Sunday, October 29, 2017

Fear, Control, Trust, and Relaxation: Leaving my Dogs with Someone

Until last week, I had not had a vacation in five years. Five years ago I went away with some girlfriends to celebrate one of their birthdays. I boarded the dogs during that time period. It was an awful fiasco. I had taken the dogs to meet the gentleman prior to leaving, and he was sure he would be fine with them. This was a licensed kennel, and a very nice place.

He had to go out of town, and things got bad, apparently. When I picked my dogs up, they were separated, and all three were wearing bark collars. I was told they were not welcome back, and that Bruce was "unboardable."

I scrapped the idea of ever leaving town again, though four years ago I attended a Nicole Wilde seminar in a neighboring state with a friend while my ex cared for the dogs.

Earlier this year, I relinquished a little control, but mostly overcame a little fear, by asking my sister to come over one night and feed the dogs for me. I set everything up so it would be easy for her.

It went perfectly smooth.

I knew I could trust her. My dogs love her, they trust her. Mostly I knew she could follow the directions. My dogs resource guard, so I was worried about a fight breaking out over guarding the food, or because they saw my sister as a resource to guard.

She has since done it for me a couple more times. I probably leave overly-descriptive instructions for her.

A couple of months ago, I decided it was high time I get away, if only for a few days. I booked a cabin in the Smoky Mountains. I asked my sister to stay at my house for four nights. She agreed.

I prepped and labeled easy to feed breakfasts and dinners. Explained about setting food out to thaw. Made sure Bruce had plenty of medication. Bought her several bottles of wine, and stocked my refrigerator with food. Gave her a check to cover her gas and inconvenience of staying at my house.

And I left. drove 6 hours away to enjoy beautiful scenery, good food, and time with someone important to me.

She sent me texts to let me know things were going ok.

My biggest fear was getting a phone call that there had been a fight, that one had escaped, or that one of them was sick. None of these things occurred.

I had a wonderful time, it was a much needed break.

I knew all along I could trust my sister, I just needed to give up the control, and overcome my fears. I hope she knows how appreciative I am of her.


  1. Trust is key. So glad you were able to get away and feel good about the dogs too. Mom says she has only had one bad boarding experience in over 25 years, but she would love to have someone who would stay at our house with them as well.

    Woos - Lightning, Misty, and Timber

  2. My mom (I'm a dog) can relate! It's not that she doesn't trust the person or that they won't try to follow the directions as good as possible, but it's that an accident will happen. My mom gets worried leaving me and she also worries for her fish. Glad all the dogs did great!

  3. I can totally relate. We boarded the first dog we had a few times and the last one didn't go well. I vowed never to board my dogs again, and haven't. We've been lucky to find some good pet sitters over the years...people I worked with, then a friend and lately my sister. When we were up to 4 dogs in the household, I was far more nervous about it.
    My hubby and I have a good thing going. He doesn't really like to travel, and I get to go away for long weekends or trips with "the girls" and he stays home with the crew. On the rare occasion we go away together, my sister is still able to help us....thank goodness, because she is the only other person that Luke will accept.
    Oh, and I leave quite detailed instructions too, and she knows she has to text me or I'll worry (I even need the texting from my hubby...LOL).
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  4. That's a beautiful compliment to your sister :) I'm glad you were able to get away.

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Thanks for the howls!!