Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Kennel my best friend...?? Eeeks!

This Columbus Day weekend I’ll be heading for the Eastern Shore for the Seagull Century bike race (as a picture-taker, not a rider). I can bring only one dog with me, so my boy Tonka gets to go, while Gracie stays in a kennel.

Now, I’ve never had to kennel my dogs, but I recently lost my most excellent pet sitter to a move. Rather than rely on someone new to stay a
whole weekend in my home with Gracie, I felt that I would be best to have Gracie stay in a kennel. But which kennel? This was a serious undertaking. I Googled some places on the net, I talked to friends. I asked every kind of question regarding care, cleanliness, kindness, space, food, exercise.

Finally I chose a place that came highly recommended by a friend who’s very picky. With her assurances, my next step would be to inspect and interview. I wanted to be comfortable with what I saw and heard and feel sure that Gracie would be in good hands. It was well worth the time I’d taken to be sure, I told myself.

What I failed to reckon with is that we’re talking about a major holiday weekend. Good kennels, like good hotels, are likely to be booked in advance. While I was dithering on finding the best place possible, I totally forgot about availability. When I finally made the call, it was a quick trip back to reality. I clearly astonished the person who took the call. “But you don’t have a reservation?” she said. Her tone registered disbelief. I even detected a suspicion that I could not be worthy of Gracie or any other dog.

Immediate panic swept over me--Gracie with no place to go. It hit me that if this place was full, so would be all the other possible kennels I’d considered. I’m sure the young woman on the phone sensed my desperation when I asked her to please, please check if there’d been any cancellations, any possible space she’d overlooked. She agreed to check again. The wait seemed interminable. Back on the line, her voice was cheerier. Yes, there was one space available. Did I want it? Oh, yes, indeed I did, sight unseen. I’d rely entirely on my friend’s recommendation at this point.

The rest of our call was brief. I was prepared to spend the $28 per night plus an extra charge for Gracie to be given her medication. I’d read their website. I told the young woman I’d be by with all her records and would it be possible to tour the facilities. Even at this late date, I wasn’t going to pass on that. That’s no problem, I was told, and in fact I could even see Gracie’s suite. Uh, suite?

So, this Columbus Day Weekend my little girl will be living large in a private $55 per night suite.
She’ll have her own television and bed (with a head board no less). She won’t be able to hear the other guests barking (or whining), which is a nice touch to keep her calm. While she’s enjoying Court TV (her favorite channel), Tonka and I will be cheering on the cyclists of the Seagull Century. And I’ve posted a mental note in my head to make kennel reservations for Christmas as soon as I get home. Or should I do this before I leave?

~ Lex


Apparently Gracie's stay at the kennel was much harder on me than it was on her. When I picked her up she was pleased to see me, but it wasn't the throw-yourself-at-my-feet-with-joy sort of greeting I had fantasized about.

Having a suite certainly agreed with her. I was told she enjoyed her extra (private) snuggle time, and happily settled in to watch her car chase shows on Court TV.

Columbus Day weekend was a success. Gracie was happy and cared for well, so mom was happy, and Tonka was a huge hit in his bike jersey, cheering on the riders of the Seagull Century.

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