Becoming a Single Working Dog Mom
Hello Darlings, A single working dog mom - yours truly! As much as I despise that term, it does categorize me fairy well. It took me a year of coming to terms with that title and not feeling like a complete failure. And after two weeks of dog sitting a second pup recently, I finally came to realize that I've got this. It's a full adjustment having to look after someone outside of myself and they say that a millennial just can’t.
Prior to welcoming Luna into my life, a favourite line from just about everyone was, “Say good- bye to your social life”. I don't blame them when you consider the following facts about my life:
at the time 28 years old
single with no partner or roommate to share daily responsibilities with
working more than 10 hours a day on growing my business
full social life
All signs pointed to a dog being a bad idea. Most people did not understand my need to get “tied down” to a dog. To me it made perfect sense as I planned for it. A puppy was always a part of my 5 year plan; perhaps a topic for another article.
The moment I moved back from Montreal in 2013 I began my search to purchase a place. It took some time to find one, settle in and have it finally feel like a home all the meanwhile, I was working towards maintaining this blog and establishing a work flow for my agency with a great team. All three came with enough setbacks and struggles to overcome. When the time finally felt right and I was settled into what has become my life, I was ready to welcome a puppy.
December of 2016 I brought home a 3 month old French bulldog - Luna. The first six months with a puppy are physically and mentally draining. Without a doubt, having someone to share responsibilities with would make it easier. However not having a partner should not weigh in on this decision for you. I’ve heard many times that I should wait for a man to this or that in my life, but why live your life on someone else’s timeline. Plus, not everything aligns the way you want it to – but definitely not always in the right order. With this decision it's best you focus on what your capabilities are outside of having someone else’s help and seeking approval from others should be the least of your concerns. When things get hard, in my opinion there are certainly no “take-backs”, you cannot return your pet!
I cannot deny a fact that without my parents help and support having Luna would not be possible. She does spent time with them and they have been there every step of the way. As a family we had that understanding ahead of time and I always knew that I had their support when I needed it. So if you're going to need help be sure to plan for it. No surprises because trust me, you will need support and help along the way.
Unfortunately for Luna and I, a month in she developed severe allergies that became life threatening. That is where our nightmare started. First time dog owner handling a sick puppy with no idea what to do. She was scratching herself up to flesh in a frenzy. From weekly vet visits, sleepless nights to even longer days it took us months to find a working solution. Due to it all, Luna suffered from separation anxiety and could not be left alone for extended periods of time. Luckily, my parents also have a dog and leaving Luna in her company was a solution that thankfully worked for everyone. For her and I, it was a lot of going back and forth. In the last 3 months we've finally settled into a normal life where vet visits are not a norm, my place has been allergy proofed and her anxiety levels have subsided.
Looking back on this year, here is what I would suggest for any single working girl looking to get a puppy:
Save up and save up a lot! Aside from paying for her, my vet bills were and still are astronomical. Insurances do not cover a lot of issues such as ours, so please do not depend on them. Neither of our dogs have insurances. Due to their breed’s hereditary health issues, there was not much value in it. I would suggest setting aside 3k to 5k for dog related emergencies. A rainy dog fund.
Find a “second” home. Be realistic with your lifestyle. If you have social demands, be conscious of it. You need to have a person that will offer an alternative home. Luna only stays with my parents and she is as happy there as she is with me. I would not suggest boarding your dog regularly. You need a safe environment with familiar people.
Make your home puppy friendly. Do not blame a puppy for ruining anything, it was your fault for not hiding it. Then it's on you to train them to become their best version. Luna and I just registered for an obedience school.
Chose the breed carefully. When you decide on the breed consider your lifestyle. If you’re active and outdoorsy and have time then by all means get an active dog. If you’re busy and not active, get a pup from a toy or non-sporting group. Luna sleeps for hours in her nook in my office.
Educate yourself. Prior to getting a puppy decide on what type of diet you'd like to have your pet on. Luna is on a raw food diet where her meals are delivered weekly. Find a veterinarian prior to bringing the puppy home. Also adjust your schedule to give yourself as much free time as possible the first month.
Despite all the messes she's made, my hate for walking in the rain and her annoying habit to jump into bed in the morning has made for one awesome year! It has taught me a lot about myself and patience. I've had number of meltdowns especially in the last two weeks that I've been caring for two dogs but despite it all, coming home to the excitement is well worth it!