a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Work Vs. Puppy

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Work Vs. Puppy

SUMMARY: My puppies vs my career

August 18: A friend, who retired 2 years ago and just got a new puppy, posted on Facebook, "How did we ever get out of the house when we worked and had puppies?"

My first puppy, Amber, I spent the Winter holidays (yes that includes Christmas Day) paper-training her. When I returned to work, I left her confined in the kitchen with a bunch of newspaper in one end of the room. I worked in a secure location managing and running computers and clients (imagine the combinations in that phrase) and I couldn't leave long enough to check on her during my shift.

Amber at 6-8 weeks outside my apartment.

She was mostly good about using the newspapers for the intended purpose. Whew! But I was mistaken to think that a 7-week old puppy couldn't reach anything in the room. Tsk, Amber. And I didn't know nuthin' 'bout cratin' no puppies. 

And even worse at 10 weeks. 😉 After receiving notice at my apartment that pets were not allowed (I did know that, but...), we stayed with my parents and sisters for another couple of months or so while I looked for a place to live, and they'd let her out as needed.

Amber, maybe 4 months, at my parents'. 
Note the newspapers on the floor by the sliding door.
She was pretty good about using them if no one let her out.
But I didn't know enough to put plastic underneath,
and it ruined the color of their sheet flooring.

When I got Boost at three months, I had worked at home almost exclusively for the previous dozen years. Perfect for starting a new puppy, right? A week after I got her, of course I was assigned a contract in Foster City, a commute of somewhere between half an hour and an hour, where the client required that I work on site. Of course. Because that's how the universe works.  

Working full time, and even assuming I ate lunch at my desk instead of taking an official break, that still meant I'd be away from home for nine or ten hours straight.

It was one of those times when good contracts were hard to find, and it really was a good assignment. Other than that.

[TO DO: Do I have photos of her in that small crate?!]

I explained carefully to the client's manager that I had just gotten a new puppy and why I would need access to her. And said I'd be grateful if would it be OK if I brought in her crate and put it under my desk, and that she would stay there except when I took her out for walks. He said he would check with HR, because HR had always said no to that sort of thing, and later, yep, HR said no way. 

So I took her to Foster City in MUTT MVR in her crate, and every morning upon arrival I'd drive around the busy high-rise office park and streets in an area without much extra parking or shade until I found a legal shady spot, leave the car there, and walk into the office as much as 15 minutes away. Then every two or three hours I'd go out to check the shade and usually to walk her around and play with her a bunch. That means: I was essentially taking a half hour to 45 minute break every two or three hours. 

Within three weeks, they gave me permission to work from home.

Working at home, I kept her sometimes in her crate but most often penned up in my office in her x-pen.  Plastic underneath newspapers (I'm capable of learning), although the newspapers didn't stay put with her ministrations. Mostly I was able to get her outside frequently enough for pottying.
Don't ask whether she ever decided to pull the plastic all into a heap inside the x-pen.

Geez she was gorgeous.

I tried leaving her in the kitchen (from where, by the way, she could see me perfectly well) because: No carpets. But she wasn't thrilled about that.

And those are the only puppies I've really had.  Except ... Remington... oh, well, he was about 6 months, so I guess that counts. That's another story.


  1. I've done 2 puppies. I have no recollection of how we potty trained Bonnie. We were in opposite shifts, so that helped. With Katie I was in grad school and home irregular hours, but more than I was when I worked. I don't think I could do a puppy again. But my neighbor just got one and Oliver IS cute.....hmmmm...

    1. That is the completely irritating thing about others' puppies, isn't it. Gets that itch going in the back of your mind...