By Bonny King-Taylor, the doggy lama, pet coach
Ever wonder what your dog gets up to while you are away?
It’s 9 AM and I am working at my home office desk while Uma, sleeps by my feet. She is a noisy puddle and her snores are making me laugh as I try to help a walker who has stepped in to pick up a key.
She arrived at 7:30AM this morning, dragging her owner up the front steps of our house as if we hadn’t seen each other in years. The truth is, she has spent many weekends with our family, soaking up the love and…don’t tell them we said so…, not really missing her people until she sees them again!
During the day she follows me around, well, like a puppy! Up and down the steps, into the yard, and around the corner to mail a letter. She spends a lot of time attending to backyard pee-breaks and snoozing in a cozy dog bed under the tree where she can keep an eye on me, while bird and squirrel watching.
4:00PM rolls around and my kids burst in from school: running to shower her with kisses. “Uma, UMA!” echoes through the house and her tail wags so hard, it looks like it might fall off!
The kids love her so much that they even take turns sleeping on the floor to cuddle with her every night.
When the week is over, Uma barks to let us know that her family is coming to get her. She leaps for joy to see them, and gets plenty of last minute ear rubs from us on the way out.
Once on the other side of the door, she looks back as if to say, “Four paws up! I will definitely recommend you to my friends. The biscuits were yummy and the hugs were great. Thanks for having me. See you again soon!”
Uma, and hundreds of pets like her on Capitol Hill have enjoyed what I call, “Camp Saving Grace” just like this, staying with one of our care providers as if they were our own pets. In fact, we take their comfort and safety so seriously, that we only do in-home boarding.
Whether you prefer our model, or commercial boarding, here are some things to keep in mind:
Whenever possible, go with an established boarding provider, with a track record for quality care. What the spur-of-the-moment boarders offer in convenience cannot make up for inexperience and being mostly on their own if something goes wrong. Without support systems and oversight in place, they cannot provide the level of security your pet deserves.
Visit the boarder’s home in advance. Eliminate surprises by visiting the home of your boarding provider a week or two beforehand. Your doggy can sniff around the house and acclimate to the new smells before your departure date, which can sometimes be emotionally-charged.
Make sure you provide everything your pet needs to be comfortable and happy. Portion out meals and medications, make sure your equipment: ID tags, leash, harness, bed, bowls, travel crate, toys, blanket, brush, etc., are in good working order.
Update your client profile. If you are using a pet sitting service with an online scheduling portal, update your contact information and feeding instructions, select a veterinary clinic, and make sure you have the names and numbers of two local contacts who can help in an emergency. Consider printing out this information and handing it to your pet’s boarding provider.
Limit treats and extra food on drop-off day. The change of location can initially be stressful for a pup; let the boarding provider get off to a great start and treat your dog after you’ve said goodbye.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, if your plans change, be sure to let your boarding provider know FIRST. That way, you can go about problem solving knowing your pet is safe, and we can adjust our own schedules.
Preparations like this help us to provide the quality of care Uma loves, and your pet deserves!