It’s that time of year again and summer is in full swing! Families are making plans for that big get away and then heading out on vacation. But all too often, it’s not realized until almost the last minute that “we need to find a place for our greyhound(s) to stay!!”
We have posted articles on our forum about planning ahead in the event of a life changing event or emergency; but, now, we feel the need to remind everyone that you should do the research very far in advance to find the place you feel your greyhound(s) will be comfortable and safe while you are enjoying your vacation.
Every year we encounter the same issue. People contact us and want to know if we know someone who could take care of their hound(s) while they are on vacation. Often this comes up only a week or two before departing on the trip. By that time it is critical to come up with a kennel and/or someone who is available and can be trusted to take care of your pet.
Unfortunately, as much as we’d like to help, we cannot take in extra dogs with all the work we have to do. In addition, we do not use boarding kennels so we are not familiar with many of those businesses in the region. They often come and go or change ownership and the only way we learn anything about them is from our adopters who inform us of their own experiences. Boarding kennels differ in terms of level of care and extra amenities that you think your hound deserves. Therefore, it’s very hard to know unless you actually use a kennel what it will be like. Most adopters do not like using boarding kennels because they (like us) hear the negative stories from others. Adopters (and we don’t blame them!) want their greyhound(s) to be comfortable and safe when they are away from home and that means a similar “home-like” environment.
With most people, the preferred option is to find another adopter or friend who would take in your hound(s) to dog sit while you are gone. This usually works well but it also comes with some uncertainties and no guarantee that everything will always be better. Just because a greyhound is with another greyhound “person” who has greyhounds or greyhound knowledge does not mean that other hound(s) will get the same level of attention and good care.
We recently were contacted by one of our adopters who trusted a family member to take care of her greyhound in her own home while she was gone. The family member tied the dog to an outdoor chair and walked away. The greyhound panicked and dragged the chair for four blocks before she was found. She had extensive wounds on her legs and paw pads. This was a terrible experience for the adopter – and dog.
This got us thinking about this subject and we would like to offer some suggestions to help our adopters work through this process:
1. Make your plans FAR in advance for where/how you will provide care for your greyhound(s) while you are gone on vacation. Don’t wait until the last minute to make plans. Many boarding kennels are filled up in the summer months (especially holidays)and might not have room for last minute drop offs. Many other dog owners also go on vacations and you may not find someone if you wait until the last minute.
2. Do the research. Check the local boarding kennels and interview them and ask how many greyhound clients they have had. They should be able to provide you with this information.
3. Ask employees of each boarding kennel what their experience is with greyhounds. Also, ask what amenities they offer (like separate crates, separate outdoor areas, feeding routine, etc.). Make up a list of questions. They should be able to answer all of your questions without hesitancy. If anyone seems to be annoyed at your questioning them, you may want to eliminate that kennel from your list. You may also pay a visit to each kennel. Staff should be willing to show you around.
4. Think of ALL of the problems that might arise before boarding your greyhound(s) and make up a plan for how you will deal with those. Make sure you work this out with the manager and that the staff at the kennel also knows what you expect.
5. Check local listings and reviews of all boarding kennels in your region. Read any reviews and take them seriously.
6. If you are planning to leave your dog(s) with a greyhound adopter or person you know, don’t assume that this person will know how to care for more dogs than their own. Many people make the mistake of trusting others who have greyhounds and end up having regrets.
7. Visit the home of the adopter you plan to use to sit your dog. Check for cleanliness, orderliness and how the resident greyhounds appear to be doing. Make sure your sitter understands what you are looking for and is willing to comply with your wishes. Make sure that there are not too many other dogs there at the same time. Too many dogs might mean potential for a fight, neglect, etc. Depending upon municipality, if your dog bites someone in a private home, it could be seized and put down. Check local laws.
8. Work out in advance what you need to bring and work out what is to be provided. Make sure that instructions are written down regarding feeding and/or administering supplements and medications. Also, be certain that all resident dogs and dogs being cared for are up to date with immunizations. Unlike kennels, which are licensed and sometimes inspected, private homes have no requirements.
9. Ask the same questions that you would if you were interviewing staff at a boarding kennel. Anyone caring for your dog should be willing to provide any information you need to know.
10. If you would like to get in to the dog sitting business (some adopters work out reciprocal arrangements for dog sitting) make sure your home owner’s insurance covers accidents. Make sure you have a safe environment for all dogs and that you are not violating any local ordinances. Do not be complacent. We’ve heard too many horror stories about people innocently taking on what appears to be a simple dog sitting job only to have many regrets over one incident that no one ever expected.
We want to remind everyone that we have no control over any business and/or person who boards or sits for dogs. We sometimes receive calls or emails from adopters who have a complaint about something that happened at a boarding kennel or when another adopter or greyhound “person” was involved with watching their dog(s). We cannot mediate a problem because we have nothing to do with this. It has nothing to do with our mission and we can’t get involved with problems outside of our stated goals. We hesitate to make recommendations and we usually will not unless we know with certainty that those providing sitting services are experienced and have a good business track record.
We hope that you will take the time far enough in advance to find the perfect pet sitter, whether it is staff at a boarding kennel or person. Like you, we don’t want to have to worry about your greyhound. Plan ahead and do the research. You will NOT be sorry!