Below is an excerpt from a well-written and opinionated post on Forbes about the age-old career advice of “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day”.
“It’s dangerous to suggest that work can be anything other than work. Doing what you love can certainly make it a more enjoyable experience. But you’ll also experience a new side of that activity, and it won’t be comfortable. You’ll have to face the inescapable truth that there’s no fooling yourself. Work isn’t the same as play, no matter how similar they might appear on the surface…
It’s a wonderful goal to strive for finding work that you enjoy. In fact, it should be a goal for everyone. But this absurd axiom suggests that you can simply take what you already love, turn it into something for which you get paid (meaning, you have clients and bosses and deadlines and obligations…) and it won’t ever feel like anything other than that thing you love.
This is a blatant, hurtful lie that far too many people fall for. And they end up feeling like something is wrong with them, when really something is wrong with the idea they’ve been sold…”
I believe this confusion has had some effect on how we treat our dogs too. Many dog parents live with dogs who have a strong need to expend their energy in a highly-focused and calculated manner; one in which the experience would drive meaning and purpose (which equals fulfillment).
But, because their lives and living situations do not provide opportunities for fulfillment, the emergence of doggie daycares appear to be a viable option for dog parents seeking to provide their dogs with “something more”.
Working at Doglando has taught me how to differentiate between a dog’s need for work and for play, and I view these two biological desires as two components of fulfillment independent of each other.
By viewing them as separate needs, it has allowed us to easily recognize the distinct differences in behaviors of a dog who needs more Skill Building versus a dog who needs more Enrichment to feel fulfilled.
There are some dogs who are desperately seeking a job, and short moments of play make them appear like the companion dog we want to live with.
There are other dogs who have a high need for play, and these dogs respond to working conditions as stressful.
There is a time in every dog’s life when they want both: a dose of work, and a dose of play (not always in equal parts). At Doglando, we believe that our role is to become better listeners, and even more effective curators for work and play.
After almost a decade of successful dog training, Patel wanted to bring her philosophy of enrichment to the blossoming industry of dog daycare. Now in her eleventh year at the 6-acre Doglando facility, Patel does away with the standard “doggy daycare” warehousing of animals in kennels and runs. In place of this industrial model, Patel focuses on what is right for the animals, providing experiences that improve and enhance their behavioral health. She gives each dog the freedom to roam the grounds, go swimming, and play with the staff and other dogs. Coupled with a program of careful training, the Doglando experience results in dogs who are better-behaved, better integrated into their families, and above all, happier. True to her passion, Patel gives dogs the freedom to be dogs.