Saturday, 9 June 2012

The Ins & Outs of Boarding Kennels - and my purse!

The downside of owning pets is having to make two holiday bookings if you can’t take them with you! The next human excursion won’t exactly be a ‘holiday’ but a necessary long weekend away from home. I doubt whether Bella will think being away from us, being fed by strangers, having many noisy house-mates and no home comforts, will be a holiday!

An earlier seaside holiday!
Choosing a home-from-home for man’s best friend is not easy. In South Africa, in the interests of ‘home security’, one pays a house-sitter who will also feed, walk and clean up after your animals, in the comfort of the animal’s own home.  In the UK the security risk is a little lower in many areas, so we need to look at kennels.

Nothing like a bit of love!
Three of us set off to two local kennels to check them out!  It was a Thursday during an entire week of rain, but the morning had stayed dry. We walked into reception to be hit by that characteristic doggy smell, not a good start! (Vet surgeries don’t smell doggy and not even the Rescue centre smelled doggy!) Before the usual question of breed came up, one lady came straight out with, “I’d say there’s some Shiba Inu there!”  

For a complete stranger, who knows her dogs, this was quite a surprise to us and at the same time a confirmation of what we thought. So for the next five minutes we talked Shiba Inu characteristics – just enough time for the rain to gather so that when we toured the kennels we managed to get soaked!  Bella was left with a dog-sitter while we walked round and she did us proud by not growling or crying as we walked away leaving her leash in the hands of a complete stranger!

Got to climb!
By the time we got to the second kennels, she remembered the drill and once again sat quietly with a dog-sitter while we were taken around – still in the rain. These kennels have infra-red lamps for heating (although it probably won’t be necessary in summer!), and “hammock beds” – not that they hang from trees, and I’m not too sure how Bella will feel sleeping a little elevated, although she does like to climb!

The fees for both kennels were about the same, except that the second one had a half-day charge, which was a plus.  The first kennels didn’t insist on the dogs having the Kennel Cough vaccine, which was a little worrying.  The second was also closer to home (and the golf driving range!), so with the score 3-0 to the Second Kennels, it was decided.  This decision was celebrated by one human hitting 30 little white balls across a piece of grass with distance markers scattered down the centre!  Bella tried to shake the rain off numerous times from the car to the undercover driving range ‘kennels’. She doesn't usually bother with rain, however, the reverberating ‘clonk’ of several golf clubs against white balls sent her scampering under the bench behind my legs. It was time to swim back to the car and wait patiently while listening to the soothing sounds of BBC Radio Suffolk!

At home I made the vet appointment for her Kennel Cough vaccine and (stupidly) asked how much it would cost! £36?!  Bella’s ‘holiday’ is going to cost more than ours at this rate!  Her appointment is next week – I have a few days to plan a ‘discount attack’!!

(  November/December issue of the Kennels and Cattery Management Magazine.)

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