Updated: Jun 5, 2019
How have you handled unwanted encounters with other people's family pets?
Being a mobile notary for the past five (5) years, I have had my fair share of run-ins with family pets. Some were very pleasant, while others were not. This is because, like most notaries, I travel to a signer's home to notarize their documents. Before I agree to accept any appointment, I always ask them 3 things; First, do you have valid I.D.; Second, how will you be paying; and third, do you have any pets? I'm sure you're thinking, "Hmmm. Pam, that's weird. Why do you need to know if they have pets?"
Personal safety. Did you know that there were over 4.5 million dog bites reported per year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between 2001 - 2003? I'm sure there are many bites that go unreported, so, this number may actually be quite higher in 2019. I personally love dogs, and consider myself to be a dog person, but, when you have bad owners, then, you can expect bad pets.
Thinking back to my experience as a brand new notary, I didn't have a check-list, and I certainly didn't ask about family pets. I didn't think it was necessary to ask about pets because I believed people just knew better. Well, one fateful day, I was hired for a loan signing that I will never forget.
I took the call, confirmed the address, printed the documents, and headed to meet the client. Big mistake! I walked up to the door, rang the bell, and heard several dogs barking. I didn't panic, because I assumed that the dogs were possibly in kennels, or were in the back yard. Well, I learned first hand that I was wrong. The signer let me in, shook my hand, and I was suddenly surrounded by a heard of ankle-bitters! One of the little jerks even had the nerve to bite me on the back of my boot! Luckily, I was not injured, but, I learned a very valuable lesson that day: Always ask if they have pets before you even start your car!
I also learned that some people are not very considerate, when it comes to their pets meeting new people. I was invited to their home to conduct business, and was attacked by a miniature dog demon for my trouble. The owner apologized and immediately put the dogs outside. My question is: "Why not just do that in the first place?" Perhaps they just allow that kind of freedom, and didn't even think about it. As a professional, I now know that preventative measures are the best way to avoid any unnecessary problems with your client or their pets.
What did we learn? Always ask about pets! Don't get me wrong, I have met some lovely pets that were very friendly, loving, and welcoming. They made me feel like I was apart of the family. You just never know what you can expect. I spoke to a fellow notary the other day that unfortunately endured a dog bite and required medical attention! That's scary and can be traumatizing for people. As a courtesy to yourself, do your best to find out if pets are in the home, and when you arrive, make sure you feel safe before sitting down. To potential notary clients, please be courteous to the idea of putting your pets away before inviting new people to your home.
Hopefully you found some humor in this post. Feel free to leave a comment below and share your stories.
This blog was written by Pamala Brooks, Notary Public for the State of California, since Dec. 2013. Pamala is also a paralegal and entrepreneur.
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