Finding Focus and Simplicity

Schedule A Meet & Greet

Julia with one of my most special boys, Jax. (Good luck on your upcoming surgery, Jax! I love you!)

Before I jump into February’s blog post, I gotta tell you how much I loved last month.

Rover-Time got LLC’d (Ahem, don’t hesitate to call us “Rover-Time Dog Walking & Pet Sitting, LLC folks)! Mark & I took a bunch of time off from the boarding business to recoup from the busy holidays and hit the road to Austin for a few, and I actually had quality time with my best friend. Over the same trip, I brunched with old clients that relocated to San Antonio and had the best time hanging with two all-star dogs that influenced my decision to open my own small business: Spencer & Christopher. Mark & I saw The Darkness live. Again. With 100,000 less people than you’ll see in this video (what is wrong with Chicago?). I had a lot of fun meeting new friends at One Tail at a Time’s first Associate Board meeting. And finally, I hosted my second Rover-Time meetup and it was super fun hanging out with some of my favorite people with their wonderful dogs!

When you have a great month, one must celebrate!

Moving on…

Many of you regulars know that my contribution to the monthly newsletter and Rover-Time’s blog is all about its readers growing a personal relationship with this business and me, the owner. But in the last year, a lot of wonderful people have hopped onto the mailing list (welcome guys!) so I thought it was worth mentioning again.

One of my goals last year for this blog was to provide an honest look at my experience beginning a start-up. And to set the blog apart from some of the others out there; I liked throwing in personal stories of how I came to know what I know, what I want to know more of, why I do what I do, and how I came to care.

But the blog will continue to change the older Rover-Time becomes. This year I have goals to significantly improve blog content. I also want to bring the lessons learned last year and incorporate them into what’s ahead. I think “focus” and “simplicity” will be my theme (or mantra) for 2013.

And of course I want to discuss my dog Chauncey, that tiny mystery.

So what’s on my editorial calendar you ask?

I want to write a series of posts sharing my perspectives on first time pet ownership. I think you’ll also get a touch more of my best practices in dealing with the common problems we all face as pet guardians. And I’d like to throw in a few more stories from our really busy house, sort of unfold what it’s actually like to run a boarding business in the same place you live.

If you follow Rover-Time on Twitter, you’ll quickly discover my love of inspirational or empowering quotes. I’m going to close with one that I jotted down on the same day I set the date for Rover-Time’s next meetup.

“Community will form naturally and organically when you share common experiences and passions.”

In the comments below, I want to hear from YOU. No crickets this month! Let’s talk.

What do you struggle with as a dog owner? What sorts of joys and challenges do you face?

What sort of advice have you held closest from your adoption counselor or breeder? Your trainer? Your pet-owning friends and family? Or me?

And what do you want to see more of on Rover-Time’s blog? Remember, this is a caring space, but constructive criticism helps!


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Comments (11)

crissi zito

I struggle every week w/leaving Lila (even though her care/comfort is unsurpassed) biggest joy is coming home to a happy, tail-wagging dog and I am thankful that no matter what my travel schedule is, she loves me no matter what. I try to make it a point to walk her every day I am least for an hour!!! I feel like that is our special time together. I wish she could talk, I just wonder if she knows how much I love her and think about her needs :)...

Sarah K.

Like Crissi, I struggle with a busy travel schedule and arranging the right care while I'm away. Though I'm lucky to have such a wonderful partner to help, her work schedule includes very long days. Thankfully we have a flexible dog walker who pitches in, even on very short notice. I only wish she did over night care so we could get some weekends away... It's been extremely hard in San Antonio to find good over night care. So many places only take small dogs and in-home care takers only stay from about 8 pm to 7 am. What do you do the rest of the day?? One of the greatest joys I have as a pet owner is the friendship and respect each shows for the others. It melts my heart when I find a pile of snuggling pets, including the cats! The sweetest is how much my cat, Dora, love my 90 lb dog, Christopher. She tucks herself right under his chin and rubs her head on his head. It's enough to make you smile the entire day (and take way too many pictures) :-) Advice.... bringing a new animal into your home requires patience and attention. You probably won't fall in love with your new friend over night. It's like any other relationship in life. There will come a day though when you do feel your heart bursting at the seams. There's not many things in life better than loving an animal. Advice for dog owners or potential dog owners.... a tired dog is the best dog. If you aren't willing to give your pet enough exercise, don't get a dog! Those who already have a dog, take note. One of the biggest reasons for behavioral issues is that your dog is bored and just not tired. Get out there and walk, run, mush, throw a ball, swim, whatever. It's worth it when you can actually put your feet up at night and NOT get annoyed by a dog still begging for attention.

Cherie Getchell

Struggle: I loathe leaving Munches alone during the day, but I've realized that might be because I impress upon him the environment that I would find distressing or joyful. Now that my husband is home with him, I feel better that he has someone who loves him as much as I do with him 100% of the time but, it might make the inevitable change of leaving him alone again even harder. Perhaps, though, that again is the projection of my personal feelings, because I know it will be harder for me (though with Julia and her time, not nearly as hard as it used to be!). I struggle with this inconsistency and the message it sends to him. He seems so familiar with our patterns during the week that I hate to confuse him.

Katie Grace

I recently adopted my first pet, Sugar, who is a 5 year old Pit Bull mix. She is a "mystery history" dog, so we don't know much about her background. Over the past 6 months of having her, I have grown to love her extremely calm, loving nature. She loves people, cats, kids and she is an excellent traveler. However, she is dog aggressive. She approaches another dog with a wagging tail. But as soon as the greeting/smelling begins, her hair raises and then she attacks the other dog. Any advice to break her of this would be much appreciated.


My partner and I are nearing our one-year anniversary of adopting Ava (Saturday in fact!) Our first year of having a dog can be summed up with: it's absolutely nothing that we expected. And, it's harder (but maybe even better?) than we thought. I remember going into Chicago Canine Rescue and saying that as first time dog owners, we needed an "easy" adult dog (also one that got along with cats.) We saw Ava and she was quiet, already knew all kinds of tricks, had a great disposition - we thought JACKPOT! She's a border collie mix and so we read enough to know she was smart and would want lots of exercise. We envisioned taking her to Montrose Dog Beach and meeting new people through fun doggy play dates. We knew we would want to train her so that we could have her off-leash in big parks where all it would take was a solid recall cue to get her to run our direction. And of course, we envisioned her snuggling up with our cats - everyone being the best of friends after some thoughtful training and cautious introductions. When we got her home, we noticed she got really really worked up around other dogs. And she seemed overly interested in the cats. We started working with a trainer right away - and we all thought that maybe she was just super excited and really wanted to meet other dogs. Turns out, she's terrified of other dogs and wants to flee or if she feels she has no choice lunge and act aggressively toward other dogs. We quickly realized that we had a reactive dog, a dog with issues, a dog that might need medication, and we felt way way way out of our league. Forget the dog parks, the doggie play dates, and definitely forget having her off leash. Also, forget having her interact with the cats. One year later and they are still completely separated at all times. Our trainer at the time, herself a parent to a reactive dog had to endure many long, long emails from me - wondering if we could really do this, what we were doing wrong, how could we make all this better faster? And by the way is there a place we can send her away to where she could come back "all fixed"? But around 6 months into our new adventure with Ava something changed - we did. We finally were able to let go of the expectations of what having a dog would/should be like. We also, while still sometimes feeling a pang of jealousy at the supposedly "perfect dogs" we saw on walks, could mostly let go of the constant comparing of Ava's behavior to other dogs. In the end, we adjusted. Ava is really a perfect dog in the house - she has never chewed on anything other than a toy or a bone, she loves people and kids and while she's sometimes wary of men, she adjusts pretty quickly and is happiest with a full house of people. Her focus when we're training is amazing and she's very food motivated so it makes training much easier. And now, after 12 weeks of classes specifically designed for reactive dogs and lots of training and reading later, Ava can be closer to another dog than she ever has been - and she can hold it together. She can do some loose leash walking and she can walk away from situations when she's getting uncomfortable. But most of all - WE now have the skills to face all kinds of situations in the outside world and we have a happy relationship with our dog. Our job and our commitment to her is to keep her safe and happy and fed. And also to keep working. We have only trained Ava with positive reinforcement/clicker training - so every time we see a dog now, it's an opportunity for her to see other dogs as a good thing (specifically "OTHER DOGS EQUAL AWESOME FOOD AND GOOD THINGS!) Everyone will tell you it's a lot of work to have a dog. We honestly had no idea how much. But she's totally worth it - and she's taught us so much already, not just about how to have a dog, but how to be better humans too.

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