New Year, New…

Now since the pandemic is still going strong, it’s been hard coming up with new posts (hence the 2 month hiatus).
Coming into 2021, we were all excited to leave the whirlwind of 2020 behind us. Here we are in week 4 and nothing actually seems different does it? People are still working from home, masks have become our biggest accessory and our cats now more than ever cannot wait to get us out of the house. Until we leave, then of course they act like we’ve abandon them when we come back.
At the end of every year we (or at least I) measure out where we wanted to be vs where we are. We look at our resolutions and try to figure out how to accomplish it in 2 weeks then turn around and set the same resolution for next year.
So here we are, it’s next year. I haven’t rolled any resolutions over but made monthly goals that I look at every day every month. Because you can’t predict what the world is going to throw your direction, you have to be able to take it, handle it and move forward. Let’s see where this year takes us!

My first year…and COVID

Coming into October and going over end of year must do’s, I discovered that I have officially completed my first year! Muddy Paws is officially one year old, 13 months to be exact.
How has it been? To be honest, it’s been terrifying. Putting everything you have into something you have no control over whether it succeeds or fails is absolutely gut wrenching. Would I say I’ve made it? Nope. But we’re getting there.

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COVID’s had its way of pausing life for everyone. When you’re home all day, you don’t necessarily need or want to spend money on a dog walker or need to pay someone to come in and check on your pets in the middle of the day. You can do that yourself, easily. Now we’ve slowly started opening up and people are getting back to the new real world and everything is picking back up for all of us. Whether you work in a studio, cafe, tattoo shop or small business, people are getting more comfortable going out and restarting their lives. So while we’re going out and getting adjusted to this new normal, we need to think about our pets and their new normal. I know my dog has gotten pretty comfortable with her day to day life, she is always ready to jump in the car and head to the trail or chill with my latest read (which right now is Robin by Dave Itzkoff about Robin Williams. I cannot guarantee that you won’t cry while reading this). My cat on the other hand cannot wait until I’m out of the house. They’re also getting their lives back and getting used to this new normal of the masked woman that walks in the door at the end of the day. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, it’s important to let your pets be alone throughout the day so you’re not creating separation anxiety for when/if we get back to normal and head back to 9 to 5 grind. This video was posted in one of my groups and it’s brilliant!
I’ve definitely had my ups and downs and thoughts of “what are you doing?!” Many times I’ve looked to get back into healthcare or starting an administrative position somewhere with the fear of failing in back of my mind. I’ve thought, I’ll do this part time and do “x” part time. Knowing very well, it doesn’t work like that.
Since opening this up I’ve started business classes, which I cannot stress how helpful they have been in the process. I’ve met some great mentors & business owners and have met some amazing, supportive clients. I can honestly say, I have never been happier with my decision to stick it out and am excited to see what this next year brings!

Monday Vibes

Getting back into that Monday groove is hard on its own. Coming back after vacation is especially hard.
In the 45 minutes it’s taken me to get this far I’ve dusted, vacuumed twice, taken my dog out, done the dishes & laundry and made my second cup of coffee. Anything to pull me away from what I should be focussing on. Typical Monday.
I took a few days to escape reality, smokey skies & social media to camp the Hoh (if you haven’t been, I highly recommend it).
Traveling with a pet is extremely challenging. I am one that wants to have my dog with me on every adventure. I miss her when I’m gone, she loves the outdoors and is the perfect camping partner. If I find a spot that doesn’t allow her I tend to change my route, this trip however was an experience I couldn’t pass up.
Reading about the Hoh, in several articles they mention that pets are not allowed. Being in the Hoh, there are dogs literally everywhere. So imagine my disappointment when I had to leave my dog behind only to find out she actually could have come along.
Like most people coming back from a trip, I spent the last few days going through pictures, unpacking, cleaning, catching up on social media & getting back to reality.
One of my favorite pictures was Luna (pictured). While I laid on Ruby Beach, this little love came up and found her spot next to me on my blanket and let me pet her while reading Brave (mostly staring off into the Ocean and napping, but I tried).
You have to be a certain kind of person to be in this line of work. With people you sort of fake it til you make it. Animals read you differently, they sense your character. So when you get a little dog like Luna that can just walk right up to you and make themselves comfortable, you can’t help but get that sense of gratification.
So as I finish this way too many hours later, I’ve come to realize that Mondays aren’t actually that bad. When you do what you love, you don’t dread tomorrow.

That Quarantine Life

Sitting here on day 161 of the “stay home, stay safe” order, I wonder if there is actually an end in site.
I’ve read (and please don’t quote me, I’m no expert in this by any means) that 1) shelters have cleared since quarantine. This is amazing! But, 2) these new quarantine pets are getting so used to their owners being home all day, that when/if this lifts, they’re going to have some serious separation anxiety. I noticed with my own pets when I leave, they look at me like “where do you think you’re going?” I left my dog alone for an hour and a half recently to run errands and came home to an entire loaf of bread being pulled off of the counter and eaten. Checking on a pair of sister dogs last week, I walked into the garbage and recycling cans being pulled out and scattered all throughout the house.
All for the most part, very good dogs. So, how do you socially distant from your pet while needing to be socially distant from the world?
Again, I am not a professional and these are just some things that have worked for me –

  • Read a book (or 7!) – when I was working at the hospital, my commute was my “me time.” As in, this is when I would read, watch a show (or two depending on traffic) and listen to a podcast. This is how I would mentally prepare for the day and mentally unwind at the end of it. Now that I’m not taking that commute I just find a spot outside, at a park, or on my paddle board to unplug and get my read on.
  • Have coffee outside – as weird as it sounds, I’m a sucker for the bundled up on the couch cup of coffee. Pour a cup, or support your local barista and go buy a cup and enjoy the sounds of the city, nature or just silence.
  • Take a walk without your dog – this sounds like a huge nope and I have award time every time I walk somewhere without a leash in my hand. It’s definitely relaxing though to get lost in your own neighborhood and if you have a reactive dog like me, it’s nice to let that guard down for a few minutes. Trust me, your dog will still love you when you get home.

This might sound more like self care, which in a sense it is. You need to be able to do you while helping your dog not make a mess out of your house.
Lastly, what to do when you finally go back into the office? Call me of course! Your pets are getting so used to you being around all day, they’re going to need that midday break to go outside, sniff around and get some exercise.