'Dog Whisperer's love of pets wins over their owners

By Beth A. Birmingham | Aug 22, 2019
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Danny Jackson, aka The Dog Whisperer, poses with golden retriever pups Bailey and Sadie -- just two of many pet-sitting clients he has.

Waldoboro — One local longtime dog-sitter finds taking care of other people's pets a pleasure -- and his clients are equally pleased.

What started out as simply showing attention to a couple's two dogs has led to what could be a full-time job for Danny Jackson of Waldoboro, who has been pet-sitting now for nearly 15 years.

"Over time I became friends with this couple, and they could see how much attention I gave their dogs," he said, adding that at some point they asked if he would be interested in dog-sitting.

He is now known by his mother as "The Dog Whisperer."

However, dogs are not the only creatures he has taken care of. There have been cats, birds and even a pair of horses. "They really didn't care about me, though, they just wanted to be fed," Jackson said.

He said he gets a sense of belonging from his caretaking experiences. "After a long day at work, I come home and someone wants to see me," he said.

Jackson said he did have pets of his own growing up, but as he got older he realized he wouldn't be home as much and decided it wouldn't be fair to the animals. But now, through word of mouth, he is busy almost year-round -- caring for other people's pets.

To date, the worst thing he can recall that happened while dog-sitting was when one of two dogs started barking inside and it was a different bark than normal.

When he had let the first dog outside it bolted out the door and headed to the backyard. After he hooked the other dog up on a runner, it, too, tried to go to the backyard.

"It was dusk, but I could see there was another animal," he said. "So many things were running through my head as to what it could be, but I was quickly able to tell it was a porcupine."

"All I could envision was both dogs being stuck with many quills. I screamed for both dogs to come, and upon inspection I could only find one quill in either dog," Jackson said. "I was very lucky."

Jackson said the best part is seeing the different personalities in each dog as he spends time with them -- learning their routines and habits -- which he feels is as important as the care he gives them.

"It is always good to visit the person’s house to see how the animals interact if there is more than one and be certain they will let you in the house," he said.

Jackson's services come as a relief to many pet owners, as boarding them can be expensive, and some animals do not adjust well to being left alone -- especially the first time. He recalled that golden retriever pups Sadie and Bailey chewed a couch cushion during their first experience of being left alone.

He now leaves the television on Nickelodeon so they can be entertained by "Sponge Bob."

And his clients give Jackson rave reviews.

"Our dogs [Sadie and Bailey] are like our kids, so we trust very few people to stay with them," Amber Parker of Warren said.

She said she and husband Orrin were won over in the first encounter they had with Jackson.

"We had had several people come meet our previous dog, as we needed to go out of town," she said, explaining that normally the pets go along, but couldn't this trip. The couple didn't feel 100 percent sure about anyone, as they weren't showing the attention directly to the dog as they wanted, and it was more toward them.

"Then, in walks Danny. He instantly dropped to his knees and just doted all over her. It was like we weren't in the room." Amber said. "Right then we knew he was the one."

That was probably five or six years ago.

"He goes above and beyond for us and for our pets," she said, noting that he takes them outside to play, he travels back and forth from work, even at lunch time, to ensure they are let out during the day, he comes between meetings, and so on.

"We have hired him to stay long-term up to 10 days and as little as just asking him to come by to let them out if we are going to be out of town longer than a time frame we feel they should be left alone," Amber said.

"When he has done that, he always offers to stay a couple hours to give them company, feed them, walk them, and play with them -- even in the rain when they are being stubborn!" she said.

"He even sends us pictures of them while we are away, which we love," she said.

Union resident Sarah Reynolds, another client, said Jackson's low-key attitude won over her two dogs -- a German shepherd named Cushla and Rosie, a cockapoo.

She said Cushla is a bit high-strung and usually barks when first meeting new people, but  Jackson was never intimidated, and they became friends pretty quickly. And Rosie was skittish when she first met him, but was eventually lured in with treats after approaching and backing away a number of times.

"Danny knew what questions to ask about the dogs, and was as concerned to make sure Cushla would let him in without us there as we were," Reynolds said, explaining that after he had visited a couple of times, she and her spouse, Maureen Rubano, set up a time when they would be out for Jackson to come over, enter the house with a spare key and spend a few minutes with the dogs.

"He got in without a problem, let both dogs go outside for a while, and we knew everything would go fine while we were away," she said.

Reynolds said that although the dogs love people, they don't get along with each other, which presented an extra challenge for Jackson. He had to keep the two dogs separate at all times -- via a fenced yard behind the house for Cushla, and Rosie was let out the front door. When they're both inside, she said, one has to be secured in a room or a crate while the other is loose in the house.

"This presented no problem for Danny," she said, and neither did having to apply treatment and oral medication to Rosie for a skin rash.

She said when planning a trip to Moosehead Lake for this fall, they called Jackson, but his schedule was full during the time they wanted to go, so they changed the dates of their trip so he could take care of the dogs.

"Our vacations are based on when Danny is free," she said, half-joking.

"We are so pleased to have found someone we trust, who not only takes good care of our dogs, but also seems to like and enjoy them," she said.

"I honestly cannot say enough good about Danny and the love he provides to our fur babies," Reynolds said.

The Dog Whisperer can be contacted at crabbyclam@hotmail.com.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext.. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.

Sadie gets a little rambunctious with pet-sitter Danny Jackson while brother Bailey pretends to behave. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Not sure who's winning over whose heart here, Sadie or Danny Jackson, while brother Bailey poses for the camera. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Aug 23, 2019 14:15

Great story. I just love dogs!

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