Work/(Puppy) Life Balance

As any dog owner will tell you, the first few weeks are the hardest.  This year, two of my coworkers in other offices adopted rescue dogs – Bella in Philadelphia and Yoda in Sebastopol.  Since both are acclimating to their new lives, it’s important for them to spend as much time as possible with their owners to reinforce good behaviors.  Luckily, our company is extremely dog-friendly, and they can come to work every day with their moms.  Unfortunately, this is not the case for most people.

So what happens if you don’t have the option of bringing your new furry friend to work with you?

Daycare

Doggy daycare has become increasingly popular among working dog-owners, and I have several friends who swear by it.  Dogs can stay physically active during the day, and also learn how to socialize and play well with others.  Many daycares offer training and boarding, and some even have cameras set up for you to see what’s going on (think Big Brother for canines).  Websites like Thumbtack can help you find good local options based on price and customer ratings, while BringFido provides a list of daycares worldwide that makes traveling with your pet much easier.

Walking Services

A more affordable option to full-time doggy daycare is using a third-party service like Wag! or Rover.  This is perfect for large dogs that require more frequent exercise or someone who needs help in a pinch.  Their mobile apps allow owners to schedule on-demand walks (“Uber for Dogs”) for varying lengths of time, as well as recurring walks with the same person for consistency.  Owners simply put a lockbox on their doorknob to allow dog walkers access to their apartment when they’re not home.

Pet Leave

In 2017, Millennials became the largest pet-owning generation in the U.S., so companies looking to attract younger employees have started offering benefits specifically geared towards dog owners like on-site daycare, dog parks, and pet insurance, to name a few.  Several companies have taken it a step further by offering “Furternity Leave” (also known as “Pawternity Leave”) for new owners.  A marketing firm in Minnesota allows employees to work remotely for a week following an adoption, while a data company based in New York City offers two weeks of paid time off when you adopt a rescue dog.

Adopting a dog is a big financial undertaking, so it’s important to strike a careful balance between being a good owner and a reliable employee.  You shouldn’t have to put your job security at risk or sacrifice your income stream just because your furry friend has separation anxiety or refuses to potty-train (a nightmare, I can assure you).  Consider signing up for doggy daycare or enlisting a dog walker.  I also recommend talking to your boss or HR department to find out how your company can help you during this important time.  If you aren’t able to get assistance from your employer, and can’t afford daycare or a dog-walking service, maybe it’s time to consider a career change.  Here are the 30 Most Pet-Friendly Companies in the United States as of June 2018, according to Best Life.

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