We all are weighed down by medical expenses, bills, prescriptions and other important documents that we need to keep track of. Our pets are too! With Graham, I also want to keep track of what happens when we go out, skills we may need to brush up on and his overall health.
For the past year I’ve been a big fan of using ARC notebooks for all my note taking, be it for work or for personal. The notebooks are extremely customizable and easy to set up. You can order them online or buy them at Staples for a low cost. You can buy accessories from calendar pages to to-do lists, project planning, rulers, highlighter tabs and so much more. For the more adventurous, you can purchase a special hole punch that punches paper to fit the “disc” system that the ARCs use. Because I’m a graphic designer, I wanted to create my own special paper for myself, featuring whatever I personally need. Doing it for Graham would be a piece of cake! I just needed to figure out what his notebook would need.
The first part was simple. I wanted a section with basic facts. This would include his DOB, bloodlines, weight range and breeder. The weight range would, of course, be the most important because keeping him fit is absolutely key to making sure he’s happy and healthy on the job. I also wanted to include a section for feeding and medications. He’s had ear infections in the past so this was key. Knowing his heart meds and flea and tick supplies are also helpful, especially if I’m on the go or need to talk to a vet. Adding in a measurements part would help me in ordering new equipment, from blankets to harnesses and collars. Every brand is different, as I learned with Smartpak, so having those measurements on hand when making a purchase, especially online, is so helpful.
Putting his picture on the page was just to complete the look and I added some lines for notes in case something came up after I printed it. On the backside I included his most common commands, a list of what he’s best at, troubled in and then things that I hope to teach him. It’s a page that’s great to look at when I want to figure out where I’m at with him. (Do note that I use an erasable pen so any and all of these entries can be modified at any time. I use the Pilot Frixion Ballpoint pens… they’re absolutely wonderful!)
The rest of the notebook is dedicated to every day occurrences. I start with a training section where the pages feature the “Goal of the lesson,” a lesson plan, a how-to area and then training notes where I can record how he’s done with the session. It’s a simple page that does its job. I even included an area to sketch out the behavior to better understand it! Next I include an “Experiences” section. Here I want to jot down what things are like if I take Graham somewhere new or to a stressful environment. This is perfect for those trips to Equine Affaire that I take every year, as well as if I’m visiting dog shows or going to the New England Pet Expo. I include a section for positive notes, negatives (in case he’s denied access or something turns up that I need to work on with him), general observations of behavior and comfort level and then a section for a quick summary of the day. It’s a great way to keep track of how he’s doing and what I can do to make sure he’s at his best and happiest. Finally I include a basic Notes section. Anything that comes up, from health to new toys, training ideas, etc, can be jotted down quickly. If an awesome event happens and I want to blog about it but I’m not near my iPad or computer, I can quickly write it down so that I can give everyone the juicy facts!
The section for Simi is quite similar. The only differences for her are her pages are in pink and she doesn’t have an Experiences section. I’m hoping to get her involved in clicker training!
How do you keep your pets organized?
Let me know in the comments below!