As usual September has arrived in the blink of an eye! For me it’s a time to get organized with schedules, food, and health for humans and hairy family members.  It’s such a beautiful month with the sun still shining on most days, but somewhat cooler temperatures. Change is in the air.  As tighter schedules loom, and routine is around the corner with kids going back to school so is the impact on our pets.  They look forward to routine walk times, but with the change in season a new schedule is often in order.

In the darker months we often find this a challenge with our Irish Wolfhound, Phoebe.  She can be quite protective of her family members in the dark. To manage this reactive behaviour we try to do one early morning off-leash walk and one mid afternoon leashed walk, along with a brief outing to go potty at night.  In the summer we are more unstructured, but typically an early 6AM walk and late 8PM walk due to the heat.

I also love involving our kids in the duties of feeding the cat and walking the dog.  You will often hear, “You wanted a dog” a lot around our household.  My kids, both boys 12 and 17, do sometimes grumble about the responsibility.  I like to remind them that they begged me for a dog for a year.  Ultimately, it was me that wanted a giant dog.  I knew a lot of the work would be on my shoulders.

However, it’s nice to have help and it teaches them that they are part of the support for our furry family members.  The cat is even on a different schedule and is demanding attention at all hours of the early morning.  I thank my oldest for this and his night owl hours.  Imagine a yowling senior cat staring at you at 4AM!  It’s a sight for weary eyes.  Luckily, my partner, gets up at that time to feed him.

One of the most challenging things for working pet owners with kids is getting out the door in the morning.  I see people sleepily walking their dogs at 6AM before leaving at seven in the morning.  Often, pets are left home alone eight to ten hours.  I do highly suggest a dog walker in this circumstance.  As human caregivers we are their world and they just wait for us to get home.  They give us so much companionship that they deserve it back.  For cats and dogs time is the currency.  

Food is also a major focus for us and getting back to healthier habits.  Eating good food is really important for health, vitality and brings connection to family.  It fuels you and should make you feel good and cooking it should be fun.  The organizational part may not excite you, but it will make life easier on those nights when the kids have sports, the dog needs a walk, and dinner made.

Personally, I like to to clean out the fridge on Fridays and take an inventory of what needs to be thrown away and what can still be used.  I strongly dislike wasting food in a world saturated with consumption.  Saturdays, I do a loose meal plan for what we will eat for seven days and all the ingredients I need.  I divide this list into two stores and what days I will hit each depending on my schedule.

I do the same for my pets while I’m cleaning out the fridge I clean out the freezer.  As both my cat and dog are on a raw diet the freezer is usually full of raw meat and veggies.  I like to have enough for a month so I’m not running to the store every week.  I also take stock of supplements for humans and furry friends.  Supplements are especially important for animals on a raw diet.  The basics include a probiotic and/or goat milk, multi-vitamin, and a green mineral supplement, as well as an omega oil.

Fall is also a great time to pay attention to everyone’s health.  Do you need to make a doctor’s appointment you’ve been putting off.  Do your kids need to see their doctor, dentist or naturopath. As my pets age I notice their teeth need to be cleaned too!  Does the dog need to be groomed or have his or her nails trimmed.  I like to make all my appointments and schedule them a week apart so we aren’t overcommitted in one week.

All in all, it’s a lot of work and a lot of fun to have kids, a cat and a dog oh my!  I find getting organized is key to my sanity and not feeling stressed during the week.  I like to enjoy my kids and spend quality time with our cat and dog.  That means having days that are focussed on organizing so there are days I don’t have to.  It frees up my time so I can do things like write this blog or take a leisurely walk with Phoebe.  One of my very favourite things!

Kind Regards & Woof,

PA to Phoebe-Bear