“So will Lucky get to exercise some while he is here?” I asked as I was making the boarding reservation for an upcoming trip that was not conducive to bringing my pets. “Of course!” the receptionist replied. “He can get exercise as many times as you like. it’s just $8 per time that he goes out”.
Eight dollars. Eight dollars for every time he gets to have a break from his kennel or “run” (as some call the larger pens) for an entire week. It may not sound like much, but $8 two or three times each day on top of a basic boarding fee of $15-20 per day can add up pretty quickly. Say what? Your dog needs to be given meds daily? No problem, but there is a med administration fee for that too. While boarding at your nearby kennel or “doggie hotel” for the couple brief times a year that you leave town may seem like the most economical for those people who, like myself, operate day to day with very conservative family budgets, the costs can quickly add up. But it’s not just about the money; there’s an emotional side of the coin as well.
While Lucky does well when crated at home, he definitely prefers to be with us. Come Thursday or Friday, he reluctantly enters his kennel for, yet again, another eight hours. Yes, he is a dog, and while, as a dog, he may not be able to conceptualize thoughts and feelings the was we can as adult humans can, he can think and conceptualize moreso along the lines of a young toddler. The example I always use when discussing why I am so OCD about how long my “babies” are crated is this: Its kind of like telling a young child “here is a glass of water, and a toy. You can do anything you want to until mommy gets home (stand sit, circle, jump, play with your toy, etc.), but you can’t leave your bed, not even to go potty”. Naturally, most of us, I can only assume, would never say something like that to their child and then leave the house for eight to ten hours with no one there to supervise. Even if we did tell a child to stay in one spot for a length of time (such as with instances where the child is put in “time out” for disobedience), most of the children I know wouldn’t last very long before becoming extremely fidgety, crying, or telling the closest adult that they needed to get up to go potty. Yet we do it with our dogs all the time.
While the majority of adult dogs are perfectly fine while mom and dad are away at work, vacations are an entirely different thing. The tail and ears immediately drop and uncertainty sets in the minute we walk through the door to the doggie hotel. You can hear the faint barking of other dogs through the closed door that leads to the kennels and then you watch as the kennel tech does everything humanly possible to encourage the dog that, now scared and uncertain of why they have to go the opposite direction of mom and dad, either reluctantly follow or completely freeze, trying not to go at all.
Using a pet sitter is different, though. Yes, Lucky still gets all gloomy and down when he sees the suitcases come out (honestly, I don’t think that will ever change), but he gets to stay home. Yes, he is still crated when the sitter isn’t at the house, but he is in his own crate, where things are familiar. His food is the same; his meal time stays the same (or at least as close to it that my sitter can manage); he still goes on his usual walks, and he still gets to play the usual game of “I had the bone first” with our other dogs. The only difference? Betty Sue is coming to hang out with him instead of “mom and dad” for few days. Not only that, but Betty Sue is insured and bonded, so if something goes wrong, she is protected and so are we. Additionally, while each sitter may be different, Betty Sue only charges for the time spent, not for all the little extras; she does the extras because she has pets of her own too, and aims to treat Lucky and his “siblings” as if they were her own. She brings in the mail, and looks after the house (which was exceptionally helpful when the neighbor forgot to put his car in park last year and it slammed into the side of our house).
Yes, having Betty Sue come over may seem a little more expensive than boarding, comparatively speaking at least, but in the end it is worth it. My dogs are happier, my home is more secure, and I can travel with greater peace of mind. And besides, my dogs are like my kids, and who wouldn’t bend over backwards to do what is best for their kids.
While the people depicted in the story above may be fictitious by name, the scenario and story they tell is not. This is why my family chose to use a pet sitter when I was growing up, and it is why I now, through my business Creation’s Care Pet Sitting, offer the same services as Betty Sue to pets and their parents throughout Tallahassee and Havana, Florida. Whether you are planning a trip this summer or just need some help getting to that favorite midday walk, Creation’s Care offers professional daytime and overnight pet care when you can’t be there. Click or Call us today!