Monday, January 21, 2013

Animals and the decision-making process

2013 will be another year of great change in our household. My youngest child will graduate from high school and go away to college. My oldest child is hoping to land a summer internship with a non-profit he greatly admires - in Florida. And opportunities present themselves, if we are paying enough attention to see them.

I am a planner, sometimes too much so. Maybe I spent too much time in crisis communications, considering the "what ifs" and working out plans accordingly. Whatever it is, I look ahead, consider the possibilities and work out possible scenarios to proceed. Talk about not living in the present! It is a trait I'm trying to work on, as it really isn't necessary to worry quite so much about what could happen instead of focusing on what is happening. Right. This. Very. Moment.

One aspect that I don't think is over-thinking is planning for my animals. If I do this or that, how will it affect them or how will I ensure their health and comfort. I realized this morning (as I spent leisurely extra time in bed - yes!) that I rarely plan without taking them into account.

For instance, if I want to go out to a dinner or show, I need to feed the dogs early enough for them to have time to go out to "take care of business." And I cannot be gone so long that they will have spent too long crated or without going out.

If I work away from town, I need to plan to be back and home at about the same time or I need to arrange for someone to come in to allow the dogs a potty break and to stretch their legs.

When I used to have someone clean the house, it had to be a person who wasn't afraid of dogs and who could work around crates with dogs in them.

Travel? Hmm, that usually means taking at least one dog with me. In all fairness, I haven't traveled except to attend a dog-related event or activity in several years. If even one dog is kenneled during that time, the vet/kennel has emergency information - for health care and in the event something happens to me and the dogs need to be cared for by others. And the ones who travel with me must have their own food and water. Travel accommodations must cheerfully accept animals and, hopefully, offer safe and plentiful walking areas. I look for restaurants and rest stops that have grass and shade so dogs can be walked.

And my home. When possible, I like to consider how my dogs will live in my house and yard. Is there a secure fence or can it be secured? Is there room in the house for dogs, crates and beds, room to stretch out? If I replace a piece of furniture, is it dog-friendly? That is one reason I may never give up the massive leather sofa that absolutely dominates my living room - it's pretty easy dog-wise.

If I were to choose a new place to live, I would consider walkability, traditional and alternative vet care, community friendliness or acceptance of animals and other, related factors when making my choice of city, town, neighborhoods.

When I look at this, I wonder how others must see me - possibly like the crazy lady who worries too much about her animals. But, you know, I wouldn't change a thing. The pure joy and happiness that greet me each time I walk through my door. Absolutely obedience - nope. Unfailing good behavior - seriously? No. But there is always someone - and some act of willful joy - to make me smile and unwind. Even just a little bit and for a little while.

So, make me feel not quite so alone. Add to my list. Do you consider your animals front and center when making business, career or personal decisions or plans? Give me some examples; I will probably add them to my list. And, while you're at it, tell me where you think the most dog-friendly and dog-savvy places are - for travel, for living, for life with dogs.

1 comment:

  1. I think if you're the kind of person who really truly considers a dog(s) part of your family the planning process and even everyday living has to include them just as much as it has to include children.
    Neither children and dogs cannot take care of themselves. Food cannot be obtained, relief cannot be secured, recreation...well both need to interact with others either human or canine.
    So at the bottom line, PJ, you've got five + kids. Kudos to you for taking such good care of them.