Good for you and Gertie! I recently adjusted my schedule to accommodate two 10-year-old dogs my husband and I adopted. Prior to Sophie and Syau, my retired man was the chief dog walker. We have a 14-year-old Pekingese and had a 16-year-old mutt who passed in April. He got up an hour before me and took our two elderly dogs for a short but slow walk. During the day, he duplicated the same walk once or twice while I was at work. Before bed he did the same while I swept floors and tidied the house.

All that changed when Sophie and Syau arrived. They are younger and more energetic than our Pekingese, making walking the three dogs simultaneously impossible. My husband offered to take two walks each time — a short, slow one with our Peke and a longer, faster one with the girls but that was too much for him multiple times a day. So, my schedule changed to accommodate our new dogs.

I now wake up 90 minutes earlier than I used to because that’s when Syau and Sophie wake up. The girls and I walk a mile each morning, arriving home 40 minutes before I used to leave my bed. I read while my husband prepares breakfast. We eat earlier than before so I either read or write during my extra time before leaving for work or I go to work early.

I need to be home by noon for more dog walking so I am very focused during my morning work. After another mile walk in the middle of the day, I eat a small lunch (I often skipped lunch before) and return to work.

The new dogs need to walk again between 5 and 6. Occasionally, I make those walks but usually I don’t since late afternoon/early evening are busy work times for me. But, I try. The trying, whether successful or not, makes me more productive. When I am able to be home for the third walk of the day, I feel triumphant!

Knowing I have to walk the dogs before bed, I am more conscious of my evening responsibilities, getting chores done earlier. Our nightly walk is the shortest but also the most relaxed and I look forward to it as a way to wind down from my day.

I’ve lost 10 pounds and have more energy. While falling asleep was often a problem before, I now fall asleep almost instantly. And, sadly, that means I don’t read for hours as I once did. To compensate, I now listen to books on Audible while the dogs and I walk. And, my camera joins our walks giving me daily photography time I didn’t have before.

Adjusting my schedule for our dogs has made me healthier, more productive, more creative, and happier. So, Raffi Parker, I can testify that you are entirely correct about the advantages of adopting the schedule of a canine or, in my case, canines!

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I was always a writer but lived in a bookkeeper’s body before I found Medium and broke free — well, almost. Working to work less and write more.

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