Working at Home With Pets
© Kay King
For an animal lover, working at home can have unusual challenges. For instance, I seldom work on the computer without one cat on my lap and another straddling the back of my chair.
There is CJ, who has her own basket on a shelf next to my desk. This quiet little yellow cat is in love with my printer --her mission in life is to sit right in front of the printer, duck her head down to make sure the "blue lights" are there as the page prints and then closely watch the paper emerge. She never bothers the printer.... just watches it very closely.
I share my home and my home office with 3 dogs and multiple cats. All are "rescues" and they get along together quite well for the most part.
Unless, of course, I am right in the middle of editing a website....or writing a letter to my team.....or doing anything else that requires some concentration. That is when I'm "informed" by loud barking that the water dish is empty....or that someone needs to go out....or needs to come in.
It has occurred to me that my pets may be betting on which one can distract me the quickest....or most often....when I'm working.
I've learned to take the time to "prepare" my menagerie before I sit down to do any serious time-consuming work. Check the cat food bowls to make sure there is at least a tidbit or two in them... go outside with the dogs for a few minutes and play a bit....make sure the water dishes are not empty....etc.
Taking a few minutes to give some playtime and petting, pass out a few treats or take a quick walk. Just as work at home parents wait till naptime to find a little "concentration time"....I try to wear out the menagerie so that it's naptime at "the zoo" (also known as "my house").
I dig some folders from a file drawer, sit down at my desk to work. Schwartz the cat settles in front of the TV in the office to watch the pictures....CJ settles near the printer just in case. Babee is on my lap and Sorra is beside me on my chair. Fordie and Tinkakink are on the cat-napper shelf mounted below the window. Pookie, Wabbit and Mitsit-man have no interest in work of any kind anywhere. They are, as usual, asleep on the porch.
The dogs come in only after they are certain I've settled into work for a while. Wrex, at 135 lbs, takes first pick of the available floor space in the office and Gretta, a female German Shephard lays in the doorway.
Then comes Doodah, a terrier mix who will do whatever necessary (or what he can get by with) to get as close to my feet as possible.
And I go to work for a while. The dogs keep me from being a workaholic. When it's play time or go-out time, they are impossible to ignore. The first warning is when Wrex starts "muttering" very quietly. "Muttering" quickly evolves into "mumbling" which is the signal for the other dogs to wake up and want "something"....even if just a minute or two of petting.
I've read about people who work in their pajamas....or their cut-offs, and about those who do their best work at late night hours. I find it comforting to work with a fur-face resting on my foot and a purr-ball on my lap.
This article is dedicated to
Sheba, a chow-lab with a gentle soul and my friend for 16 years
Gretta, a lovely lady, best friend of my cats for 12 years
Wrex, 140 lbs of lap dog and devoted companion for 12 years
Kay King is the owner of