When Paul, a digital account manager for a medical tech company, took a new job last year that required him to travel less and work from home more, he knew that getting a puppy would give him a reason to get away from his desk and into the fresh air, regardless of the weather or how busy he is.
“Working at home has its benefits, but it can also be quite isolating,” says Paul, 43, who lives near Chelmsford in Essex with his husband Stephen, 44, who works in London. “Often I found I’d get stuck into work, and before I knew it the day had gone. I’d start the morning with the intention of making time for myself – maybe go out for lunch – and then realise it was 3pm and I hadn’t eaten anything or even stepped away from my desk.”
The couple decided the perfect solution to Paul’s predicament was to get a puppy, and last November they brought home an adorably scruffy Jackapoo, whom they named Ned.
“One of the perks of having a dog is their routine,” says Paul. “I now get out on twice-daily walks and meet real people rather than just speaking to a computer all day. As well as being great exercise, taking Ned out really improves my mood. It helps me feel more prepared for the day ahead, and then helps me decompress after a stressful day. Although I will admit that a mischievous, yappy little puppy can prove challenging at times, especially when on video calls!”
'Now I get out on twice-daily walks and meet real people rather than just speaking to a computer all day'
And Ned is not just great company for Paul. The couple also have a seven-year-old cockapoo, Bear: “Unfortunately, Bear has developed a stiffness in the spine, so she can’t go on long walks and we have to limit her exercise to a handful of outings a week,” Paul explains.
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“She used to get bored while I was working, but not anymore. It took her a couple of months to warm up to Ned, but then it seemed like they became best buddies overnight. He’s her playmate and a welcome distraction. He’s given her a new lease of life, which is lovely to see. In return, she shows him the way by demonstrating how to sit – she puts her paw on his back when he’s not getting it right!”
“They’re so different, but it just works. Bear is really loyal and follows me around like a shadow, while Ned is very independent but super-loving. He’s brought a fresh energy to our house – getting a puppy has been the best decision for our little family.”
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