Many Solitans have more or less furry and fluffy friends who are part of their workdays. Today we want to give a spotlight to our pets and share some stories about #PetsOfSolita!
Housedog to vandog – being the pet of a digital nomad
Our timing was fortunate – we started building our own campervan for road trips and travel to various dog related activities in 2019. So when COVID-19 hit and we all left our offices to work from home and maintain social distancing we had a ready platform to live the life of digital nomads, that is me and my wife and our three dogs, two Flatcoated Retrievers Topi & Kamu, and an Irish Setter Eino.
For us humans, the transition to living longer periods of time in the van was relatively painless. Sure we bumped into each other a bit more in the eight square meters of space than in our significantly larger house, but nothing major. But for the dogs, there were many more changes to their daily routine. We’ve both had dogs for nearly 30 years now and even though there are variations on how routine dependent the individuals are they all very much learn the routines of daily life and often point out any changes.
At home, our dogs know exactly at what time to expect me back from work (when I still used to work at the office) or when my workday typically ends. If a meeting is scheduled to start later in the day or the meeting goes long, I can hear the exaggerated sighs and yawns because leaving for the daily walk is being delayed. And of course the older the dogs get, the more they rely on routines – especially meal times.
So what kind of learning has being a digital nomad required from the dogs? We used the van for two years for vacations and weekend trips, so a lot of the routine comes from that. The biggest one is that every time we stop in a new location for the night or several nights, the dogs expect to be taken out to investigate where we are.
Also, the smaller space we have available has required them to be more tolerant of infractions of personal space and more aware of where everyone is. Anyone who has known a Flatcoated Retriever knows that they can be very active and bouncy. The fact that flatcoats can learn to control their impulses in a small space tells you everything you need to know about life in a small space with large dogs.
We now have two distinct sets of routines, those at home and those in the van. It took some time to learn them and losing the oldest of the pack, Topi, during this past summer made all of us learn some new routines. But life is good now and the daily routine of closing the laptop lid, picking up the dog leads and heading out for a walk either in the familiar surroundings of home or a new and exciting place where we parked last is very much a highlight of all of our days.
“Grrrrr!” Meaning: Come, follow me! Please go to bed and let me jump on your belly!
Our family has two lovely and fluffy cats. The first and oldest one Ines is 10 years old rescue cat from Estonia, and the time she came to us 9 years ago, she already has had 6 homes. As for cats goes, she is self-confident, brave, and vocal. She has long fur, and she is quite a small girl weighing under 3kg. She has learned a lot from our family ́s behavior and also taught us to understand her needs. She loves to show her buttocks to me, a feline way of showing affection that I really could live without. In the morning she jumps onto the kitchen counter to wait for her morning milk. Which we have started to give her after she put her nose too many times in our coffee cups. Did she learn that or did we?
The one thing Ines has not learned is the meaning of bedtime, neither have our other cat Veikko, who is a 6-year-old Norwegian forest cat, twice the size of Ines, but with none of the bravery, Ines has. He is a total pushover, over-eater, and scared of many things. Most often you can find Veikko under the sauna seats. Just in case someone rings the doorbell, or it might start to rain any given second or someone uses the microwave, scary things happen with terrible noises. Bless him. But in the evening even though Ines despises Veikko they start an evening routine chasing each other, stalking and running and jumping over and under furniture.
They have not learned the word “No”, which we need to repeat every time they sink their nails into our leather sofas. But it is all in vain. They have neither learned to like each other, Veikko tries to befriend Ines from time to time since he has a short memory, but Ines makes sure Veikko will remember (for an hour or so) that he is not tolerated too close to her.
Cats make great pets, I could not imagine our family without these 2 furry family members, just love them to bits.