Boarding - Do you have a plan?

“Poop” Happens  (and not just out in the backyard!)
I am so thankful that my dogs are crate trained, obedience trained and socialized. Two months ago, my husband arrived home to find waterfalls cascading from the upstairs bathroom, through the downstairs and down into the basement. Both bathrooms were destroyed as well as a good portion of the living room, upstairs hall and stairs, and one bedroom. When the adjuster arrived and noticed our six dogs, he reluctantly suggested that we board the dogs.
At first I refused to do that … although I had taken the dogs to “doggie day care” and that sort of thing, we had never actually boarded our dogs. I was admittedly reluctant to be stuck in my house … which was by now completely torn asunder … without my beloved canine companions by my side.
Within a month, however, once things had calmed down, and while we waited for the insurance adjuster to give the go-ahead for the renovations, I had time to really think. Since so many areas of the house were affected, my dogs would have been crammed in one room while the workmen were here, five days a week with only a pee break when I arrived home for lunch. Even worse was the knowledge that if a workman forgot and let the dogs out that, with paint cans, saws etc. scattered all about, the dogs might actually be in danger of being hurt. I also noticed that the renovators often left the front gate open. That thought changed my mind.
I had thought carefully about what was important to me for my dogs. It was important to me that they not arrive back home a matted mess. It was important that my dogs be boarded in at least groups of two so that none of them were unnecessarily worried about this unexpected turn of events. It was important that my dogs be fed their high-end food twice a day. It was important that the dogs receive adequate exercise … I’m a believer in daily exercise for all of my dogs.  And, finally, it was important that my dogs be loved and have some human care.
When we arrived with the first of our crew, I had a look around the kennel operation. The enclosures were quite large, not just crates, with outside runs as well. There was no foul smell but neither was everything shined and polished to such a sheen that the dogs weren’t able to have a normal good time.
I watched the owner … she didn’t rush at my dogs but stood back, talking in a quiet and confident voice and waited until each one approached her and they each did in turn. She asked some pertinent questions about my crew, including whether they were good with children because her two children, twelve and ten helped around the kennel and loved the dogs and I was honest in replying that “none of my dogs have ever bitten anyone but since our children are all grown, they have likely not had enough exposure to little ones either”. 
I worried and fretted and missed my dogs terribly.  When I called the next day to check on their progress, I was assured that they were all faring well. The dog I had worried about the very most, a young Chihuahua, had been brought into the home with the family, sleeping on their beds at night and was living the “life o’ Riley”. That’s when I breathed a sign of relief and realized that everything was going to be alright.
Life happens … illnesses, death, marital breakdowns, financial duress … we owe it to our beloved canine friends to prepare. See the article titled "Home away from home" for tips on how to locate a boarding kennel or petsitter which will best suit your pets. 
Noel Hynds
first published in Hav News and Views Summer 2009