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Many people are getting pets now they’re working from home. Humane societies around Canada have seen the adoption rates go up in 2020, with the pandemic partly mentioned as the reason.
But should you get a pet while you’re working from home?
We have two dogs, both of which I look after the majority of the time. And it is hard work when working from home. Here are some of the considerations to make before you choose to get a pet.
How long are you working from home?
Is this something you’re doing permanently? Will you eventually go back to the office?
Many people have got puppies while they’re working from home because they’re around more. Those who are home alone got pets to help with the solitary life. But what about when things start to go to normal?
What will you do when you have to go back to work? An animal shouldn’t be left alone for hours at a time. It’s just not fair on them. Remember how you felt home alone for hours on end? Guess how they feel! Some breeds of dogs suffer from separation anxiety more than others.
Doggy day care or pet sitters are an option. Are you willing to spend that money? If not, then you should rethink pet options.
If you are working from home for the foreseeable with the option of remaining from home in the future, then owning a pet could be for you.
Are you willing to put in the hours of training?
Whether you get a pet from a shelter or you buy a puppy/kitten/something from a pet store, you’re going to need to train that pet. That’s at least the case for a dog.
Are you willing to put the effort into training your pet?
It takes a lot of work. My two huskies are extremely smart, but they’re also extremely stubborn. They know what they’re supposed to do, but they enter a battle of wills with me at times because they want to see how far they can push things. Will I give in before them?
Sometimes, their prey drive takes over. Or they’re just too excited to listen to me. This is something I’m working on with both of them. But it takes time. It takes A LOT of effort.
I’m willing to put that effort in. In fact, I’m far more stubborn than the both of them put together, they just haven’t realized that yet. But not everyone is willing to put that effort in.
Do you have the patience for them?
It’s not just about the willingness to train, but also having the patience. While you’re working from home, you want to get focused on the job. But pets will need your attention.
Dogs will nudge you for attention and to go out to pee. Cats like to crawl across the keyboard. Do you have the patience to deal with that?
And what about if that happens on client calls? Can you put your microphone on mute while you calm the dogs down or will you get flustered? Will your boss say something for the dogs howling in the background or the cat appearing on your screen?
Of course, your boss shouldn’t matter. Not really. It’s not up to your boss if you have a pet or not. But if you don’t have the willingness and patience to train and work with your animals, it’s probably not a good idea to have one in the house anyway.
If you don’t have the time but want a pet, there are some that you don’t need to train. Fish, reptiles, and spiders can be lower-maintenance options.
What will happen if you lose your job?
Pets are expensive. Even if you’re working from home right now, you may not have that job forever. There is still a chance you could lose that job.
What are you going to do then?
Of course, most people will answer “find another job.” Yes, but what are you going to do for your animals while you find another job.
They need feeding, and they can need emergency vet care.
You need to make sure you can have an emergency fund for them. And you’ll need to decide if you’re getting pet insurance for them or putting all that money you would have spent into a fund instead.
Are you willing and able to go outside?
Not everyone is able to give a pet the exercise it needs. My two huskies need to be out for at least an hour throughout the day. I usually split that up in two outings, which is working well for them.
Some huskies will need more time out. Some dog breeds need more or less time. Then there’s the age and temperment of the dog to consider.
And that’s just dogs. What about cats? They can need some time walking outside depending on the breed of cat.
Do you have that time and ability? I’m my own boss. I set my hours. I get to say when I’m going out and when I’m not. But not everyone working from home has that opportunity.
If you don’t have the time or ability, that doesn’t mean a pet isn’t for you. Look for one that doesn’t need that type of attention and time outside.
My biggest concern when people get pets as they have started working from home is what will happen when they physically go back to work. A puppy is for life, not just for lockdown.
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