My family and I love to travel. We try and travel twice a year. Which means twice a year we can’t take our dogs with us. We do try and travel with them via camping or going to pet friendly hotels. However, the two other times a year we have to find a place for them to go when we are gone. I used to board my dogs. I’d pay exuberant amounts of money for a kennel with large runs. I’d pay extra for them to be walked and played with each day. Then one of the worst things happened.
While living near Sacramento California we used a facility that had many good reviews. I took my boy and girl Alaskan Malamutes to a boarding facility while being gone for a week. I came back and my girl was missing about an inch of her ear. I was in a rush to get out and home that I didn’t see her missing ear until I left the building. It must have happened when she first got to the facility as it already had begun to heal. Her long fur covered most of the missing part of her ear. So I didn’t see it at first. I called boarding facility back and asked why they didn’t say anything. They said they didn’t think it was that bad, and that a dog in another kennel bit off her ear while she was laying next to the fence. As if it was her fault for sleeping next to the fence. I asked for some partial refund, but they were unwilling to do so. Ever since then I’ve never used a boarding facility. I always try to find family members that can take them, or have someone stay at home with my dogs. It may cost more, but it’s much healthier on our dogs. Even when I have family members with my dogs, they still become stressed.
Last week we went on a vacation. When we got home Ember has become so needy. She has always talked to us with via a chatter Chewbacca voice. However now, she does it in earnest if I leave the room or house too long. You can see the stress that is pushed on them by our choice to go on vacations. Now I’m not advocating not going on vacation for ourselves, but we do need to make sure we put our dogs in less stressful environments.
I decided to talk about this because recently I saw a post on Facebook about a puppy getting injured while it was in a boarding facility. The problem with boarding facilities is they are put in there like cattle. You can pay extra for more room for your dogs to walk around. You can pay extra for walks, or more play time, and even training. In the end it’s all about money. Many facilities they are expected to pee and poop in the same area they are expected to sleep in. Hence, they come back smelling like pee since many are just hosed down daily. Accidents do happen when there are that many dogs in tight quarters and many of which are not well mannered or trained.
I especially don’t suggest ever boarding a puppy until at least 6 months of age. A puppy shouldn’t be deserted a few months after you get a puppy. Imagine the stresses that puts on a dog. Imagine being adopted as a human and then being told you are going to stay with a grandma you never met for a few weeks. Hopefully every one that adopts a dog from us plans their vacation a little further out to bond with their puppy.
I’ve heard dozens of horror stories far worse than my own. I’m sure there are boarding facilities out there that offer far better experiences. Sometimes the only option people may have is to board. If that is the case, make sure to scout every location. Scout them just like you would as if you were scouting a preschool for your child.