The last year has been a whirlwind. I can’t believe it’s already July and I’ve been with Integrate Public Relations for a year now. In the past year I’ve come to realize that, outside of adapting to a new city and a new job, one of the biggest adjustments has been learning to be a good pet owner with a full time job.
This is my dog, Harper.
I found her on a street in downtown San Antonio back in college, and she stole my heart right then and there. She’s also a little over a year old now, and it’s been challenging trying to figure out how to manage having a dog and having a job, without spending gobs of money.
If you’re like me, or some of the other IntegratePR team members, you’re a little (over) attached to your pup, and leaving them alone all day tears you apart, but sometimes that’s just what it comes down to when doggie day care starts to add up, your roommate works strange hours and you don’t have family members in town. I’m here to share my tips on having a puppy in a big city, with a busy job.
1. Leave food in the cage
- This keeps her from inhaling her food in the morning and curbs her boredom throughout the day. Also, it encourages her to hold it if she has to go to the bathroom, since there is a food bowl in her cage. This may not work for all dogs, but Harper doesn’t feel rushed to eat her food – she can “snack” during the day.
2. Make some room
- Harper is not the most disciplined of dogs, and likes to chew on things made out of wood, including blinds and stair corners, so I can’t quite trust her on her own yet. I’ve started putting her cage in a smaller room with a window, like the bathroom, and leaving the door open so she has a little more freedom and space to play, without destroying anything (so far). I’ll also leave her toys to fight boredom and a treat so she knows she isn’t being punished.
3. Have a friend
- I don’t love the idea of a dog walker, but I do have a trusted friend with a more flexible schedule who can swing by and let the pooch out if I have a meeting that runs late in the evening. I also have a couple of family friends in town whose kids want a fun way to make a few extra bucks in the summer!
4. Take advantage of weekends
- I take full advantage of my weekends to be sure Harper knows she’s loved and gets PLENTY of exercise and social time. We go to the dog park at least once a weekend, and we go for short runs in the mornings. I also try to take her with me everywhere I go, from brunch to the beach. A big weekend will keep her tired through Monday.
5. Rise and Shine
- I have a backyard, but no doggie door, and it gets too hot here to have her stay outside. So, Harper gets a walk every morning to get out her extra energy. As soon as I get home, it’s back outside for at least 30 minutes for a walk and play. I’ll usually take her for another stroll before bed to make sure she’s getting enough exercise.
Dogs truly are members of the family, and a huge responsibility. With an office of dog-lovers, we’ve been lucky enough to celebrate Bring Your Dog to Work Day for the last couple of years. It can be challenging and stressful to have a dog with a full time job, but there are ways to make it work and keep your pup happy!
Written by: Allison Huseman