Making the Case for Pawternity Leave

Ronin

A little while back I did two separate articles about furbabies becoming part of the family. However, the one I want to direct you to is the What to Expect When You’re Expecting: Puppy Edition. Puppies are hard work, and while they grow up faster than human babies, they do have a fairly strict first couple of weeks that you need to follow.

This includes early morning potty breaks, crate training, teaching them the boundaries and easing them into their new environment. They also have several vet visits that need to happen very soon after they turn eight weeks old. Of course, this doesn’t have to stop at puppies, it can also include kittens, and new adoptions from a shelter in both the canine and feline realm.

All that extra work that comes with a new pet can really throw you off your groove, and when you’re set in your ways it can be exhausting. When you’re exhausted, your work will suffer and your mood will suffer, and that’s never a good thing. So I want to talk about a little concept that our wonderful friends from across the pond are starting to slowly introduce in some professional places.

The concept is fairly simple. You’ve heard of maternity and paternity leave before; you get a specific amount of time off to care, love and recover from bringing a new baby home. Well, imagine when you got a new furbaby, you could go to your employer and ask for a few days off to acclimate the new animal and get used to the new schedule you’re going to have.

In a purr-fect pun, this concept for your new furbaby addition is called pawternity leave, and I think we over here in the States need to hurry up and make it a reality.

I can’t tell you how many hours of work and school I have missed due to vet visits or furbaby emergencies. It became increasingly difficult to explain to my bosses and professors that I needed more time off to take care of routine vet visits or to monitor a pet after a procedure. And when I first got my little bundle of fur-joy, I felt horrible leaving him alone so soon after getting him, and I was exhausted from the late night potty breaks and early morning play sessions.

I would have loved to have had a week off to just adjust to my new commitment and also allow my puppy to learn the ways around his new environment too. I know, it seems a little strange to think that people should get paid time off to deal with new pets, but I think that it’s something we should definitely begin slowly introducing into the  workforce.

Now, before you start to whip out the torches and start rioting – no, this is not to take away from the wonderful miracle of bringing a child into this world. And it’s not to take away from the fact that babies are much more work than a pet, but let’s remember that pets are part of the family too. Some people may only ever have furkids, and they should be allowed to not feel guilty for skipping work for pets, or guilty for not being able to properly care for the furkid.

We’re moving towards a new world, times are changing, and I think allowing furmoms and furdads to be granted an appropriate amount of time to deal with that transition would help boost the work-life balance and increase workplace happiness.

So what are we waiting for? Let’s make pawternity happen. Like, yesterday.

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I’m a video game playing, lapel pin collecting, rubber duck hoarding, cat-obsessed twenty-something who dances to the music in her own head regardless of who is watching.

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