We all know that face. It’s the one we get when we have to leave the house and we can’t take our furry family members with us even though we want to! I am a huge sufferer of puppy eyes and there’s just no two ways about it. We even have surveillance cameras just so I can be sure she’s not sulking. I am a mess when it comes to this lol but I also know that to give her a good life I have to leave her home sometimes, so I just kind of do my best. The “nanny cam” thing helps and also never forgetting to greet her when I get home! I know over time some dogs will stop getting super crazy excited when we come home but I’ve also heard this is because of us! When we forget to get excited back, because we’re tired, busy or whatever they stop making the effort. Most of us know the PURE joy of a dog that’s that happy to see you, so a goal of mine is to never let that end. When I come home that first 10 (or more) minutes is dedicated to her because I know she is that dedicated to me! The leaving guilt is pretty much unavoidable unfortunately but the other kind of guilt I deal with is lack of exercise. I KNOW the importance of exercise in dogs and I used to be a super star dog mom in this area. I took her to the park EVERY single night for 1-2 hours and swimming for 2 hours straight 4 to 6 times a week! My whole day revolved around her social schedule. I did it because I knew I was only temporarily going to have that kind of time but now that I don’t I feel really horribly about it. The swimming during the day is not something someone with a job can realistically do but the park is and I’ve even stopped doing that. I HATE to be admitting this right now but it’s the truth. I got burnt out and stressed by the unpredictable nature of the dog park and dog fights. All of this being said, the two+ years I was dedicated to the park, there were two things that helped make that possible. One was routine. Doing it every day just like going to the gym is easier when there’s no decision and just commitment. The other was having a set time when I knew people would be expecting us. This helped because I had friends as well who I could pass the time with and just let Jersey do her thing. We moved a few months ago and that’s when my nightly park dedication just plain ended. I had a legitimate reason maybe for a week or two but now it’s not a valid excuse. I tried a few new parks but kind of gave up. Now she has a big back yard and we still walk daily but we need a new exercise routine for sure! I’m not sure what that looks like yet but because I know it’s so crucial to her longevity and God knows I need it also, I’m not giving up. An hour a day is nothing in the grand scheme and the rewards of that hour has the potential to mean SO much!