Posts Tagged ‘dog boarding’

Favorite Video Friday – Igor’s Home Away from Home

July 17, 2015 7 comments

This week has been a tough one. My mother went into emergency surgery on Tuesday morning.  Thankfully, she seems to be doing better than even the surgeon expected, but she will be in the hospital for a week and then in recovery for another two to three weeks.

With her being in the hospital, someone had to take her dog, Jake, home to care for him. So, he came home with me. I am glad he and my dogs get along so well. It makes things a little easier.

He was pretty confused and unsure when I first went to pick him up at my mother’s place. He had no idea why my sister and I were there and not my mom. Luckily, his transition at my house has been easy for him and us. I credit the time he spent with me in March, when my mom went on vacation with my sister, for it being a little less stressful for him. I think he enjoys being around other Shelties.

Of course, I’ve also tried to bring a little of his home to my house so he can feel a little more comfortable. I think that’s why today’s video resonated with me. When you need to leave your dog with someone or at a boarding kennel, you want them to feel like they have a bit of you there with them. I think that’s why this week’s video resonated with me so much right now.

This Friday’s video is cute and very sweet. It features a dog, named Igor, and his loving family, who are about to go on a vacation to another country. How they make him feel a little less sad, and a little more comfortable at the kennel he is staying at, is very sweet. I hope you get a smile like I did when you see him with his new friend sharing his special space. It’s adorable.


Happy Friday everyone!

Trusting someone to care for your fearful dog. What do you do?

October 8, 2013 17 comments

IMG_6838One thing that can be difficult about having a fearful dog is finding someone to watch them who understands their unique needs. Not everyone who works in the pet industry is experienced with or understands how to work with a shy dog. As a dog owner, my biggest fear is that they will somehow damage my dog’s progress without knowing it or somehow lose them because they did not understand their high flight risk.

It’s one of the reasons that most of my vacations these days are “stay-cations” and not big trips to exotic and exciting places. It’s the reason I don’t go to blogging conferences or go to visit some of my blogging friends. I can’t just leave my dogs at a boarding facility or with any pet sitter I hire for those few events when I need to be away. I can’t just trust that someone will keep them safe or that they will know to be gentle and quiet and kind around Daisy. I have to be very cautious about who I trust with my dogs because the progress they have made could easily be damaged with one bad interaction. And in Cupcake’s case, one bad decision could lead to her becoming lost again. I just can’t risk it.

But, last week I found myself in a bit of a conundrum. I had committed to helping out at the sheep herding trials (something I very much wanted to do) without understanding the extended time commitment involved. I would need to be at the trial (almost an hour away from home) from 7 AM to 5 PM. That was a problem. How could I leave the dogs for that long? Who could I trust to let my dogs out if I decided to go? Who could I trust not to “accidentally” let them out of the yard or the front door? Who would understand that Daisy is sensitive to movement and sound and that Cupcake is not trusting of many people? Who could I trust to let them out and not put them in harms way?

In the past, I’ve relied on family or just committed to a half day so I could still get home to let my dogs out or just chosen not to go at all. But, this was one time I didn’t want to opt out. This was something I had been looking forward to doing for several weeks. So the question was… Who could I trust?

I started with a friend who is active in the Lost Dog community because I knew she would be extra cautious about keeping gates closed and ensuring she came into the house in a way that would prevent a dog escaping, but I quickly realized that my dogs might be scared by her presence, having only met her a few times.

Various 2008 018Luckily, I have a friend that not only knows my dogs, but understands some of the issues my dogs have when it comes to strangers. She is also someone who helped in Cupcake’s search, so I knew I could trust her to keep the dogs safe too. And, as it turns out, Kellie was the perfect choice. Yes, Cupcake barked at her the whole time (unless she was petting her). Yes, Jasper tried to hump her (something he never does), and yes, Daisy was a little difficult to get inside the house (she has problems with entrances and exits), but in the end it all worked out. Kellie was able to safely care for my dogs, and I felt better knowing she was the one doing it. I was (am) so grateful she was available to help me out.

But, going through this experience made me realize how limited I am in my ability to do certain things. It also made me realize that having a fearful or shy dog should not limit one’s ability to enjoy some time without them. I can’t always forgo events just because I have fearful dogs. I need to find an alternative that work for both them and me. What if I was hurt or unable to come home? Who would care for them then? What would I do if that happened?

Clearly, I need a plan for handling future events like these. I would love to hear what other owners of fearful dogs do when they want to go on vacation or need to spend the day or weekend away. What do you do? How do make sure your dogs are safe while you are away?

Dogs: Is Boarding Them The Best Option When You Are Away?

May 24, 2010 3 comments

Being a pet sitter, I tend to be biased about who should care for your dog when you go on vacation. (People like me, of course!)

The reality is that many people assume that boarding their pet(s) is the ONLY option (or the BEST option) available to them. After all, what dog wouldn’t love to go someplace where they can play with other dogs? The truth is that not all pets do well in a boarding facility. Having someone in the facility 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, does not guarantee your pet will be safe or that your pet won’t be stressed.

Before you go on vacation, you need to determine if your dog is a good fit for a boarding kennel or would do better in your home with a pet sitter. So here are some questions to ask yourself…

– Is my dog easily stressed in new situations? Does he/she drool, pace, whine or pant excessively when in a new situation (such as a boarding kennel)?
– Does my dog have a special medication or multiple medications that need to be administered throughout the day or at specific times?
– Is my dog easily stressed around other dogs? Does he/she have issues with other dogs?
– Did my dog come from an animal shelter or similar facility? Was he/she stressed in this environment before I adopted him/her?
– Is my dog used to being at home with me or with another family member there most of the day? Is he/she most comfortable at home?
– Does my dog have behavioral issues that would make it difficult for a boarding facility to care for?

If you answered “Yes”, to any of these questions, then hiring a pet sitter may be your best option. Most dogs tend to be less stressed in a familiar environment (i.e., their home) and are more likely to be happier and healthier (no exposure to doggie illnesses) at home than in a boarding facility.

People worry that their dog will get too lonely while they are gone, but the truth is that in most households dogs stay home alone a good majority of the day. Even at a minimum of 3 visits a day and 3 walks a day, your dog may be getting more exercise and one-on-one attention than they get on a normal day.

I let my clients do the speaking for me and my profession. Over and over again I have heard the same comments from my clients (many of whom used to board their pets) – “What a surprise! Normally it takes my dog several days to re-acclimate after being boarded, but he was happy and acting normal right away!” or “My dog usually won’t acknowledge me for a few days after returning from being boarded, but this time she was happy to see me and didn’t seem stressed at all!”

Before you go on vacation, think about checking into local pet sitters in your area. Here are a few great directories:
PetSit USA
Pet Sitter’s International
Association of Pet Sitting Excellence
Professional Pet SItters of Minnesota

And, if you do decide to board your pet, do your research. Talk to other clients. Check the Better Business Bureau and/or Angie’s List to see if there have been complaints about the boarding facility. Ask them if they have ever had any pets die or get injured on their premises and why.

Then, make your decision.
Good luck!

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