Sunday, August 1, 2010

Doggy Day Care

I wonder if they have doggy day care in other countries? This has evolved from people boarding dogs when they have to go out of town, or be in the hospital. If there isn't a reliable person available to let the dog in and out, and make sure of their food and water supply there are two choices:
(1) pay a stranger to do it
(2) board them at a kennel

Some people don't feel comfortable allowing strangers (even if they have formed a business) access to their home. Boarding your dog generally meant your dog would spend most of their time in a cage, with some outdoor access. There are wonderful reputable kennels, and then there are those that put on a good front--but rely on the fact that your pet can't talk and tell you what really happened.

Many years ago my ex and I boarded a dog at a supposedly reputable kennel and left on a two-week vacation. We came back a few weeks early and drove directly to the kennel without calling. Only to discover our dog in a drugged haze. Apparently they kept things 'orderly' by keeping all the pets drugged. We were pretty upset, and not long after another family filed a lawsuit against the kennel because the drugging by inexperienced workers killed their dog.

In most households today both adults work full time, often for long hours. People (myself being one of them) want the pleasure of having a pet, but may live alone or in situations where there isn't anyone available to let the dog out.

When I obtained my dog 11 1/2 years ago, I was in an entirely different situation. For the first ten years of his life I always had people available to let him in and out (although I did board him in a local kennel a few times). I never envisioned a time that might change.

We've been together too many years to part now. Yet sometimes (as in yesterday) he couldn't be left alone.

I had heard from a few co-workers about a new Doggy Daycare facility in town. It included a large indoor play area. That appealed to me because it is still extremely hot outside, and my dog is an escape artist. Even at his advanced age, most fences are small obtacles for him. Whether he goes over or digs under, he will find a way.

This facility had a large, indoor area. There were raised areas for dogs to climb and lie down, and various toys for dogs to climb and run through. It was very clean, no doggy smell. I have an 80 lb Husky. He gets along with all other animals so I wasn't worried about him joining the group. There were about ten other dogs dashing around--of all shapes and sizes. Including Westies, Schnauzers, and another Husky. I liked the way the two workers stayed with him and the other dogs as they all got used to each other. After a few minutes he was happily trotting around with the other dogs and I left.

I had to leave the party early because the facility closed at 8 p.m. on Saturdays. It was a 45 minute drive, and I was a little anxious about how things worked out for him for the day.

When I arrived he was sleeping in a corner. The woman working there said he had run around and played off and on, but mostly laid there. Considering his age, and that he has arthritis I wasn't too surprised. But everything seemed to have gone well, he seemed very calm. I'm glad that I've discovered this alternative.

Daycare for dogs might seem a bit decadent, the money spent might seem to some a bit wasteful. But my dog is my family. In a situation where I had nowhere to put him, and nobody to care for him on Saturday it was a wonderful blessing.
And he must have had fun, he's still pretty tired from his day.

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