He’s cheating on me

I found out for sure today that he’s cheating on me.

Not my partner –

My dog walker.

 

Now, for those of you who don’t have a dog, imagine that you have someone to whom you entrust your dearest possession. And to whom you give money every single weekday to take care of it. That’s my dog walker.

It would probably not be overstating the fact to say that my dog is up there with my top favourite people (he’s a little person, although not a human person), second only to T (my partner) in my heart. Okay, my family are probably there too, but he’s a dependent and therefore he takes precedence in the needing me stakes. He’s also extremely handy for cuddling (although he has a tendency to go in for the sneaky face lick which you’re sometimes unprepared for). He is the best companion, the cutest and funniest animal, and quite honestly I prefer a night in with him than a night out with most people. I basically love my dog.

So this guy who I’ve trusted to look after Dog pretty much since we got him (about 2 years ago) has previously been slightly unreliable. We even have a saying – “DRAMA!” – which we say to each other when his name pops up on my phone. He often calls or texts with reasons why he can’t walk Dog – usually they’re perfectly decent reasons, although you do tend to wonder why one person could have so much bad luck.

Examples of reasons why he can’t walk Dog – sent through at the last minute:

“I got mugged.”

“My bike got stolen.”

“I got mugged.” (Again)

“My bike got stolen.” (Again)

“I got a piece of glass in my foot.”

“One of the dogs attacked another dog.”

“I lost another client’s dog.” (Alarming)

“I forgot your house keys.”

“Another dog has to go to the vet.”

“My partner’s in hospital.”

“I’m in hospital.”

…the list goes on…

Now, I’m not unsympathetic. Let me start off by saying that I’m very laid back about his commitments to Dog, in that I understand that things happen and dogs aren’t the easiest to manage, so I’m really flexible about the time of day he comes to walk Dog, and if he cancels at the last minute (like he does, often), I think, these things happen.

Dog was one of his first regular clients, when he was starting to get his business off the ground. He’s supposed to walk Dog 5 times a week, Monday to Friday, and I don’t mind when he does it but it’s usually supposed to be in the afternoon for an hour. He has keys to my place and just lets himself in. He has several dogs of his own and clearly loves dogs, and Dog loves him, judging by the amount of tail wagging that goes on when he turns up. When he first started walking Dog, we used to live in a really large development and I recommended him to a bunch of other dog owners, so he got another load of regular jobs out of that too. He even gave me a discount on the daily rate because I’d introduced other people (and, I suspect, because he’d given them a lower rate and didn’t want me to get the hump if I found out).

Over time he’s walked Dog a lot, and he’s also had him for vacation when we go away. Dog gets on well with his dogs. (I’ve seen pictures.) Dog is just a nice easy dog generally and gets on with everyone (except cats, and even then, he’s in more danger than they are). So our dog walker has been paid a not inconsiderable sum most weeks for a really long time. He’s also said to us on occasions when he has to let us down that we are the “nicest clients” – mainly because we don’t complain if he has to cancel. We’re very understanding.

What I don’t understand is: I’ve realised since last week that he seems to have been fleecing us.

An explanation: I work really long hours a lot of the time. I have a job that requires me to be away from home travelling a proportion of the time, which is why I like to have a dog walker as I know at least Dog will get one decent walk a day. When I’m at home, I take Dog out in the morning and we often take him out in the evening, but those tend to be shorter walks generally. T takes him out in the evening sometimes for a longer walk as T tends to be able to get home earlier than I do.

Anyway, I have no way of knowing if the dog walker comes or not. We know if Dog’s lead has been moved or the mail has been brought inside that he must have been, as nobody else has access to our place. However if nothing has moved then we don’t know if Dog has gone out or not. A few times we have thought perhaps he hasn’t, because he might be quite excitable when we get home or (TMI alert) he will need to go do his business, or will have done his business inside.

But we just kind of figured that he was coming and taking Dog out. I mean, we pay him to do that so why wouldn’t he? If he didn’t, that would be fraud, right?

So a few times lately I’ve had the chance to work from home. Mainly because I’ve had such chronic hayfever. A lot of the time I’ll text the dog walker and tell him if I’m working from home, so he doesn’t need to come as I can take Dog out. But last week, since I was staying inside trying to avoid allergies, I didn’t text him because I still wanted Dog to go for a walk.

I was in all day from the time T left to go to work, early in the morning, until the evening.

Nothing.

I didn’t go out once – not even to go to the shops.

No dog walker. Poor Dog didn’t get a walk all day. (He’s actually okay, as he’s not one of those dogs who needs a long walk… but I consider it my duty to provide him with an interesting life, and it’s less interesting if he’s just lounging around with me all day whilst I work. Dog is not a fan of conference calls.)

I mentioned this to T and we thought there were a few times when we weren’t sure if he’d come to take Dog out. I mean, we are often both not in all day so we wouldn’t know. Even when I am in, and he comes by – he usually comes up with a reason (a one off, allegedly) why he can’t do a full hour today. So I’m not even sure if he ever does an hour, which is what I’m paying him to do.

So last week I texted the dog walker and asked him how many days I owed him for (I do it all the time as I lose track because I travel etc) and he came back to me and he included the day that I knew he hadn’t taken Dog out.

Dishonest.

But perhaps it was an “honest” mistake?

So we set a trap…

Today I decided to work from home as I had something I needed to work on all day without interruption, and didn’t need to be in the office. Again I didn’t text the dog walker. He had already confirmed last week he would be walking Dog all week (ie Monday to Friday).

Today: Nada. Zip. Zilch. Nowt.

I’ve been sitting in with Dog all day and he didn’t turn up.

He didn’t even text me or call me to make an excuse. It’s like he’s given up making excuses (see large list up top) and now moved onto the I’ll just pretend I went and walked Dog and see if she says anything. Like other times when I’ve been working from home and he hasn’t turned up by 16:00 or something, I text him and ask him if he can make it, and then he makes some sort of excuse to say he is running late.

But today, since I gave up checking on him… He is making out like he’s coming round to do a service (walk Dog) and claiming money from us, which is a significant amount of our monthly expenditure, and he isn’t doing it. 

That is fraud!

Quite frankly I’m gobsmacked because I’ve always thought of him as a really nice guy. He and his partner have gone through a tough time lately (his partner’s business went bankrupt) and so I’ve tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. But when I asked him last week how many days he did, and I gave him the benefit of the doubt and the chance to be honest, he lied.

And today – he hasn’t told me that he didn’t turn up. And I’m sure if I ask him at the end of the week how many days he did, he’ll say 5. (For those of you worried about Dog, I took him out for a long-ish walk this evening. After the dog walker would have come and we’d usually be back from work.)

So I have a moral dilemma… What do I do?

T says I need to terminate the agreement. I’m actually okay with stopping the service because T has promised that he will take Dog out for a longer walk every morning and we can take him out in the evenings as well. It just doesn’t seem worth it to pay someone hundreds of pounds for a service they aren’t doing. It will give us the chance to save some money and spend more time with Dog.

I feel bad just to terminate it without saying anything about how we know he’s been dishonest. But I wouldn’t know what to say. Despite being quite bolshy, I’m not a fan of confrontation. Not in that way, anyway. I’d rather just take it on the chin. The guy also has keys to my house so I’m thinking it’s not a great idea to make an enemy of him. I’d rather end it amicably.

However I also have friends who are using his services on my recommendation. Who’s to say he isn’t fleecing them as well? I don’t know what to do. T says we should tell them. That would mean that the dog walker would likely lose their business, as well as possibly any other business in the large development where we used to live (as everyone talks to each other).

I also don’t want to terminate a source of income to someone at short notice… so I’ll probably have to give a month’s notice or something. I wouldn’t feel right doing it so quickly. But I have to balance that with the fact that he has effectively been stealing from us. I paid the days he said he’d done last week – even though I know that he didn’t do at least one of them! So really I have the right to end the agreement!

So… thought for the day…

Has anything like this happened to you?

What would you do in this situation?

I’m off to snuggle Dog.

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30 comments

  1. thegreatpuddingclubhunt

    OMG that is terrible! I’m thinking just about all those potential poor dogs who should be getting walked and are not getting walked! But I see your point about confrontation. You have to get your keys back! And then at least warn others that he might not be walking them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      I know! I’m sure he’s walking the ones in the complex as there are a few there and they would maybe notice if he didn’t pick up the keys. (I think he picks them up at security rather than keeping them.) I’m so loathe to confront him though! And feel bad for Dog!

      Like

  2. My Perfect Breakdown

    I don’t think you owe him any sort of notice, he’s not doing his job so you shouldn’t continue to pay him. He knew the risks when he chose not to show up, and so I wouldn’t give him notice, and definitely not a month.
    If you can, I’d try to tell him why you are ending the relationship, but I’d be firm in your decision to stop the arrangement. Honestly, if you cannot trust him to show up can you trust him with your dog?? I wouldn’t, no way. I couldn’t imagine anything worse then having something happen to my dog, so if you’ve lost the trust, I’d never let him take my dog again.
    Also, I would tell you friends who use him. If you don’t trust him, they should know why too. Honestly, I’d want to know if I were you friend – that whole my dog is my life thing – just too big of a risk to not tell your friends. I’d be so guilt ridden if something went wrong with one of their dogs. If you tell them, then they can make a choice on what to do about it.
    Anyways, that’s just my two cents.

    Like

    • Nara

      I know… I have discussed it with T and we will have to end it. It all depends how we end it. I am sort of worried about someone having keys to our place and then ending a relationship in a non-amicable (what is the word?! inimical!) way… I think maybe I need to try and get keys back and then speak with him. I’m with you on the dog-is-life thing. On the plus side(?) I do think it is a financial fraud rather than him doing anything harmful to Dog.

      Like

      • Nara

        Yeah… I really want to – but can’t change the locks myself as would need landlord permission. I’ll have to try and get them back first and then address the problem!

        Like

  3. pinksnow78

    Half of me would want to pull him up on his fraudulent behaviour.
    The other half of me says, give notice, saying your circumstances have changed so you are able to walk Dog more (maybe mention working from home more often), get your key back and cut losses.
    Totally irresponsible behaviour from him and gives dog walkers a bad name as most not like that at all.

    Like

    • Nara

      I know… It’s horrible. And he really has always seemed like a genuine and nice (if scatterbrained) guy! I think that’s why we feel so betrayed, because he’s been to our home and we’ve given him a lot of money and considered him a friend (eg he has Dog when we are on hol and that costs quite a lot). So it is just really disappointing.

      Like

  4. katiebird

    Hi, I don’t think I’ve commented here before but I love my pup too so this one hit a little close to home. I wouldn’t give notice, if he’s dishonest you never know what he may be doing for the next 30 days in your home. Also, I would definitely put your friends who use him on alert. I doubt they’ll just fire him but then at least they can monitor his job a little more closely and make the decision for themselves. I’d want to know. Don’t feel bad, he’s dishonest, has sort of stolen money from you, neglected Dog and has cancelled on you last minute countless times. Hope it all works out!

    Like

    • Nara

      Thank you for commenting! You’re right… I mean dogs are members of our family and we wouldn’t leave them with people we don’t trust. I’m going to try and sort it out. I just don’t want to have the conversation! But I know I have to!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Maybe Baby

    So I actually have a unique perspective on this as my career is in detecting fraud. I would 100% terminate your agreement and you have no reason to feel poorly about it. He made a conscious decision and these are his consequences. He will most likely try and pull at your heart strings and give you more excuses as to why you should give him a second chance. I also don’t like confrontation, but doing so can actually possibly bring some good out of the situation. By addressing the issue of his dishonesty you are pointing out something he is doing that is wrong and if he really is a good guy like you thought he was then now he can see how his ways were wrong and he can change moving forward. Fraud is based on intent. Whether or not his intent was malicious or he was unable to fulfill his duties to Dog because of something that truly needed his intention, he still charged you for those services. I would sit down with him and politely tell him his services aren’t needed anymore and ask for your keys back. Once you have them back, let him know the issue at hand. I would warn your friends too. Not only is this man being fraudulent he also has accesses to your friends homes and immoral behavior is a slippery slope. I would definitely be upset and I would encourage you not to be timid in this situation. As uncomfortable as it may be for you it could prevent further crimes from committed. Because his actions are criminal.

    Like

    • Nara

      Thank you! Wow, detecting fraud sounds like fun! (I sort of used to work in a related industry… and I’ve heard some tales!) I think you’re right in everything you say. Only problem is I won’t easily have the opportunity to sit down with him (plus I’d be too scared to have that sort of confrontation) – he just pops in during the day when I’m out (or doesn’t pop in, as the case may be!). So I’d have to intercept him at some point, or do it over the phone. I’m not sure which sounds worse!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maybe Baby

        Yeah neither sounds like a good option! If you won’t be able to get your keys back, I urge you to change the locks. While that might seem like overkill, it will make you feel safer and you won’t have a nagging worry. I’m sorry you are in this situation 😦

        Like

      • Nara

        I can’t change the locks as it isn’t my house – we rent and our landlord is really lax. I had to organise some really important repairs myself! (The stairs collapsed! Landlord didn’t feel this was a priority!) I live in a dodgy area and want to move out – just need to save up money for a deposit. I could save money by not having a dog walker!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Maybe Baby

        Oh wow…I don’t really know what to tell ya! I hope you get it worked out! Hopefully he is just misguided and not really a bad guy at heart 🙂

        Like

      • Nara

        Eek, I know, I really hope so. He doesn’t seem bad / mean. I know he really cares about dogs. I just think he is a bit bad at doing business!

        Like

  6. Recurrentlyhopeful

    How disappointing! I think you should terminate the agreement with him and I don’t think there is any need for a notice period. If you can be brave I would be honest with him about the reasons…you could write him a note if you don’t feel comfortable saying it directly to him. Hope that’s helpful!

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    • Nara

      Thank you! Yes I think you’re right… I’m just worried about him holding our keys to ransom really. He has our spare set of keys which I had to pay quite a lot to get cut separately, as we are tenants and one of the keys is a security key – the whole thing cost about £65 as it wasn’t included in our rental agreement. So I wouldn’t have the right to change the locks and it would be expensive to get any new keys cut, and he’d have access to our locks. It just feels a bit weird to have to confront someone about lying to you.

      Like

  7. Infertile Before 30

    I would end your time with him, get your keys back and warn your friends. It may sound harsh, but is it fair that he has effectively been stealing money from you and neglecting your dog?
    I would most likely confront him once you have your keys back, but I can understand why you wouldn’t want to.

    Like

    • Nara

      Yes! As I mentioned above – I feel like the main priority is to get the keys back. Not sure how I can do that without mentioning why, though! Maybe I just say our circumstances have changed and I can wfh more, and terminate it amicably… and then mention it to him once I have the keys back!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. ashleykyleanderson

    Firstly, my heart pretty much jumped up in my throat when I saw the title of this until I read your explanation!! You scared me! Second, I am so sad for Dog. 😦 I am someone who reeeeally hates confrontation so I don’t blame you at all for not wanting to do it. Everyone else has given some good advice (I definitely second getting your keys back and THEN explaining the situation), so there is nothing I can add but I do hope this works out for you guys. It just sucks that someone would be so dishonest. I also agree that you do not need to give him advanced warning. So sorry this is happening! 😦

    Like

    • Nara

      Haha, yes it was clickbait a bit! 😉 I would like to think that I wouldn’t have that problem with my partner as that would be horrendous!

      Yeah, Dog is okay. He’s just chilling. He’s one of those breeds that is more of a lap dog so doesn’t need a whole lot of exercise, but he does like it. (He’s the most active dog I’ve ever met, but he’s small so he can happily run round the apartment and get some exercise.)

      I’m going to try and get the keys back before exploring any confrontation! It makes me shiver to think about that! It’s just so shocking when it’s someone you trust!

      Like

  9. notabroodychick

    What a story! I can’t believe the cheek of the guy. Can’t you or T work from home and when he turns up to walk the dog (assuming he does of course)… then say you want a word and get the keys back? Proud could text him that you are wfh that day and ask him what time he plans to come over, as then it should make sure he does turn up!

    Was thinking of you today – how did second scan go? Hope all is well…

    Like

    • Nara

      Well – I have an update! I actually ended up working from home today and I told him! I really had to psych myself up to say anything as I felt worried that it would come across bad. So I said we were wanting to stop the dog walking because we are saving up for a house (true) and we agreed that he’d stop at the end of the month, so in a week basically. He said he’d drop the keys in through the letterbox.

      The weird thing was he was really nervous. I had the conversation after he’d brought Dog back from the walk. (I didn’t feel up to it in the beginning!) T said that it was probably as he spent the entire walk going “Sh**, maybe she was working from home yesterday!”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Haha. Well I have spoken with him and agreed he’s going to finish, but I said it was because we are saving money for a house (true). When I get the keys back I’ll decide whether to say something!

      Like

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