Obviously, this is not the best diet for a dog to uphold. Eating an entire rack of lamb (bones and all) is, beyond impressive, also utterly disgusting. My job as his dog walker and friend, is to notice the food before he does, and steer clear. But its not an easy task when competing with the largest and most gifted scavenger this side of the Mississippi. He will spot the food that is camouflaged, hidden under rocks, shadowed, obscure and just overall concealed. Trust me, if the WMD's were chicken-flavored, Cliff would have found them months ago.

My job, is a difficult one. Each day, I slap on my leather grip mittens, secure my head gear, and slick my hair back into a tight ponytail. Then, comes the most important step; The key to whether or not I will win the day's challenge, or forfeit cowardly to my hairy opponent: The leash wrap-around. Ill slowly stick my hand inside the leash loop and gently wind it around my entire arm, behind my back, around my waist and then back around the other arm. If there's extra leash, I may wind it around my forehead "Rambo" style. I’ve mastered it just so... that if I do the whole thing really fast, it sort of looks like I’m playing with numchucks.

Only then am I ready. And at that moment, Clifford and I are no longer dog and dog walker. But intense opponents... Just trying to get the job done.

Most days, Ill catch Clifford before he dives for food. Ill figure it out just in time and plant myself, skid forward a bit and then come to a stop... leaving only inches between his nose and the half piece of day-old pie on the sidewalk. Those days I feel like a hero.

And then there are other days. The ones where we'll be almost finished with our walk, Ill be ready to pat myself on the back for a job well done.. and then out of nowhere, Cliff will subtly and inconspicuously grab a full leg of lamb out from under a nearby bush. Since I’m not inclined to stick my hand inside his whale size jaws, Ill just have to sit there and watch him eat the entire thing in front of me. And he will take his sweet time: licking his paws, chewing really slowly and making joyful "ugh this is soo good" noises as he finishes it off. Those are the days that get me.

For a non-competitive person, I am a horribly sore loser. I can only seek solace in the fact that I’m getting better each day. At the beginning of this journey, Clifford would look at his walk as an all access pass to Old Country Buffet. Today, he looks at it as a challenge. The fact that I am am able to challenge, quite possibly, the most courageous eater in the world, makes me feel proud.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Monkey Boy

I decided to go eat brunch by myself last weekend. Not "decided" as much as "no one would call me back". It was really nice. I went to this little restaurant around the corner from my house -- actually one of my favorite places. They have the best cheese grits in the world (Please note: rating system is based on my discovery of grits two months this exact cafe). Add those grits to a seat at the bar, with a hot cup of coffee, a biscuit and the paper.. and you've got yourself a nice little set-up.

And nothing could have made it better than when the door opened to a middle-aged man toting an 11-year old mix breed dog. The music screeched to a halt. And within seconds, everyone -- previously deeply engrossed in intelligent convesation -- had put down their forks, napkins and glasses of OJ, and were now on the floor, cooing and overall molesting the little guy.

The owner was beaming with utter delight. And then, in an unfortunate turn, he decided the overabundance of attention was not enough, and it was "dog trick" time. Now, why in the hell would you decide that its a good idea to stop by a random cafe and perform a variety show with your dog? The man didnt want money... or not that I noticed. He was just looking for the fame that commonly accompanies being able to train your dog to balance food on his nose. Fido was being exploited. And it pissed me off.

I dont like when people do it with their children and I hate when they do it with their dogs. Who cares whether or not the dog can turn in circles, balance on his hind legs, or even bake a souffle to perfection? What about his overall quality of life? He's not a little plastic puppet on which you should take out your insecurities. This man was living vicariously through his overachieving pup. And the only person who really seemed to enjoy it was him. Everyone else just wanted to see Fido be a dog, not a monkey boy.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Dog Walker Wisdom
Lesson #2:

Apparently, Dog is the universal language.

Strangers always stop to tell me how cute Fizzy, the French Bull dog, is. They'll talk incessantly about how they've always wanted one, how they have one, or maybe they know someone who looks like one. In any case, there's no way I will NOT be stopped while out walking this adorable, pint size, drooling dog.

And today was no different. Except that this time, I was stopped by a sweet, elderly, Chinese man -- visibly excited about Fizzy's presence. He spoke no English and I speak no Chinese... and yet, we stood there, on Bowery and Spring, talking for roughly ten minutes. About what? No one knows. It mostly consisted of exaggerated facial expressions, guttural noises and pointing to the dog. Neither of us understood a single word the other person was saying, and yet, It may have been the best conversation I've had all day. Because, if nothing else... we tried.

Regardless of the language barrier and age gap, this man and I were able to find commonality in one thing: our adoration for this dog. And because of that… for those ten minutes, we understood each other.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Click-ity Clack

I've never been the popular girl. Scratch that, I was very popular in elementary school. I remember that the "sexiest" 6th grader asked me out three times. Each time, I said "no". He later shot someone. What I'm saying is, I was never part of a clique. Dont know why. I was always that slightly awkward girl who maybe hung out with the crowd once in a while, but was never invited to join.

Middle school and high school helped to solidify my concern. I was an outsider. Not that creepy guy who doesnt shower and smokes cigarettes behind the school. Dont get me wrong, I didnt shower... but I wasn't creepy; Just not cool enough to be part of "the" club. College life faired a bit better. There weren't so many cliques and I was able to find my place among individual friends. But I was eager to get out into the "real" world, where I assumed these selective groups magically disappeared, and I would suddenly be realized as very attractive.

And, since graduation, things seemed to be on the upswing. I've grown a few inches, started washing regularly, and have become more confident in myself. I've had numerous jobs in advertising, have been offered positions at almost every major agency in New York, and quit it all to own a dog walking company. You could say I've become a spitfire. But apparently, to one small group of snotty individuals inside the Tompkins Square dog park, Im still the pimply, awkward, smelly girl from Minneapolis. Yeah, thats right... the dog park has a clique. And it's a zinger.

The group consists of roughly 10 people, who, when standing inside the park fences, follow the credence that no one else matters. Regardless of the park's public access, they still give you the "who invited you?" look when you walk in. It's sort of how I imagined a modern day Dynasty...on crack, with dogs. And no, they are not overly attractive, or funny or special (to the untrained eye). They've just got an invite-only group that makes all others feel slightly less than. They are too cool for school, and they're ruining the harmonious "watch-Billy-humpathon" Ive been enjoying for the past few weeks.

But not any longer. I've realized that I don't really want to be a part of that clique... or any clique, for that matter. There's no need for exclusivity. And those who implement it, are saying something about themselves and their priorities. I'm perfectly happy sitting by myself, enjoying the dogs, fresh air and overall great outdoors. And hey, if someone comes over and wants to chat...Im all ears. But don't expect me to show up the next day donning matching t-shirts and ignoring anyone who doesn't adhere to our idea of social standards. That's way too involved. I'd much rather just relax.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Game Gear

Im discovering more and more red flags that I need to be aware of during my daily dog walks. Things you wouldn't normally think of -- like the leftover rack of lamb Billy dove for under a fence yesterday. I now spend all my time scanning the ground and surrounding areas for anything that would interfere with a nice casual walk. Seriously. My job is more like a video game.

Each day, I find myself battling out the forces of nature (rain, freezing cold or wind) while keeping an eye on possible predators or obstacles that I may encounter on my path. These predators can come in the form of a cat hiding in a doorway, a pile of dogdoo or maybe a piece of chicken lying in the street. It's also crucial that I keep track of my special tools (ie. supplies, such as dog bags, treats and keys), and my personal well-being (energy, stamina and food levels). And, if I pretend Im provided with points for each of the obstacles I successfully overcome, it helps me to get through each walk.

For example...

Thursday afternoon, while walking Psycho and Spaz, I hid behind a tree as a pitbull mix approached (2 points). It was a bit rainy out, so I held an umbrella in one hand and the two psycho maniacs in another (equivalent to level 3 difficulty) and I had only one power bar for breakfast (energy level at 4 out of 10). I was able to keep Psycho from jumping on a child in a stroller (bonus adrenaline points -- to be used later). Cat came out of nowhere and both dogs started barking to high hell (-2 points). Didn't see the pile of dogdoo before Spaz decided to roll in it (-5 points). However, I was able to efficiently clean her off in under 7 minutes (3 points). Plus, after cleverly spinning the story, the owner thought it was hysterically funny (3 points). And I was able to accomplish all this in the designated 30 minutes (7 points). Ok, so at the end of the walk, Ive got 6 dog bags left (which can be traded in for stamina), a full set of keys, and im only crying a little bit. not bad.

See...Its fun! And it keeps me going. Today, the elevator was broken in Fizzy's building. Most people would look at that as an 11th floor walk up, and a chance to call in sick. But, I just viewed it as level 5 difficulty with an opportunity to acquire 12 points. Now, this doesn't mean I didn't cry. I did. But then I chugged a power drink and slowly ascended the never-ending, psychotic number of stairs. It was horrible. And it didn't help that I had to do it twice (once to get him, and again to bring him home).

But, In my quest to be the best dog walker ever, I knew I couldn't back down. So, I went into game mode -- rescued Fizzy from his overreactive bladder and left feeling extremely satisfied and a bit proud.