Today’s story is about an ardent dog lover. You can almost always spot her rolling around with dogs, posing for group photos with them sandwiched right in the middle. She greets every dog with a warm ‘good morning’ while handing out their breakfasts. Every evening she cuddles up with dogs boarding at the daycare and kisses them goodnight, so they don’t miss their families too much. She even dressed up in an inflatable life-size dinosaur suit for a Jurassic Park themed Halloween party for dogs. “Basically, I don’t think there’s anything I wouldn’t do for dogs,” said Jennifer Cross, Boarding & Daycare Manager at Dogwalk.
“Dogs are special. No matter how rubbish I might feel, the moment I’m around dogs everything seems alright. When I’m at home just seeing my dog going down the stairs in the morning, hearing the tail bash onto the floor, getting a cuddle, holding their paw brings a smile. Even at Dogwalk sometimes if I’m not feeling so great, I go to the daycare area to see who’s in. I stand there watching the dogs play, get some cuddles and kisses from them all and it changes my mood instantly.”
Read more ‘Humans of Paws’ stories here
Did you grow up with dogs? What are your earliest memories of having a pet?
Jennifer: We got our first dog Molly when my brother and I were still in secondary school. She was our first pet. We always wanted a dog so much so that we even wrote on our staircase wall each day in the hope we’d get our puppy one day. When we went to see Molly, she was the only puppy amongst the hedges chewing sticks, the smallest of the litter. She was the most special girl, our best friend. And she loved water. I’ll always remember the day when we took her to the riverside where she spotted some ducks and swam to the other side. My brother sprinted across the bridge to get her and called to say he couldn’t see her. By the time he got across she swam back 😉
Sadly, our dear Molz crossed the rainbow bridge one day. She had struggled with bad arthritis as she got older but continued to always power on. One week she didn’t feel like going on a walk, and we found out at the vet that she had a tumour in the stomach. Hearing the news and letting her go was the hardest day for us. We were so heartbroken; I still miss her every single day.
Do you have pets here in Dubai?
Jennifer: No, I don’t have any pets here, I decided to keep my four-year-old golden retriever Jasper back in the UK with my parents. He is the biggest goof, loves to roll on his back, cover the garden with his toys and always makes sure to dive into some mud wherever he can find. Jasper is dopey, when he was growing up, he was afraid of his own shadow, or his own Frisbee when it got stuck in the hedge. He loves to go to the beach, dig giant holes in the sand and inevitably lose his tennis ball. I miss him a lot. But it’s the most amazing feeling when I go home for a visit and he literally jumps into my arms, bringing me my shoes with his huge smiley face, his bushy tail swishing around like a helicopter.
Did you always aspire to work with dogs? Or did it happen by chance?
Jennifer: When I moved to Dubai with my boyfriend working in a doggy daycare was the only job I was looking for. Unfortunately, the first year I was here I didn’t have much luck finding the right place, but I continued to stay positive and kept trying. When I got the opportunity from Dogwalk I took it without any hesitation. I love seeing all the dogs every day and each day is different. Plus, I work with a wonderful team who are all so passionate about animals too, making it so much more than a job.
In fact, back home I had my own dog walking business. I was always out walking Molly; she was the main reason for getting it started. I had an amazing bunch of pups I’d go out on adventures with. We’d be out each day in all sorts of weather – rain, snow, wild winds. I’d make sure each walk was as enjoyable as the last for the group. Have a photoshoot with them every day, share updates with their humans with a little summary of their dog’s day out.
What do you like the most about your job at Dogwalk?
Jennifer: I’ve different tasks, some more enjoyable than the others. One of the favourite things that I always enjoy working on is planning events and activities. We’ve hosted some really fun ones from pinata parties, splash pool events, frozen fruit picnics and also dedicated days for specific breeds. During my first week at Dogwalk we hosted golden retriever day. That was one of my favourite events, running in our outdoor park with all the goldens, watching them go crazy in our pool for a group swim.
What do you find most challenging about your job?
Jennifer: I’d say working with so many different breeds all with different backgrounds is challenging sometimes. There are a lot of rescued dogs in Dubai and their pasts are not always known. We must be conscientious and caring to all dogs when interacting with them. I work with a very knowledgeable team who guided me since day one on how to work with specific dogs and gain their trust. I’ve learnt a lot from the team at Dogwalk. Whenever I struggle with any aspect of my role, I know I can rely on them to assist me with anything.
Did you ever have an alternate career in mind that didn’t work out?
Jennifer: When I was younger, I played football for years and competed in a lot of games through the seasons. I was always active as a kid. I dreamed of being a professional football player and envisioned wearing a football kit everywhere. Once I got older the passion slowly started to phase out. But I still like to kick a ball around at home in the fields with Jasper and the other dogs.