By Lisa Song Sutton, serial entrepreneur
Man’s best friend -- they come in all colors, shapes and sizes. Whether you want to relax at home or hike on your day off, there’s a dog that fits your entrepreneur lifestyle. You may be hesitant to make this big commitment as you grow your business, but I’m here to share four reasons why every entrepreneur can benefit from having a dog.
1. They combat loneliness.
Entrepreneurship is a lonely road at times. Your dedication to your company often forces work to be the priority -- even above friends, family and yourself. One of the best ways I have seen to boost morale and raise spirits is through the presence of a dog. Studies have shown that having a pet can help diminish feelings of loneliness and depression, among other physical and emotional health benefits.
Whether in the workplace or at home, the companionship of a furry friend can mitigate the worst of times. I love that my real estate brokerage and shipping retail stores are dog-friendly, which means the companionship benefits extend to the workplace. We have a pet policy that allows staff to bring their dogs to work. As a result, customers and staff love coming in.
2. The adjustments you make are worth it.
I often hear the objection, “But I just don’t have time for a dog!” I myself said the same thing for over six years. I had a Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Lady as a child and knew that I wanted one in my adult life. However, I kept putting it off. The litany of excuses was long: “I’m too busy.” “Maybe next year when the company stabilizes.” “Maybe next year when I’m not traveling so much.” However, a fundamental truth is that we make time for the things we prioritize. I finally decided that if I didn’t do it now, I wouldn’t do it all, and made time for two dogs in my life.
The transition to pet ownership as a busy entrepreneur has been a surprisingly easy one. Have I had to make small adjustments to my schedule? Of course, but nothing genuinely life-changing. If anything, being cognizant of the fact that you have two dogs waiting for you at home makes you less inclined to stay out for the sake of staying out. You’re eager to get home because you’re not coming back to an empty house.
And when these adjustments improve your overall well-being, it’s easy to see the value in the tradeoff. Studies have shown the benefits of dog ownership include increased walking in 89 percent of survey respondents, increased happiness (89 percent) and companionship (61 percent), and decreased stress (74 percent).
3. You gain new friends and even business contacts.
When you take your dogs to the dog park, you inevitably end up chatting with other dog owners. I have made new friends and even met business contacts and new customers, all from the dog park. Researchers from the University of Western Australia, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition found that pet owners are 60 percent more likely to get to know their neighbors, and owning a pet is a significant factor in promoting friendships and social support.
My corgis have demonstrated this as members of a local community group for corgis and their owners. I met a ton of new people, even after living in Las Vegas for eight years, and experienced things I never in my wildest dreams would have anticipated -- including a corgi luau, complete with corgis dressed in Hawaiian gear and a limbo contest.
4. There are handy tools out there that make having a dog easier.
This is not to say that pet ownership isn’t a huge commitment as an entrepreneur. But remember, we live in the gig economy and a world of constant innovation. For example, if you can’t be home to walk your dog in the middle of the day, there are plenty of apps that connect you to dog walkers.
With my own dogs, I have discovered some nifty tools that make all aspects of pet ownership easier. One of my favorites is Aquapaw for making bath time a breeze. For days when my dogs are home alone, I use Petzi Treat Cam to check in on them throughout the day and remotely give them treats via a dispenser. I especially rely on NomNomNow, a meal prep service that allows me to freeze packs of food in the refrigerator and thaw them the day before I need them.
So, consider making room in your home and your heart for some fur babies. It can be intimidating at first, but once you have them in your arms, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
Lisa Song Sutton is a serial entrepreneur and former Miss Nevada. Find out more at www.LisaSongSutton.com.