Knowing when to pack up and get the woof out

Winter is here now, but I can’t stop thinking that this summer was so long (even longer than this post).

Not the fun kind of long where Luna and I frolicked in the sun every day. The kind of long where we packed up our lives and moved twice in two months, where we just finished unpacking, and where Luna had to BEG (yes, beg) for treats.

This summer was full of hard decisions. The hardest was deciding to give up on our townhouse and move again.

It was our dream. We could not wait to have extra space and a backyard.

What we needed most was a home even if that meant sacrificing some space and getting really creative with our storage solutions.

Living in a place that was not healthy for us was not really living.

Luna looks to the future and dreams of some day having her very yard.

Luna looks to the future and dreams of some day having her very yard.

This is one of the first times I have really reflected on the decision. Now I know that it was 100% the right decision to leave. There was no way we have could stayed, but at the time it was not so clear. Sometimes I even still feel a little sadness when I look at my tiny apartment and think back to my huge walk in closet.

Giving up a fancy closet and putting half our belongs in storage is relatively easy.

What gave me real pause is that moving is hard. Moving with a dog is harder and moving with a dog twice is even harder.

Moving is stressful for everyone. Planning can help reduce that stress, but it does not get rid of it completely. When three months of planning blew up in our face, it was hard to cope.

Dogs pick up on that stress. They know when something is up and it affects them too. The last thing I wanted was for Luna to stress out, so I had to figure out how to handle my stress.

This summer I learned a lot. I learned what it means to be a grown up. I learned a lot about me, about my boyfriend, and about Luna. I also learned that luckily there are resources and people who can make the whole moving transition easier.

I am so thankful for wonderful friends and family.

If things get difficult or even if they just stay normal (moving is hard enough already), do not hesitate to reach out to your friends and family for help.

For our first move, we had a whole posse of helpers consisting of four awesome friends (one of whom writes Rosey Rebecca), my parents, and my boyfriend’s brother. When things got hot (it was the summer after all) and difficult, these people could definitely put a smile on my face. My dad even brought us milkshakes to brighten the mood.

Although, we ended up going with professional movers for the second move, it was still wonderful knowing they would be there if we needed them.

Doggie Day Care is a lifesaver.

Without it, I surely would have spent more time stressing about how to keep Luna happy and safe. We definitely would have spent a lot of time ensuring she didn’t run out the front door rather than focusing on moving boxes.

Luna runs around with new friends at Doggie Day Care

Luna runs around with new friends at Doggie Day Care

Luna attended a new Doggie Day Care facility called Healthy Hound Playground. She spent several days and nights there in mid June during our first move and again on the day of our second move. She had so much fun running around with other dogs. It also expended a lot of her energy, so she just chilled for a few days after she came home. She was not around for the stressful moving, so the moves made her curious rather than acting as stressers.

I was also fortunate enough to have very understanding co-workers.

This significantly reduced my stress, but it would not have been possible if I had not been honest and open about what was going on.

I believe that personal life and professional life should be separate as much as the next person, but for the most part people are empathetic and will understand if you need a little time.

Thank goodness for the internet.

It seems silly to thank the internet, but without apartment searching websites like Zillow, Craigslist,, and RedFin I would be lost. Utilizing these sites made finding a quick out of our moldy townhouse much easier.

These sites are not perfect and could definitely use a better pet friendly search, but they can get you started.

Because the pet friendly searches are not perfected yet, I learned to do two searches one pet friendly with less specific other criteria and one with no pet friendly parameter, but more specific.

Not all landlords think about advertising that they are pet friendly and not all websites make it easy to do so.

I learned not to hesitate to call or email the contact of a possible new home.

The worst that can happen is that they say they won’t accept pets. Then all you have to do is say “Thank you” and hang up. You can roll your eyes and complain once you are off the phone. Trust me, it helps.

Last but not least: Take your time.

I have the tendency to want to do things straight through. I want to see a project from start to finish RIGHT NOW. I want to watch all three movies in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy today. I want to unpack EVERYTHING until there are no boxes left. It can be fulfilling for small projects, but for larger projects like moving it is exhausting and stressful.

Take your move one day at a time. Your stuff will still be there when you wake up tomorrow.

Fortunately for my health, I have a full time job and a boyfriend who has a completely different approach at unpacking. I did sleep and learned that surprisingly when you get a good nights sleep you are less stressed.

Get some fresh air. Take a walk. Go somewhere fun.

Unpacking for days straight can also just be dreadfully boring. If you are unpacking bored and stressed, who knows where your casserole dishes will end up.

In the evenings we enjoyed the nice weather and took long walks. It is too easy to rush something as simple and routine as a walk with your dog, but the longer walks were so helpful in rejuvenating us for another night of unpacking. It was also a great way to explore the new area. Luna’s nose definitely did some exploring.

While we had the goal to unpack a decent amount every weekend, we also planned at least one fun pet friendly activity. No one wants to be cooped up in an apartment when the sun is shining! This really helped keep our focus when we our unpacking.

Luna and I celebrate my 23rd Birthday at Barrel Oak Winery.

Luna and I celebrate my 23rd Birthday at Barrel Oak Winery.

We made several trips to pet friendly wineries. They truly are a wonderful experience. Many wineries have outdoor seating and beautiful scenery, so it is a relaxing way to enjoy the outdoors. If you are a wine lover like me, it is even better. We visited Willowcroft Farm Vineyards, The Vineyards and Winery at Lost Creek, 868 Estate Vineyards, and Barrel Oak Winery.

Before you visit any winery, be sure to check if they are pet friendly. There is also a varying degree of pet-friendliness. Some wineries are pet friendly everywhere, while others are pet friendly outside, but not in their tasting room. This is important in the hot summer and cold winter months. If it is the latter, you may not be able to do a tasting flight inside the tasting room, but you can still enjoy a bottle of wine and the beautiful scenery with you pup as long as the weather cooperates.

Luna volunteers to help unpacking the treat box!

Luna volunteers to help unpacking the treat box!

Looking back on this summer, I am so proud of Luna. She may have conveniently forgotten Days 2-8 of her Beagle Training, she may have found where we packed her dog food and had herself a feast, and we may be battling over who’s chair this is, but she was our rock during this move.

Jessica Shipman
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