I love NOT having to travel anymore! To be perfectly honest, that is one of the very best bits about being retired … at least for me. After years of bouncing around as a base brat followed by a full and complete career of my own, ‘travelling the world’ is no longer the novelty it once was!
That being said, if for any reason the travel bug did bite, I would not hesitate to leave the gang in the very capable and competent care of the kennel where i take my dogs to be groomed. Why? Is it the closest one to home? Is it the cheapest? Might it be the friendly and cheerful owners and staff?
Nope! It is not the closest kennel! Nor … though I have never done a survey … do I suspect it is either the cheapest or the most expensive. And even though its nice to go where ‘everybody knows my name’, that is not really it either.
The answer is ever so much simpler than all that! Should I have to leave my pets in somebody else’s care, I know that the gang would be well cared for and safe at MacBeth’s. Does that mean they are the only great kennel in the province? Of course not! Pet owners in Nova Scotia are lucky to have so many good pet care options to choose from, eh?
Sadly, like anything else in life, not all boarding kennels are created equal. In the absence of regulations to protect consumers, it is up to each and every pet owner to do their own due diligence when choosing a boarding kennel.
So how is a kind-hearted lay person to choose?
Choose a kennel close to home. Setting aside the simple value of word of mouth for sorting the wheat from the chaff, in a real emergency there might not be time to go gallivanting around the countryside!
Ask, ask, ask! Ask the techs working at your animal clinic! Ask friends and family! And last but not least, ask your groomer! Spend as much time asking as you would for your next smart phone or car!
Find them on Facebook! It is the rare facility now that does not have a Facebook presence. A good Facebook page with plenty of pictures is an excellent way to get a sneak preview!
- Are the kennels roomy enough?
- Are the walls made of metal or masonry or masonite or cement? Why is that important? Because in order to prevent the spread of disease, all walls must be waterproof, washable and sanitizable!
- Are the floors made of concrete? See above for why!
Pay a visit and ask a few more things. Call ahead and ask for a tour!
- Follow your nose! If the place smells, run do not walk to the next place on your list.
- Is the kennel heated? Well lit?
- Are there individual exercise pens? Are group ones available?
- Can arrangements be made for leash walks?
- Special note …. from a purely personal old lady err on the side of caution perspective … run do not walk away from any facility where the owners do not live on the same property.
What time is it? Even if there is no place like home, it is always time to remember that an ounce of prevention can save pounds and pounds of grief. And it is always time to salute all the wonderful boarding facilities who really put the heart into home away from home!