Recently there was a video circulating online, it contained a short clip of a guy confronting 2 maids, who were supposed to be walking their employer’s dog. The intentions of the guy were clear - he was concerned that these dogs were not exercised as they should, instead they were just sitting and chatting throughout. He did receive a lot of negative feedback and I could also see why.
As a dog owner myself who also had a share of experiences with maids in the past, I would like to share some tips and opinions on this matter. I’m not going to go into details on who’s right and wrong, but towards the welfare of dogs and if maids are suitable.
Please note that like many of the articles in Amber Toy Poodle blog, this post shares my personal opinion on this matter, so if anyone can’t accept straightforward views then it is best not to read on.
It is not uncommon for employers in Singapore to have maids taking care of their household dogs, this includes cleaning up their mess, bathing/drying, feeding to even walks.
A number of our client dogs whom we’ve helped trained are actually misunderstood as disobedient, when the real reason is because the owners themselves didn’t spend enough time with their dogs, they’d get frustrated on why they can’t get their dogs to listen. Yet the funny thing is that for those who has a maid around, these dogs actually listens to them instead. A minority of the owners would sometimes even start suspecting if their maids were abusing the dog, claiming this could be the reason for the dog to behave better when with her. Then, there are another type of employers that I’ve noticed, who severely pamper their maids such that they don’t bother to monitor what they do daily, even to the point of providing luxury lifestyle. To be fair, employers like these are those who feel that maids should be treated humanely and pampered, which isn’t wrong. Just that somehow most of these employer that I’ve talked to has some kind of psychological fear that they can’t live without their maid and afraid they would leave someday. I’m not saying that they should not be pampered, but in my opinion a clear line between work and play would be better than blurring between treating them as a buddy, family or even savior.
Usually families like these are the ones that I would be more worried about when it comes to having dog in the household, because a lot of times I would encounter maids that learn to think and behave like a home owner instead of helper, and this type of thinking may result in a higher tendency for them to treat dog care like a chore, especially those that are not animal lovers in nature. This alone in my opinion creates higher chance of neglect and/or abuse. It is very hard for me to explain this using psychological term, but I hope you get where I’m coming from.
Now the main question for most would be, are maids suitable to take care of your dog?
For me it depends on what you mean by “helping”. Are you planning to just have the maid assist on practical stuff like cleaning your dog’s bedding and showering, or up to the point of feeding, walking, playing and medical care.
There’s a big difference here and you need to think through on what it means for you when getting a dog. If you just wish to pat and snuggle with a dog and then leave the “boring” chores to your maid, then a dog may not be suitable at this point of time. Because ultimately, taking care of a dog comes in a full package, just playing with your dog and hugging cannot form any proper relationships, your dog will only treat you as a playing companion and nothing else, it will never respect you. To me, maids should not be assigned daily chores for the dog, instead they should be regard to as a bonus, an extra helping hand to assist when the owners are not free on certain days. Maids should not be given everyday tasks like feeding and walking.
I’ve had 4 maids throughout my life and was given the chance to work with 3 other maids hired by relatives, all 7 maids have different personalities, some are playful, some reserved, some love children and some hates them (lol). Similarly towards animals, there are also those that love animals and those that do not like them. So before you assign dog related tasks to your maid, you may want to find out if they even like animals, or specifically dogs. Don’t straight away ask verbally as I’m sure most would have no choice but to answer yes, do consider bringing your maid out to meet dogs and animals, look at their behavior towards them and watch how they handle different animals and dogs. Then after that you can ask them honestly and assure them that you will not force them to take care of your pet if they do not like to.
For those who happen to employ maids that love animals, congratulations! However once again I would still advice for them to be assigned tasks that are straightforward like basic cleaning, things like walks and training should be the responsibility of the owner, because if anything unfortunate happens, it is not anyone’s fault but yourself. Just make sure you monitor from time to time, abuse are not uncommon and it’s not totally the fault of the maid, a lot of factors contribute to cause a person to behave in this way, sometimes the behavior of the dog can be a major cause too.