Monday, July 11, 2011

The Difference Between Boarding and *Boring*

If there really is such a thing as "quaint" in the financial district of Manhattan, I have certainly found it in this little hotel room. Thankfully, Obi doesn't have to feel quite as confined as I do at the moment. While I am here in New York for The Job That Pays the Bills (including dog boarding), he is living it up at Quick's Pooch Plaza in Evansville, IN.

My first trip for this job was very last minute and so Obi was boarded at his vet's clinic. While I'm sure the staff there took very good care of him, I was not completely satisfied with the Obi that they returned to me. He acted as if he had not had human interaction in three days (which was not ideal as he had stayed there for...three days). This was especially disconcerting considering we paid extra for outside/play time each day. Of course, this was a vet's office and they have a lot of things to do aside from play with the boarding dogs, I'm sure. I did not expect the same level of service that could be offered by Amy Quick's Pooch Plaza but I also did not expect to be quite as disappointed when all was said and done. On top of this, after the price of extra play time it was significantly more expensive to board Obi with the vet than with Amy.

All of that being said, I hope to give you some food for thought if you're looking for a place for your dog to stay short-term. It's too easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of travel plans and lose sight of what we want for our pets. There are often many choices for dog boarding, but what are you looking for when it comes to just that?
  • Ask to see the facility: A reputable establishment has nothing to hide.  Even though my vet didn't turn out to be what I wanted they were still happy to let Matt and I have a look around the entire kennel area. It was clean and their outside area was safe and adequate for play time (just not utilized quite the way Obi needed it to be, apparently). 
  • Ask about a routine day: How often do the dogs get meals, go out to play, etc.? How much time do they get to spend with an actual human being? 
  • Ask about health concerns: What rules are in place to ensure that none of the dogs pass illness or disease to the others? 
  • Ask about social time: Some places (such as Quick's) are able to offer social time with other friendly dogs. If your dog enjoys the company of others and knows how to play nicely, this is an excellent chance to get some extra socialization in. Socializing your dog should be a life-long project if you want to keep him/her well-rounded.
A tired dog is a happy dog. And an even happier human!
    There are many, many more questions that I could add to this list but those should be enough to get your wheels turning. Your wants or needs when it comes to boarding your pet may easily be different than mine. I know of some places that offer such luxuries as television and/or music in the room. Maybe you have an older and/or more lethargic dog who just needs a comfy place to chill out while you're away? I would suggest taking a look at what your dog loves to do and making a list around that. Boarding doesn't have to mean a sad goodbye and a hard cold kennel. It can mean play time, socialization, or a quiet and comfortable retreat. You can take the boredom out of boarding by carefully looking into your options! Your dog will thank you. :)


    1. I prefer to pet-sit in your home, as that is where your dog(s) will feel most comfortable and will not have to adjust to a new environment. This is a newer concept in L.A., but it's what the professionals in New York have been doing for years!