I don’t like goodbyes. I have trouble saying goodbye to the kids, always remembering one more thing to say or give to them. And I give my husband an extra-long hug before we leave for work. So, it isn’t surprising that my reluctant farewells include the dogs, especially when we’re leaving for vacation.
In the past, we brought them along. We’d stay at a dog friendly hotel or a B&B where the dogs came to breakfast, lounged pool-side and slept in their own beds in our room or slept in ours. Despite this extra dog/human bonding, they didn’t seem to enjoy walks on the dog friendly beaches, were exhausted from the car ride and the new environment. And the humans didn’t have much flexibility going to dinner alone or to the beach. We also hired in-home dog sitters that, let’s just say, those experiences fueled our research into dog boarding.
We packed the dog comforters, food and toys and dropped them off. I had trouble saying goodbye (big surprise). But it helped that my husband called it sleep away camp, a perspective resulting from the many activity options offered and the potential for doggie fun: cuddle time, extra walks, play groups, private play, swimming and more. Saying goodbye pulled on my heart so I did it quickly, hoping it was best for them as well. The facility’s staff eased my transition by texting pictures which was very helpful.
It was nice to get away from scheduled feedings and walks for a while. And after seeing how good they looked followed by an enthusiastic post-vacation doggy greeting and an hour at home, it was business as usual. My conclusion: dog boarding worked for everyone with and without fur in our family. I think it’ll be easier for me to say goodbye for our next trip, feeling confident that they’re cared for and safe.