Sunday, July 10, 2011

I Feel Like a Bad Mom & Holy Cow the Dog Kennel is Expensive!

When I go to Portland next week I have to board Lulu in a kennel for the second time in her 11 1/2 years.  I am (ridiculously) upset about it.  When I was researching kennels online I was actually crying thinking about how abandoned Lulu is going to feel.  Which is why I feel like a bad mom.

The first time I boarded Lulu was when she was still a puppy.  I was traveling a lot for work and one of my trips coincided with my parents summer vacation.  We decided to board both Lulu and Zelda at a kennel that was recommended by my aunt.  This was so long ago that it was before the days when everybody really pampered their pets.  It became such a hassle.  First, they didn't want to keep Lulu and Zelda together because Lulu is a small dog and Zelda is a big dog, and they usually separated the dogs by size.  Then it was a huge ordeal to feed them their own food, an ordeal to feed them a mixture of wet and dry, an ordeal to feed them twice a day.  To me those things should just be standard operating procedure.  They wouldn't allow them to have their own beds or toys.  I would think that those items from home would help with the separation anxiety.

Even with all those problems, we felt like the dogs would be okay there.  When I picked them up, I decided that I would try to never board my dog again.  And I would definitely never board my dog there again, if I had to board her at all.  Lulu was pink when I picked her up.  PINK!  She had been wearing a pink halter collar and during her stay she chewed it off of herself.  The kennel employees never bothered to take it away from her, so she kept chewing on it and turned herself pink in the process.  Nor did they bother to give her a bath to remove the pink.  Thanks.  They never returned the container that held Lulu's food (which was a nice one!) nor the 1/2 cup scoop that portioned out her food.  I still have the rest of the set of measuring cups and every time I see that the 1/2 cup is missing, I'm irked all over again.

For the last 11 years, my parents and I have always made sure one of us can take care of the dogs because of that kennel experience.  But now since all of us, as well as the rest of our family, will be in Portland for Kristen and Stacy's wedding, we have to kennel them again.

After some research and talking to my vet about it, I decided on the PetsHotel at PetsMart.  It's expensive!  $28 per night for their regular room.  But included in that is two feedings per day, and they actually provide the food!  It just so happens that they use the same food Lulu already gets.  It's absolutely no problem to feed a combo of wet and dry and they'll even include the green beans Lulu now gets (part of her diet) if I provide them portioned out.  And they didn't bat an eye when I told them the particulars about how much she eats - 1/3 cup of dry food, 1/10th can of wet food, and 1/4 cup of green beans.  No biggie.  They also said that it's fine to bring her bed.  Because its makes the separation easier to have something from home.  Of course you can bring a favorite toy, just no squeakers because it's a choking hazard.  They also walk the dogs multiple times a day.  If Lulu wasn't so old and wasn't such a bitch, she could also go to the doggie day camp to play with other dogs.  It would cost me and extra $16, but since she doesn't really like other dogs, I don't have to incur that expense.

Turns out that my parents plans for Zelda fell through and she has to be boarded, too.  We thought it might be nice for Zelda and Lulu to be near each other, but they do get sick of each other and definitely need to be separated at meal times, so a shared room wasn't a great option.  The PetsHotel people had a wonderful solution!  Adjoining rooms with a close-able door between them - perfect!

They will give your dog special treats - a treat filled kong or doggie icecream ($4 each), and will give your dog a bath before you pick it up ($11).  They will give your dog it's medication ($2 per day).  You can give your dog individual play time, I guess for if your dog isn't good with other dogs ($9).  They actually even have what they call a Dog Suite - it is a larger room, with a better bed, and a TV tuned to doggie programs. :)  That once costs $38 a day.

I had to fill out a three page form about Lulu and her history.  It was really quite funny.  I had to provide a local emergency contact, too.  Since, again, my entire family will be in Portland, that honor goes to Michelle.  Hopefully she doesn't actually ever have to go get Lulu, though.  Although Lulu absolutely LOVES Michelle and Russ, she doesn't exactly care for Tuli or Mira's method of love by smothering and hugging to death.

I feel so much better about the situation knowing that the PetsHotel people have figured out how to make it work for us.  Although I'm sure I'll have a shock when I pay the bill, I know it's worth it for my precious baby Lulu.

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