Tails of a (Boarded) House Puppy

[(P)update on the two labs featured in this post; They are low HW positive. WCAC is accepting donations to help treat them so a rescue will pull them!  Donations can be taken over the phone at Crawfordville Animal Hospital. (850) 926-2089!]

Kahlua is a house elf  puppy. And there are times I need to board him. *Sigh* Yes, I know you feel my pain. Let's chat about pet boarding now, shall we ? I read a fellow rescue advocate's post about A Sleepover and the consequent light-bulb led to this post. We all have interesting boarding stories. I would love to tell some of mine (because god knows I talk so much) and I would love to hear some of yours (hey.. I can listen too, just not as well as Kahlua can. But I might tilt my head if that makes you smile.)

Special shout out to my close friend and roommate Nadine who was the best co -pet-parent /Sibling/Aunt to Kahlua  in the world (yeah, talk to those two if you want to figure their relationship out!)! Pupzilla and I miss you!

I honestly do not know of many pet boarding facilities out there, but I toured one of them way back when, and loved them. With each separation my faith in them has just been more and more reinforced.
Adoptable 3 year old lab mix - Louise

During the first separation, I called them every couple of hours. Kahlua wasn't eating. I was panicking. But the owner of the facility would entertain my endless worry over the phone with immense patience. She would also remove him from the facility into her own office and have dinner with him so that he would have some peace and quiet to eat. She augmented his dry food with beef bouillon or eggs or rice to make it a more attractive prospect (because, let's face it,  he is a bit of a diva, and he was missing his mother.). I was so grateful for this personal care and love that they showed him. When I saw him again, he had shed a few pounds but was happy and healthy!

I apologized to the owner for my incessant calls.  Her answer was what makes me keep going back to them:  "Shalini, it's the parents who don't call I sort of worry about." This is not to say that she thinks that those who don't call, don't care. But the fact that she saw that I needed her reassurance at that point, showed me she understands the value of the babies she and her crew are watching over.

I don't know what Kahlua was thinking because when we got home he pranced around the entire apartment and sometimes appeared to be checking if all of it was still..there. He jumped from couch to couch, checked for his toys and then went and settled in for a good long sleep.
Subsequent  separations got easier and my phonecalls less frequent. He took about three visits to actually befriend the doggie pool and when he did, they promptly called me to check the doggie cam if I could. And sure enough the lab in him had come out to play!

The best phonecall I've received so far was to ask me this: "Shalini - you do know your dog has a little bit of a wild child in him ?" I cracked up. He had been playing in the pool like crazy and refused to be kenneled at the end of playtime. Every time one of  the playgroup humans came to get him, he'd jump in the pool to escape them. They would eventually need to wade in to grab him.

So he has a blast when he is boarded. But it's still rough for me. I feel guilty for leaving him, even if it's just for two days. The last time I dropped him off  there, I left but watched through the window. (Don't ever do this, it's stupid.) He was refusing to go into the facility from the reception area.  He just sat there, looking lost. Finally one of the crew  gently picked him up and took him in. I was crying as I drove away feeling like the worst mother in the world. But hey, two hours later I got the wild child phonecall!

Adoptable 4 year old Lab mix - Thelma

What do you feel when you leave your fur kid behind ? Do you have any fun boarding stories ? Do you prefer that someone house-sits for you ? Please share your thoughts with me via comments! They will undergo moderation so don't be disappointed if you don't see your comment immediately :)

Both dogs in this post are adoptable through Wakulla County Animal Control. There is a special place in my heart for black dogs because they're often not adopted or often treated poorly due to their color. There is also a special place in hell for the humans who do that to these beauties. Please email FriendsOfWCAC@gmail.com to adopt either one. If you can't adopt, email anyway to see how you can help. Please share this information with your friends and family too. Visit their FB page  to see more adoptable dogs and cats.  You may just save a life!


  1. The first time we boarded Lily and Daisy (before we even had Roxy or Riley) it was at a "PetSmart PetsHotel". We hadn't planned on boarding them (the plan to leave the girls with family fell through at the last minute) but we didn't want to cancel our trip either.

    I'd never used pup boarding before but after taking a tour of their facilities it seemed to be OK. We were gone for about a week (in retrospect it was evil to leave them for that long...) with no real phone access to call or check in. I can still remember how scared Lily was when we got back.. she's a very (very) sensitive dog and I think that first broke her little spirit. Daisy seemed fine though.. I think the staff paid a lot of attention to her because she's very tiny, cute chihuahua.

    Anyways, my comment is getting too long. Lily's fine with boarding now if we take her somewhere where they allow free play / outdoor play all day or the majority of the day, can room with her sisters, and doesn't get ignored by the staff. A great one we used to use in Tampa was Camp Bow Wow. I especially liked them because they have webcams of all the play areas so you can fuzz-watch.

  2. Yes it always takes a little getting used to! I think maybe the first time they might think they've been abandoned by us too :(
    Btw I LOVE that name - Camp Bow Wow! :)