All Good Dogs: Don’t Feel Guilty

When I was a working professional, I typically felt guilty for leaving my dogs home all day by themselves.  When I was a new Registered Nurse (RN) 17 years ago, I soon became aware that I needed to build a fenced-in area and put in a dog door for my yellow lab, Roxie.  She had a few accidents in the house and couldn’t handle 12 hours cooped up without going outside.  Who can blame her?  I always blamed myself in those situations.

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Franklin & Artemis, happy out on the trail in one of our favorite places.

After I got my graduate degree and started working as a Nurse Practitioner (NP), I started working three to four ten-hour shifts per week.  Often, these shifts would be seven days on and seven days off.  The days off were great and I could spend everyday with my Golden Retrievers, Franklin & Artemis.  Many days off were spent on the trail.  But those seven days working in a row were torture.  We would look at each other longingly as I exited the door at 6:30 am, and I think we all wondered why things had to be that way.

Well, the truth is, they didn’t have to be that way.  I soon found out that a friend of mine had started up a dog hiking  business.  She would come to my house and pick up the dogs, take them for an hour or two hike, and drop them off when done.  The dogs were gone for 3-4 hours at a time, running in the hills with their buddies.  I left a check for my friend, and she took care of the rest.  I always felt that they were in good hands.  I would come home from work and they would be pleasantly napping in their beds.

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Blissfully tired.

I used this service for several years off and on, with one dog walker or another, depending on their schedule and mine.  After leaving one group because I was working less, I took another new job and found my schedule in need of dog hiking services again. I called up my friend and her groups were all full!  But she referred me to another friend who accepted my dogs into her group.  Thank goodness!

The sense of peace that I had when leaving my dogs at home and knowing that they were out having fun while I was at work was boundless.  If it was a dog-hike day, I would leave the house and say, “Don’t worry!  You’re going hiking today!”  My friends who took the dogs would always report back that the pups were happy to go with them, and blissfully tired when they got back home.

My sense of guilt for leaving my dogs at home while I was working was gone.  It’s small price to pay, knowing that my dogs were well-cared for and happy.  17 years later, I’ve left the nursing profession, and now I’m the pack leader.  I get to see those smiling faces everyday that I’m at work!  My roll has changed, and I couldn’t be happier to take a pack full of happy dogs out on the trail each day.

Happy Trails!

Missy Berkel

All Good Dogs, Hiking services:

$25 per dog for 1 hour hike, $10 per extra dog (in same family)

$40 per dog for 2 hour hike, $15 per extra dog (in same family)

email: hmberkel@gmail.com

On Facebook and Instagram:  @allgooddogsslc

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Rest stop on the trail!

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