Todays’ WSJ has a front page piece on pet-time-sharing. Pros, cons, case studies. Hey there Journal– we did that for six years with our greyhound Gracie. In the vast pantheon of work-family-pet survival solutions, this was one of the winningest endeavors yet. In fact, during this sharing period, my visiting pal Claudia was surprised one day when Gracie was brought into the house by a stranger, after a full day of walks and dedicated pampering. Claudia said, “That’s when I knew you had it all figured out Jules. You outsourced your pet!”
Not so simple, but not exactly false either. Long story short. When we moved to Ireland in 2001 we couldn’t take Gracie. She would have had to be quarantined for six months in a nasty kennel at the Dublin airport (Ireland has no rabies). As a rescue dog, we were advised it would break her gentle spirit to go back to the clinker. So I put a “Gracie needs a home for a year” poster up in the local dog walking woods. Retirees Paula and Byron called…they kinda knew Gracie and were looking for a second greyhound as company to their Angie.
One year in Ireland morphed into four, with us borrowing Gracie back for a few weeks each summer. Upon return, our dog sharing partners had had Gracie for more years than we did, and we knew we had to gently propose some kind of joint custody. It worked out beautifully…we had her for nights and they had her during the workday when our house was empty. Paula and Byron knew loads more about animals than we did, and Gracie was happy as a clam with her two-household life. She had a dog companion during the day, and three boys to keep things lively at night.
Anyway, at this point I could deliver a PhD level course on work and family (and pets) management. (On rough days I think I really, really need to take that course.) But now we have two new rescue greyhounds and we badly need a new sharing arrangement. I can’t understand why more people don’t do this…or why the heck I didn’t set one up before bringing these two dogs home to our busy household a few months back! (My half-baked solution was going to be bringing Stud and Gigi–they came labelled with those dumb names– to the office…before I learned my partner Jim is allergic to dogs.)
Anyway, leave it to the Journal to report on a “trend” that is not exactly breaking news. But if it advances the dog-sharing cause, I am all for it. Any takers?