Perhaps you’re one of the many people who adopted a pet during the pandemic or added to your menagerie. Or maybe you and your existing BFF(s) got closer while you worked from home and you both experience separation anxiety when apart. Now your boss insists on seeing you in the office. WHAT. DO. YOU. DO?
If you’re a pet lover like me, giving up a pet is not an option. And pet guilt can be just as real as parental guilt when we feel like we aren’t being the best pet-parent. According to Rover.com, 93 percent of people felt their mental or physical well-being improved as a result of pets during the pandemic. So, we owe it to our companions to try and find a way to keep them feeling connected.
The COVID-19 pandemic taught us we need to look differently at the way we work and be flexible and adaptable. Additionally (and more recently), we are experiencing a labor shortage, thus, we might have more leverage than in the past when it comes to asking our employers for things that once seemed “out of the box.”
Find out whether your employer will consider any modifications. Some examples include:
- A work-from-home hybrid arrangement, where you spend some days in the office and some days at home.
- Bringing your well-mannered pet to work (if not every day, maybe one to three days per week), even if it’s only on a trial basis.
- An arrangement where your employer helps you pay for or covers the cost of doggie daycare, dog walkers, or pet sitters.
If those options fail, enlist gadgets. There are an increasing number of tech devices to keep us connected with pets. Purchase a webcam with a voice so you can check in and chat with your pets when you’re at work. Check out robotic treat dispensers you can operate from the office.
Connect with your community to help you manage dog walks. There are many folks still working from home. If you’re in a pinch, ask at-home neighbors if they might be interested in checking in on your pets or walking your dog a few times per week.
Note: If you adopted a puppy during the pandemic, it may take some time for them to get used to any changes in routine. The first year of a puppy’s life can be the most challenging for a dog owner. Don’t hesitate to seek professional advice from dog trainers on how to help with acclimation to separation.