As I discussed last week, I started a temp job about 2 1/2 weeks ago. I got the call on Monday, interviewed Tuesday, and started the job Wednesday morning. As new pet owners (we adopted our dog in May) and new residents of the desert, we have few resources to take care of our dog outside the home. Since I hadn’t been working, the pup was never left for more than a few hours at a time, except for one day when we left her at a boarding kennel while we visited San Diego. We’d been practicing leaving her out of her crate, but she learned to jump the baby gate we’d bought. Now we needed a solution for weekdays.
Not only is doggie day care expensive, but our commutes are such that we each have to leave the house before day cares open. So that was not an option even if we wanted to pay for it. We don’t know many people here, so there’s no one whom we trust to enter our home and walk our dog midday. So the night before I started my job (hours after the interview), I headed to Lowe’s for an extra-tall baby gate that didn’t have a pattern that made it easy to climb. This one is metal with bars like a prison cell (sorry, Pierogi), which means she can’t climb it. The bars are also close enough together that she can’t wedge her head in there, which she did when we met her at the pound. The gate gives her access to a bathroom, our spare room (actually the master bedroom–we have my desk, a sofa bed, and an entertainment center in there), and a tiny hallway. Each day we put her crate in there, along with her favorite doggy bed, water, and some snacks. I turn on the radio for some noise (and to drown out any other sounds that might bother her) and let her settle in for the day.
We’re still looking for someone we trust to come walk her midday and give her a little attention. But she’s incredibly well-behaved and has never tried to get on the couch. There’s no white dog hair on the dark upholstery, and the newspaper we put on it to discourage her (dogs hate the crinkle of the newspaper under them) has been unmoved. When I was home, she preferred to sleep all day and disliked going out even for potty breaks, so I don’t feel so bad. Well, maybe I feel a little bad. She likes to have us nearby, even if she’s just sleeping. But right now, she’s only in this situation for three days per week, as I have a half day once per week, and the bf has one weekday off.
The other adjustment for the dog was her walk schedule. Instead of a morning trip to the dog park, I get up early (though not as early as the bf), walk her for 20-30 minutes, then start my day. Whoever gets home first gives her a potty break. Then we have to go to the gym on property, prepare and eat dinner, and walk Pierogi to the dog park. Somehow, that ends up taking up most of our evening. For the first week, we were eating late or eating crap that was easy to prepare–but at least it wasn’t fast food, right? I can only imagine how lost I’d be if I was trying to raise a child. It reminded me of just how difficult it can be for working couples with children. I can’t complain, really. But I do need to work out a better schedule.