Happy Sunday Canna Fam. I have spent the last couple of months traveling through 15 different states with my dog Copper, and I can tell you it has been quite the adventure. I was extremely excited when I saw this topic get chosen for the next blog, as it is something I must practice often in my own crazy life. I believe many of us have experienced, or are currently experiencing, the life of being a pet parent. While some say it does not compare to having a child at all, I would like these same people to try traveling the world with your furry friend (or maybe non furry friend). Traveling with a pet comes with its many challenges, but with three years of practice now under my belt I have come to be pretty okay at it. Somehow Copper has even managed to get himself on the Green Planet website as the mascot, so clearly I maintain my career because I am a pet parent (Thanks Copper). This career, as many others, does not come without its struggles though, and I am constantly wondering if my dog is actually enjoying himself as my copilot along the journey. Wouldn’t a dog prefer stability and a fenced yard he can run around in consistently? Surprisingly enough, I think most pets usually just want to be with US, no matter where that is. Also, I am a little biased in this blog to dog examples because that is what I have, but I am sending love to all you pet owners out there.
For my current career, as most of you probably have seen through my Instagram page, I am almost always on the road traveling to a new place and then sleeping at hotels or Air Bnbs. I have made my passenger seat into Copper’s permanent road bed, and we are in quite the routine. However, life happens and sometimes I fail at being the best pet parent. Recently, I was up training my new hire in Washington, and realized I forgot his dog food. Pet parent of the year award goes to me! I then decided of course to pick up some new treats for him when I was at the store to make up for my poor parenting and guilt, even though he probably had no clue what was going on. This now turned into him being up all night the second night there due to stomach issues from the new rich treats, and ended in him having diarrhea all over my passenger seat on the way home the following day. Now I know that is TMI, but it is also just the plain lovely facts of having your dog around 24/7 and sometimes failing. My point is it is not easy to maintain a career and be a pet parent. You struggle a lot. The best part about it all though, is the fact that your dog will never stop loving you no matter how many times you fuck up. Not to mention, as much as we all wish our animals could talk at times, I am also insanely grateful at times he cannot.
I think one of the best ways to maintain a career while being a pet parent is honestly forgiveness. You have to forgive yourself for not always being able to be around to make them your world. It is amazing how much love we can have for our pets, and for a lot of us, we treat them better than people. I know I am sometimes guilty of that depending on the day and the mood I am in. I think what is most important is making sure when we can be around our pets, that we are present and give them some of the unconditional love that they show to us no matter what. It is also important to remember that ALL pets are different. Some like to go on walks, while some like to lay around. You may have a pet that enjoys playing with their toys, while your friend’s pet just wants to lay around and cuddle. It is important to not get caught up in what we are supposed to be doing as a pet parent, and instead do what you know your animal enjoys. If you are tired after a long ass stressful week at work and you can’t manage to take your dog for the hike you wanted too, forgive yourself for that, and choose something else you know your animal loves that may be a little less overwhelming. It is literally just about being present. Copper throws a fit every single time I leave the house without him. He has gotten extremely used to getting to go everywhere, so if I don’t bring him with me, he acts like it is the end of the world. I tend to forget during this guilt trip he gives me, that animals are not as caught up with time as we are. He will continue to throw a fit every single time I leave, and even if I am back within 30 seconds, he is still as excited if I am gone an hour. I think we put more pressure on ourselves then our animals ever do.
In addition to forgiveness, I think it is also important that we are open to constant growth in our skills as a pet parent. I get better at traveling with Copper every single time we do it, and then I have a major setback where I have to regroup and remind myself that life happens. There are drives where I go 8 hours without stopping because I am tired and know that if I stop I will lose all momentum, and at the end of the day that may be insanely selfish when being a pet parent. Copper seems to handle it just fine, but I do put my career over him sometimes and I do realize that I need to be okay with that at times, and other times I can do a lot better as a pet mom. Nobody is perfect! We all screw up, we all make selfish decisions, and we all are human. When Copper decided he was going to be sick in the passenger seat the one time I decided to drive my personal Lexus and not the work van, I was definitely not stoked. However, I instantly just felt so terrible that he was feeling that sick and was not able to communicate to me. Having a pet is freaking hard!! Think about how much we struggle in our personal relationships without communication, or a lack there of at times. Your pet is also a relationship in your life, and we have to manage to communicate without them ever talking to us. It is obvious that we would make mistakes sometimes, or maybe interpret their food grunt as their wanting to go outside grunt on accident. The truth is, it is okay if we fail a million times as long as we are loving toward them and give them our time when we have it to give.
If you are one of those pet parents out there who are constantly at the park, or on walks, playing with their toys, and making sure your pet is stoked on life; honestly kudos to you!! Maybe you should write the next blog about where to find the energy to do all of that LOL. In all seriousness though, I think that all the pet parents out there who are also trying to maintain a career should pause and pat themselves, and their pets, on the back. You guys are doing just fine. Take a day next week to really connect with your pet and fill their cup and enjoy every moment. When you return to your career, do not beat yourself up with guilt over what your pet could possibly be feeling about you, because I guarantee it is unconditional love as always. We as humans are blessed to have animals in our lives. Take advantage of the energy your pet can provide on a completely different level than humans can. We do not get to have them around for forever, so just make sure you are spending some time taking it all in and letting them know how much we love them in return, and forgive yourself for all of the other times.
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