How To Become A Stay-At-Home Dog Person

The lifestyle: working from home so you can be at home with your dogs!

There was a time in our society when this lifestyle (or any semblance of it) was not even considered to be something to work towards. Many people would want to stay home with the children, which is obviously a valid, important and difficult job. It’s different today however. I have heard MANY people say they would like be at home to spend time with their dogs but it mostly sounded tongue-in-cheek, as if it was not actually possible. Or if it was possible, it was not seen as something to aspire to, because it seemed silly or far-fetched.

I wonder if these people are saying something about their work life by admitting this desire. Maybe what they are doing is not satisfactory anymore. Maybe that particular job is wearing on them. Maybe they really do want to stay home and feel that they can contribute more to the planet and humanity by being there than anywhere else.

I believe that working from home is going to be the most common practice in the future for work, but for now, it can be a useful, stimulating and valuable lifestyle for the right people. You just need to understand why you want to be at (and work from) home.

I want to be around my husband and my dogs all the time, so that is what I chose to do. This post is about my experience of deciding and how I accomplished becoming a stay at home person. Some or all of it may or may not apply to you.

Decide what you really want

To make this lifestyle reality, the most important thing is to decide that you actually want to do it and be OK with it, knowing that other people may be critical of your choice. I mean, other people WILL be critical of your choice. Not everyone, but some people.  That usually comes from a place of envy so no matter what is said, you don’t need to take it personally. Basing your life choices on other people’s opinions is not something to spend any time considering.

I wanted to do a job that was more rewarding to me personally. Since I live in a very small centre, and I had limited options for jobs that would help me accomplish this. The best way for me to do this was to start a business that utilized my skills and interests, that I could do from home.

I also had the support of my family in this endeavour. As for other people, most of my co-workers understood why I wanted to quit my job, because the job was having the same and sometimes worse effect on many of them. A couple of them were unsure of why I wanted to quit. Two friends were able to modify their jobs in the same field to make it work better for them and stay at home part time, but still let them make a living working for someone else.

Once you make a decision for yourself, you set the wheels in motion in your mind and in your energy, which puts it out there into the universe. What you think about (a lot) expands. Focusing on a decision that you have made and making that the priority is the start of making progress on something you want.

Understand WHY you want to do this

The point of staying at home with the dogs, for me, is really to save TIME. When I was younger, I naturally felt that I HAD to work a full time job or career away from home like everyone else. But, I had also always thought that being at home and working from home was something I wanted to consider, as a child, a teenager and a young adult. I had a pull towards being at home. I was my most creative and productive being at home. It wasn’t necessarily to take care of children that I wanted to stay home, but to be at my best mentally. I always felt working for someone else was wasting my time even though I was getting paid to do it.

So, by staying at home and working from home, I save time.  I don’t have to spend time getting ready to go to, getting to, and coming home from work, I’m not drained by the end of the day so much that I can’t interact with my family (which includes my dogs) and I have time to do things that are meaningful to me. Doing the things that move me towards my goals gets me there faster, and therefore saves me time.

You will need to determine your ultimate big picture goal or goals and several small, short term goals that you want to accomplish or feel that are important to you, and feel you can do that best by being at home more. Not everyone will want to stay at home. Working from home must be the best way for you to express yourself creatively and accomplish your life goals and life’s purpose in order for it to work. Just wanting to not work and stay at home sitting around with the dogs is not what we’re talking about here. That is a vacation. We’re talking about work life/best creative and most productive set up for you/best thing for the dogs.

My decision was based on the fact that I was becoming ill and my anxiety was increasing the longer I stayed at my job. I was having panic attacks almost daily. I was gaining weight because of the continuous supply of garbage food left at work for the employees that was impossible for me to resist (and totally my fault – it was left as gifts, mind you, from clients’ families and offered from a kind-hearted desire to reward us for a job well done). I was also overeating at home from stress. After work I was completely drained and couldn’t even cook supper for my husband and barely drag myself out to walk the dogs. Ernie was doing all the housework and cooking on days I worked. That didn’t make sense to me.

Working at a job that drains you that much is not healthy mentally or physically. I loved working with the people (I was a Certified Health Care Aide) but the actual physical work and sometimes the leadership was not the best. I decided that it wasn’t worth the stress and wear and tear on the body to continue working in that job.

If you are interested in the “saving time” aspect of doing more meaningful work in life please read Slipstream Time Hacking by Benjamin Hardy

How would I accomplish this?

You don’t have to have everything exactly how you think you will need to in order to start working on this project. In other words you don’t need immediate complete results in developing your “stay at home with the dogs” lifestyle. In fact there is no way you will actually be able to plan for this perfectly.  This is because even if you have begun to make progress towards this goal, things will change and evolve. You will find different and better ways of doing things that will help you along the way. There are things that will come up that you can’t know about that will require you to make adjustments (both exciting and challenging), but this is not unusual in any type of lifestyle. You just keep your goal in sight and move towards it one step at a time.

The following are the things I have come up with that have helped me to accomplish staying at home to be with my husband and dogs full time:

Decide on your needs: Many of you who decide to make the jump to this lifestyle will probably have concerns about HOW you will be able to afford everything. You won’t be able to. And you really shouldn’t, actually. The first and probably most important thing, is to appreciate what you have and start from there.

When you appreciate (have gratitude for) the things and situations you already have, you put positive energy out into the world and universe. What you project out, you get back. Using what you already have and being grateful for it is taking responsibility for your actions and life. This is what attracts new people and situations into your life. When you continually worry about what you DON’T have you are giving energy to that and attracting that back. You are wasting time thinking about what is not there instead of saving time working towards the lifestyle you want.

Unless you already have unlimited funds, you can’t have every thing you want. This obviously applies to any lifestyle, not just a stay-at-home one. Wants are completely off the table at this point. So you must decide to fulfill your needs only at first. Then, when thinking about your “needs” you will have to make choices to determine if THOSE are also necessary of if you can do without them.  Life is full of choices and each of your so-called “needs” are also choices.

Wants are choices as well, but these are things we can really do without, especially if it is taking away resources (time and money) from your ability to accomplish your goal of staying at and working from home (which for the most part they do). A lot of the time, wants are not really what we have decided we want, but what we perceive to be the things that will get us attention or approval from others (those whom we don’t really care about or even know). Besides, it’s more fun to work towards something you want rather than just run out and buy it, making sure that the thing we “want” is really something important and will make our future better. Think short term loss for long term gain.

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Wading in the big lake.

Making an Income by:

Not Spending: The best way I found to “make” some kind of income while being a stay at home dog person is to not spend money. I can’t emphasize this enough. There are so many things that we spend money on that are simply for short term pleasure. Our society puts quick fixes ahead of any other way of being or doing. We make buying things we don’t need (and sometimes even things we don’t really want)  to impress others or get attention, a priority.

What should be made a priority are the things that you actually feel are going to move you towards your life purpose or accomplishing your goals. The majority of your income should go towards that and the basics of survival. No restaurant meal, fast food, junk food, clothes buying spree, do-dad and what-not is going to make you happy or help you get there. All these things take away resources from your goals – assuming your goal isn’t to visit every restaurant in your area and write about it as a job 😉. If you feel like you are suffering because you can’t eat at a restaurant once a week, it is likely that you don’t have enough desire to be successful at reaching your goals. As Gary Vaynerchuk has said many times “Stop buying dumb s#(%”.

An example of making choices of what to purchase and how much to spend is how I feed the dogs. I feed them real food, mostly raw. This is a bit more expensive than the dry dog food I used to buy but not much. It’s about $400 per month for 3 dogs – 2 medium sized and one large dog (really like two smaller dogs). This is what I CHOOSE to spend my money on because it is important to my peace of mind and my dog’s health. I don’t buy clothes, stuff for the house, fancy vehicles or anything that is not helping me move towards how I want to live. The dogs are obviously my priority and so get a big slice of the pie.

Saving Money: In order to not spend money (and therefore save it) you have to exercise your creativity. If you think you’re not creative, think again. All humans are creative, but some of us have been thinking negatively about this aspect of ourselves for years and/or use it as an excuse to not do something we really don’t want to be doing (or make the effort to do).

If you don’t want to do things yourself, it will be difficult and take longer to get to the point at which you can stay at home with the dogs. Learning how to do things for yourself around the home rather than running out to buy an item to “fix” your problem is very rewarding.  There will be some projects that you won’t be able to do yourself, like fixing electrical things in your house, large plumbing jobs, and re-shingling your roof.

You will need to save money for those things.

Most everything else can be done DIY. If your home is an apartment you have an advantage in some ways in that you don’t have to worry about maintenance. If you live in a van you will have other, although fewer, expenses. Everything you can learn to do or do on your own will help you get to your goal faster.

For me, the priority was being at home as fast as possible and not working outside the home, so I took the reduction in income to do that. This is something you will have to decide for yourself if you can or want to do.

Unless you already have a very profitable business or job you can do from home which gives you a lot of disposable income, you will need to DIY it. If you don’t like DIY-ing, you may have trouble with this lifestyle.

An Example: One of our DIY projects is growing our own food. We are 80% self-sufficient for vegetables and expect that to 100% within a couple of years. We also grow about 25% of our own fruit which will increase eventually as well. If you have a smaller place and/or no land, you can still grow many things indoors or on small plots of land for yourself (and your dogs) that will help in saving you money.

Actually, everything we do is DIY. We love using our brains to solve problems and fix things ourselves. You will find that you may or may not want to do this.

Starting A Home-based Business: There are likely many things you can do already that you don’t even realize can become a business. This is what I did first thing when I quit my job. Actually, I had already been running a business for several years before that but was not putting all my effort into it because of the other job. When I quit the job, I did take a considerable pay cut, but at the same time, I reduced my expenses drastically so it didn’t really matter.

I can’t go through the steps of starting a business in this article, except to say, if it is something you feel you really want to do, decide for yourself and do it.

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Working For Someone Else

Part Time Working Away: There are many part time or even casual jobs to be found that can assist a person in moving to this lifestyle. I myself did casual work at the care home for the whole time I was there – 7 years. But there is pressure to take extra shifts and that in itself was almost more stressful than the job.  The point was to be mostly at home though so it didn’t work for me.

If you can stand being away from home for a few hours or days a week, a part time job can be a good choice. Casual also works depending on the type of work. It didn’t work for me but that doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.

Working For Someone Else From Home: You may be one of the fortunate ones who already has a job or career that allows employees to work from home. This is possible for many office type jobs, but it is not the norm yet so would need to be negotiated with the employer. A good book to read on this subject would be Tim Ferris’s “The Four Hour Work Week”. He describes how to work with an office job that can be morphed into working from home and how to do it.

I now do many different things for income: home cleaning away from home ( 1 hour a week), dog training instruction (year-round), greenhouse vegetable starts sales and harvested vegetable sales, (at home in season), vintage item and art sales (at home, year round), website and social media management, in house dog sitting (for very specific clients only on a very casual basis).

These options developed over the years and was the work that ended up being the most satisfying of everything I tried. I had also a full time small dog boarding and grooming business which turned out for me to be too stressful having to deal with other people’s stressed out animals. That was just my experience, but it may not be someone else’s.

If you don’t like piece-mealing your income, you don’t have to do it. It is a choice I have made mainly because I enjoy doing many different things and get bored fast doing just one thing. There are just as many ways to make an income as there are people wanting to do it.

Avoid Debt: I know at this point is may be futile to mention staying out of debt but here goes anyway: STAY OUT OF DEBT. This is so important I don’t even know how to emphasize it more.

The more you work at a job that you feel is not ideal for you the less time you have for those things that are important to you. You are essentially trading your time for money (i.e. saving time). Time is the real currency. Most often we work a lot to buy stuff that won’t really contribute anything to your life’s purpose, just to impress other people. As Benjamin Hardy said in his book Slipstream Time Hacking, “To accrue debt is to sell away our future time”.

One thing that I had going for me is that I didn’t have a mortgage or a vehicle payment. This was very purposely done so there would be complete freedom. Someone once told me that having a car meant freedom to that person. In my mind I disagreed, since vehicles are a huge source of being tied down to payments and needing to have a job with a continuous income for gas, insurance, repairs, and payments if you have a newer car. No payments is freedom.

If you have a mortgage or car payment, work like crazy and pay it off fast. Then put away * at least* one year of expenses (probably more) so you won’t have to worry. Also, if you want to retire early (i.e. stay home with the dogs, or travel or whatever), don’t get into debt (see the section again on not spending money above)

Time is important to us. We don’t spend our money so we can have time.  We consider ourselves millionaires – temporal millionaires. We have time to do things we want and we have a inexpensive wants list. Your ability to do things you want to do will be determined by this as well. You can’t have everything and you don’t need it either. You will select the most important things to you and do those only.

Enjoyment of life is not determined by the number or price of things you have, but by the experiences you have.

Disclaimer

With all the above stated, please make sure that if you are considering a change in lifestyle that you have the support of your immediate family (i.e. those people who rely on you for things, if you have one) before embarking on this journey. You may also want to consult your financial advisor and employer if you have one to ascertain if it would be possible for you to do financially. And finally, make sure you yourself are sure and OK with a change in lifestyle. You need to know yourself and current life well before you can properly make drastic changes. All the info in this article applies to me, and may not apply to you. Use you head (to think) before you do anything.

In Conclusion:

Even though there are many more things I could write about in this article about how to build a lifestyle of staying at home with the dogs, the points in this article are the basics needed to start. Getting to that point doesn’t have to be complicated. It is a choice. You will make it the way you want to make it. Pick the things that are the most important to you and focus on those, no matter what that is. Don’t waver from that. My dogs are more important to me than buying stuff. That is my choice. Make your choice. Make your life what you want it. You can do it.

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