The Pros and Cons of Bringing a Pet on Your Travel Nursing Assignment
Written by Rose Torrento on Thursday, February 07, 2019 Posted in Travel Nurse Tips
It’s easy to forward your mail or sublet your house while you’re on assignment as a travel nurse. But what about your pet? When it comes to four-legged companions, there’s no easy solution. Should you bring them with you on assignment? And, if you do, how do you keep the experience as stress-free as possible for both of you?
Is it a good idea?
The first question you may have about pets and travel nursing is whether you’re even allowed to bring your pet with you. Typically, the answer is yes! But that doesn’t always mean you should. There are good and bad aspects of bringing a pet along for your travel nursing journey.
- Your pet is an important part of your life and being away from him or her for 13 weeks (or more) can be difficult. Keeping your pet close to you will make you feel happier and truly make your new city feel like home.
- Bringing your pet can help you feel less lonely, can help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, and may even help you make new friends faster.
- You might not have someone at home to take care of your pet while you’re away, so bringing him or her with you is the safest and most affordable option.
- Bringing your pet can be costly, since you’ll be taking care of an animal in addition to yourself. Budget for this when examining your stipend.
- Not all pets will be comfortable moving to a new place. Your constant change in location may cause them distress.
- Taking care of a pet may add a new source of stress in your day-to-day life, especially if you don’t have the extra time or energy to give your pet the attention he or she needs.
Considerations when bringing your pet along
If you decide that bringing your pet with you on assignment is the best option, there are a few things you’ll want to consider.
- Housing and pets — Whether you choose company-arranged housing or find your own by using a stipend, make sure the property allows pets. Always read the property’s restrictions. Some places do not allow pets over a certain size or of a certain breed. Make sure you are aware of any pet deposits and monthly pet rents so you can budget accordingly.
- Travel arrangements — Traveling with pets can be stressful for both you and your furry friend. If you’re flying, make arrangements to have the pet checked or carried with you. If you’re driving, pack food, water, and toys and find a car-safe carrier or harness.
- Pet acclimation — Consider how your pet will adjust to the new location. Some pets can acclimate with ease, but others may stress about the change. In general, dogs have an easier time moving; cats might be more unsettled.
How to make your pet feel at home on assignment
Just like you’ll need time to get used to your new surroundings, so will your pet. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help your furry friend feel right at home.
Bring comfort items from home with you, such as your pet’s bed, favorite blanket, and old toys. These will help make the new location feel normal. Additionally, help your pet make new friends. Join dog groups or visit dog parks to help your canine friend socialize, or hire pet sitters through mobile apps to give your pet company while you’re working.
Going on a travel nursing assignment can be an adventure that’s even better with your pet in tow. With the right planning, you can expand your career and take care of your loving furry friend.
About the Author
Rosemarie Torrento has worked in health care for more than 26 years, beginning as a registered nurse in 1988. Early in her nursing career, Torrento worked as a freelance contract nurse before accepting a position in nursing administration. During her 17-year tenure in that role, she oversaw nursing employment and travel nurse contracting at a Level 1 Trauma Hospital in Michigan. Understanding the challenges travel nurses faced, Torrento founded Health Providers Choice Inc. (HPC) in 2003. Through Torrento’s extensive experience and her role as President and CEO, HPC provides travel placement of registered nurses and allied health professionals to hospital systems nationally.