By Jamie Hall Mon, Mar 8 2010
Carol Mazurek from Montreal came upon the discussion I posted recently about choosing a kennel for your pet when you go away and has some wise advice to share. It’s not just about what you see when you check out these facilities, says Carol, it’s also about what you smell, and what you intuit from the animals.
Here’s what she has to say:
Several years ago, my husband and I owned a Golden Retriever named Ukiah. If we couldn’t find someone to dog-sit, we would board her at a kennel.
I thought I was being very diligent by interviewing the manager of the facility, getting a tour, and trying to catch a glance of the dogs that were being boarded. The manager guaranteed me that the dogs get the best of treatment, and they even get a complementary bath before returning home.
We boarded Ukiah at the facility for a week-long trip, but we had to cut our trip short by two days. I called the boarding facility to let them know we were on our way to get Ukiah. The staff member sounded very concerned because Ukiah didn’t get her bath. I told them not to worry about it because I would bathe her the next day. When they brought Ukiah to the front desk of the boarding facility, she was covered in diarrhea and acting extremely skittish. Ukiah didn’t stay there again.
I was considerably more aggressive about my inspection of the next facility. I verified that baths were not routinely given, but were an option at an extra charge. I asked to see dogs that were boarded at the kennel while they were in their dog-run (long narrow pen). I carefully inspected several dog-runs for cleanliness, suspicious odors of rotting food, urine, etc., and I looked at each dog’s posture for signs of stress such as ears and tail down, cowering in the corner, etc.
The new kennel was located next door to a veterinary clinic that could care for her in an emergency. Each time Ukiah stayed at the new kennel, I watched how she walked to the front desk. At the end of each stay, her ears and tail were up, and she had that classic dopey grin of a Golden. I believed she was getting reasonable treatment at this facility.
My recommendation is to evaluate the kennel with your nose as well as your eyes. Never have the pet bathed before your arrival. If the kennel or your pet smell bad, assume there is a problem and find a new kennel. Watch your pet as well as the pets of other customers for signs of stress when being picked up at the end of their stay.
If you can turn any of this into helpful hints for your readers, then I hope someone’s pet will benefit from it.
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