In case you were wondering, Mitt Romney and his amazing stick-the-dog-on-the-roof-because-he-loves-the-fresh-air trick did not drive me away from the ol' blog. I was on vacation. Well, I took a trip with my family to see more family, and then even more family. Which is not a vacation at all but a lesson in control and patience.
You don't care about my trip, you care about what I did with my pets during this trip, right? Yeah, thought so.
We left the dogs and the cat (how it pains me to say "cat" instead of "cats" but Dizzy hasn't returned and I fear he won't ever again, but I digress) with a pet sitter. This is a first for us as we usually put the dogs in a boarding kennel and the cat (*snurffle*) gets looked after by a neighbor or friend.
Well, this time I didn't want to inconvenience a friend with cat box duty and Lana has never really taken to being kenneled so we hired a wonderful woman to come to our home three times a day to feed, water and love our pets.
And loved she did. I am so deliriously happy with how well it worked out that I'm at a complete loss for words.
(Okay, not really. I am very happy with the care my pets received but I am rarely without words.)
It costs a bit more to have a pet sitter come to the house to care for three pets but I don't think I'll go any other way now. For our pets - especially Lana - a pet sitter is the way to go. They're in their own environment, someplace where they feel safe, and there's no need to transport them. Plus, the pet sitter we used took in our mail, watered our plants and changed around the lights to make it seem as if someone was home all the time.
If you're looking for sitters in your area and don't know where to start I recommend beginning your online search with Pet Sitters International, but also get referrals from friends and veterinarians. It's hard finding a person you can trust on line or through the phone book, so word of mouth can be a life saver. And make sure before you hire someone that you get a chance to interview each other. Get to know the person who will be caring for your precious pets. Also, it helps if they're insured and bonded. It's even better if they're pet First Aid certified. You just never know what can happen.
Now, before I am labeled as a kennel hater, I am not opposed to kenneling. I've worked in a kennel before and a good one, though hard to find sometimes, is great for a well adjusted dog. If you're looking for a reputable kennel in your area try starting with the ABKA website. You can often find kennels that offer grooming and daycare on sight. A place like that would be perfect for the super social Fisher.
Just like with finding a sitter, ask around to vets and other pet owners about reputable kennels. Before dropping your pooch or kitty off for a week make sure you can take a full tour of the facility. You should be able to drop in to a facility during regular working hours without having to make an appointment for a tour. I'm always suspicious when a kennel owners asks me to come by after a certain time. I wonder what they're hiding.
A kennel should be clean and smell decent (within reason, we are talking about a place that houses pets). The owner should have a plan for after hours care and never assume they will administer medications or special diets. Ask first. As a matter of fact, ask lots and lots of questions. If the owner or manager can't answer your questions to your liking, it's time to find a different kennel.
So, yes, hiring a pet sitter worked out great. My pets were spoiled - I can tell by how they follow me to the refrigerator where the carrots sticks and cheese is housed - and that's exactly what should happen when you go on a trip and leave the four-legged kids behind. Your pets shouldn't dread seeing your suitcase come out, they should feel secure in the knowledge that another person will come and care for them while you're away. And feed them cookies. And cheese. And rub their bellies. And throw a ball for them. And...