A woman who used to work for a popular dog-walking application has cut ties with the business after a bad experience with a client.
Ashlynn Means (@ashlynn.means) posted her experience on TikTok, where her clip about her months-long horror story accrued 50,000 views as of Friday.
Means begins her video by not-so-subtly veiling the dog walking application that she works for, which she calls “shmag”— a moniker that sounds very similar to the popular dog walking app “Wag”—and that she’s never had an issue being employed with the service for some six years she’s been working with them.
However, that all changed this past week, she says, after she dealt with a client in the San Francisco, California area she no longer “felt comfortable walking with anymore.”
At first, her relationship with the client sounded like the perfect dog-walking/dog-owner collaboration. The client lived a few blocks away from her in a high-rise 9th-floor apartment complex. Means says that for several months she would visit this person to pick up their golden retriever and take them on their walk. She adds that she was never late, but started noticing “little red flags” after beginning her work relationship with the client.
“For example, he asked me to take a package to the post office for him with payment of course, and flash forward the favors don’t stop,” she says.
Means says that things only got worse after her client started using her personal phone number to reach out to her directly. She says that she thought she would’ve gotten in more trouble with the app if she didn’t “oblige” his every request and whim, so she just thought it was better to perform these random tasks for him.
“That could extend from brushing his dogs while walking them, going to the grocery store for him, going to the post office for him. All off of ‘shmag’s’ time. However, there were starting to become more red flags as the walks continued, he started to become really controlling,” she says. “He blamed me on things going missing like, their collars and leashes. Would text me out of the blue…”
She says that he would contact her and invite her indoors for coffee or blow dry her hair if it “had been raining” outside and after about three months of her completing random tasks for him in addition to walking his dogs, he answered the door “with no clothes on.”
@ashlynn.means from one pesent to another #wag #dogwalkersoftiktok #hr #inappropiate #dogcare #petsitter #girlproblems #menarescary #scary #storytime #scarystories #sanfrancisco #disrespectful #malekaren #karen #daren #abuse #abuseawareness #victimblaming #wagwalker #rover #roverwalker #fyp ♬ original sound – Ashlyn Means
“Now, he was standing behind the door, as if that makes it really any better,” she says. “And then that became a regular occurrence. It didn’t happen every time, but it happened quite a few times.”
She says that when it comes to the application, dog walkers can’t pick who they are walking for. Means says that she decided to “turn a blind eye” to the behavior, but that it “just kept on happening” and she couldn’t ignore it any longer. Since he had “no respect for [her] personal boundaries” and she was over dealing with the stress, she says she decided to report him to the dog walking application.
Means wished him “best of luck” to “him and his dogs” and she went ahead and “proceeded to cancel the rest of the walks.”
She says that she felt pretty good about her decision and then “blocked him” on every app she could “think of,” but that the application wanted to know why she decided to cancel.
Representatives from the application allegedly told Means that the “reasons” she was giving them weren’t “good enough” and so she says she decided to just tell them that the “client kept coming to the door with no clothes on and I wanted to get out of that situation.”
According to Means, this was a mistake.
“Shouldn’t have done that,” she says. “That opened up Pandora’s Box. ‘Shmag’ proceeds to call my ex-client and tell them my side of the story, does not give a dang about my personal safety.”
To make matters worse, she says that the reps seemed to accuse her of fabricating her claims.
“‘Shmag’ even goes a step further and says that I don’t have to make up stuff like this just to get out of seeing a client,” she says. “After ‘shmag’ called this client, he turned even more hostile and started to reach out to me on every social platform he could find me on. He found me through once social media platform and sent me a message that said the following.”
She then reads a message that was allegedly sent by the client that insulted her economic status: “Have fun staying a poor peasant. There is a reason I live on the ninth floor and you walk dogs. Trying to take me off the app and then lying to ‘shmag’ so that you don’t get caught for your shady behavior is pathetic. What I wear or do behind a literal, physical boundary, which I blocked your view my property is none of your business. I’m happy to enlighten you further on property laws I don’t think you’ve ever had to deal with them before since you’re so trashy.”
Means says she learned “numerous lessons from this experience” and states that although she is a “people pleaser” she now has boundaries of what she “will and will not do.” She adds that she will no longer work for “shmag” because she doesn’t want to work for a company that casts doubts on employee claims.
One commenter, after hearing Means’ story, suggested that she hit up the authorities to ensure her safety, writing, “Definitely talk to the police. See if a restraining order applies. Stay safe.”
Others said they were shocked at the way the application handled her gripes.
“Wag handed this situation so horribly im really sorry you went through that,” one wrote.
“This is WILD. As a former full time pet care person, this is insane. I’m so sorry,” another penned.
Someone else recommended that she independently come up with agreements between her and her clients from the dog walking application and go into business for herself.
“Grab up your clients and go!” one suggested. “Going independent was the best decision I’ve ever made.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Wag via email and Means via TikTok comment.