Why every Chief Executive needs a dog

I can already hear all those who don’t have dogs shouting out in horror. “Doesn’t she know how irresponsible that would be? What about the walks? What do I do when I have to travel?” Please understand, I’d be the last person to advocate irresponsible dog owning. I have dogs and my husband owns a dog sitting and training business – so I know all about the responsibilities that go with being a dog owner.

So let me rephrase it. What every Charity CEO needs is something or someone who will
1) Keep them grounded.
2) Force them to take time out from their busy schedules to do something different.
3) Keep reminding them that doing the right thing is not always easy but it still has to be done.

My dogs don’t care about my job title. They don’t care who I meet or what influence I have. Trust me I cannot have delusions of grandeur or glamour when it is 5.30am, it’s raining and I’m picking up dog poo.

I have to walk the dogs in the mornings. So for at least 6 hours per week I have no choice but to focus on them. They are well behaved but I have to make sure that they stay close, watch for other dogs that might not be so friendly and stop them eating left-over picnic food (Labradors!). Ironically when I have a serious problem, I often find the answer comes when I am walking the dog. In hindsight, it is probably because by not overthinking it, I am giving myself the time and space to find a solution.

When its dark, cold and snowing, the easiest thing would be to stay toasty warm in bed rather than have to get up at 5am to walk the dogs but it wouldn’t be the right thing to do because they need a walk. Doing the right thing is not always easy and when times are tough, it is tempting to do what is easy. Having to force yourself to do the right thing at those times is not a bad discipline to learn.

Hopefully you already have something or someone who plays this role in your life – children, a cat or even golf – but for me, you can’t beat a dog.


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