Saturday, May 26, 2012


When we went out of town for my sister's graduation last weekend, we didn't really want to drop Badger and Mushroom off at the kennel. We'd taken Badger to the kennel twice before. The first time, he came back with tapeworms, and then the second time, he was terrified of his food bowl for weeks after he came home. Also, we knew that Mushroom had been in a high-kill shelter before being rescued by ARNNE and fostered. We didn't want her to think we'd abandoned her.

Congrats, lil sis! Sorry that the real world kind of sucks

The first time we went on vacation after getting Badger, we left him at our friends' apartment. However, this was no longer a viable option because we didn't want them to be stuck with four dogs (Badger + Mushroom + their two dogs).

One of my coworkers recommended a dog sitter that she had used before for her Boston Terrier. Though we were wary of having a stranger come into our home while we were out of town, the fact that my coworker liked her was able to give us some peace of mind. We gave the dog sitter a call (or possibly an e-mail - Llamaentity took care of this part), found out that she was free the weekend we would be gone, and scheduled a time for her to meet the dogs before we left town.

Llamaentity was nervous. What if the dog sitter didn't like Badger and Mushroom? What if they were loud and poorly behaved? Would we be stuck having to take them to the kennel anyway? Llamaentity's mother even took the worrying to the next level (as parents tend to do) and worried that the dogs would bark so much that our neighbors would call the police.

Badger is like the teenager that everyone thought was high all the time but was actually sober and just weird

Well, I'm glad to report that everything was fine. We introduced Badger and Mushroom to the dog sitter separately, and while Badger did jump, he eventually settled down a little for a belly rub. Mushroom was amazingly polite and didn't even try to jump. Sometimes, Badger doesn't like when he's crated and Mushroom is getting attention, but he only whined a few times during the initial visit. The dog sitter agreed to watch our dogs (big sigh of relief for Llamaentity).

We booked three sessions with her per day we were gone: breakfast / morning walk, mid-day walk, and dinner / evening walk. We checked in a couple of times while we were out of town. We learned that Badger ripped apart a fuzzy toy (no big deal, except that we're still finding bits of stuffing in our apartment) and that he wasn't too keen on being crated at the end of a session. Generally, everything went smoothly, and the dog sitter seemed to love Mushroom.

It is impossible not to love this face

The only part we were still nervous about was the bill, since we hadn't discussed costs up front. (Note to self: Always discuss costs up front, if just for peace of mind.) Luckily, it turned out to be roughly the same cost (or even a little cheaper) than if we'd left Badger and Mushroom at the kennel. And no worms or behavior issues to sort out afterward! It looks like we have found a good permanent strategy for vacations, though I'd still like to take a road trip with Badger and Mushroom sometime.

What arrangements do you make for your dogs when you go on vacation?


  1. It's so nice to have someone that is reliable to take care of your pups. The hardest part about moving is losing my favorite co-worker/dogsitter :( Rufus adores her, as do I. Have you thought about a boarding kennel that also offers daycare? It's usually a little more expensive, but it's so nice to know they're really exhausted from having a blast at the end of each day. IF that's not an option, maybe someone that watches dogs out of their own home? The dogs may be nervous at first, but they will grow to love going there.

  2. This is a tough one. Ideally we find someone to move into the house for the duration of the vacation. Usually we end up boarding the dogs (we have a great facility that they LOVE), and having the dog walker come by every other day to feed the cats, scoop the litter and give them some love. It gets super expensive.

  3. If only you guys were in northern MA or NH, I would recommend our dog sitter!

  4. This is so hard for us! We have a daycare that we really like, but for the 2 dogs each day costs almost as much as our hotel room for the things get pricy. We have an arrangement now where our dogwalker walks them in the day, and our friends stays over with them (when available). Now...we mainly just staycation.