This is my dog, Flurry. She’s a 4-year-old European retriever mix, and this is pretty much what she does ALL the time. Due to her natural lifestyle pattern and my busy grad school schedule, I’ve become concerned lately that she isn’t getting enough exercise. So for the new year, I got her an “activity meter.” It’s that white thing you can see on her collar, and it’s going to monitor her daily activity levels. It has a little light that blinks whenever she moves — red when she hasn’t met her daily movement goal (which I can adjust) and green after she has. At the end of each day, the meter sends the data it’s collected via an infrared sensor to my Nintendo DS, which then displays Flurry’s activity report, including a minute-by-minute account of the times of day she is active. The meter is designed for both humans and dogs and has a special setting to track the movements of our canine companions. It should help me know whether Flurry is getting the exercise she needs each day, and I’m also curious to discover whether she does anything at all when she’s alone in the apartment! Wondering how much time your pet will spend without you while you’re in grad school is a valid concern, but perhaps a device like this can help you figure out just how much extra time and attention you should be devoting to your furry friend when you do get home. I’ll post an update on Flurry’s progress as we get further into the semester.