Trials and tribulations of a Pet Settler by Laura Marchant
This book is a celebration of dogs in all their variety, personalities and challenges. The author is devoted to her dog, Brece, and this book records her first meeting with him, their earliest devoted relationship, and how her care needs inspired Marchant to consider a change to her office job. This book recalls how she set out to make a living from boarding then walking dogs for owners, many of whom have their own issues. It is the story of various dogs with all their traits and the problems that they cause Marchant, as well as their attractive and winning ways. The book is described as “Based on true stories”, but it flows far more than a series of anecdotes; she has arranged her observations and stories into deliberate sections. She also writes of the problems of being a dog walker in terms of finding places to walk her charges, the difficulties of managing vehicles, the challenges of coping with owners’ houses. This is an honest and well written account of the real relationships she develops through her love of dogs, and her real affection for even the most difficult canine. I was pleased to have the opportunity to read and review this unusual book which has the love of dogs at heart.
The book begins with a fond series of reminiscences of a childhood pet and her acknowledged skill at crossing a busy road. A distinctive personality, Frisco left Marchant with an excellent sense of dogs as creatures that made her happy. She acquired a partner, Mike, and then a golden retriever, Brece, the last puppy left from a brood. A distinctive and strong personality, Brece soon became possessive and dominant in the house. Marchant admits that she was lax about training her, and regarded her as others may think of their child. Following changes in her life which included her opting out of office work, she reveals how she thought of looking after other people’s dogs before others had perhaps realised that there was a market for those who did not trust their dogs to kennels. She began to board dogs in her home, though insisted on checking each animal with Brece in her house to check they were an acceptable fit. I had not realised how much there is to challenge a dog host in terms of personality and temperament as well as questions of its training and so forth. As she goes on to walk dogs for those who work, she has new struggles and joys that make her life interesting and challenging.
Not being a dog owner, I felt I learnt a lot about dogs from this book. I now know that it is sometimes difficult to assess a dog correctly, and that its breed, personality and circumstances have much to contribute to their behaviour. I found the mechanics of self employment fascinating, especially given the variables of dogs and their demands and abilities. Anything that involves dealing with people in their homes and with their precious pets will have drawbacks, especially when entrusting access to homes is involved. This is a book that is cheering overall, giving the essence of a life spent doing what they love, even when that is challenging. This book deserves to be popular for its honesty, humour and perception, but mainly for its genuine love of dogs which inspires and motivates a life.