Update May 14, 2014 – Paw Planet has currently stopped offering dog boarding services, but daycare is still available.
The thing about having dependents – children, elderly parents – is that it makes travel difficult. In our case, we had Donna. She needed dog boarding.
Arranging for dog boarding when we travel
Our previous boarder seemed to have other plans the last we spoke. So we started arranging to meet with different dog boarders ahead of time. It was not easy to find somebody that made us comfortable and confident of in terms of their reliability.
One made me uncomfortable, another one only wanted to take in customers by referral, yet another was out of the country. We had a verbal agreement with a dog boarder that she could likely take Donna, but were told two weeks ahead of our travel plans that she was no longer available.
With the more established dog boarding services already booked and not taking in any more dogs and this last minute cancellation, we were lucky to finally get a slot for Donna with Paw Planet.
It’s newly opened and so gives the dogs indoor and outdoor play areas that look very new and nicely renovated, with synthetic grass and tiled floor. It was also rather amusing to see the owner Melissa whip out a pee pad every time a dog did it on the floor in the outdoors area. I guess the efficiency will be very much appreciated by dog owners whose dogs like to eat poop. :P
Pic #1, Unverified, but I think the dog in the middle is Donna. Pic #2, Donna brought a toy to Melissa perhaps.
Familiarising the dog to the new dog boarding service
Paw Planet offers a one day trial day care for new dogs looking at dog boarding with them. And I think that was perfect since it helps get the dogs in before they are being boarded and can have some time to acclimatise to the place.
Donna certainly needs that and even if Melissa did not throw the freebie in our way, we would have scheduled Donna to go in for an overnight stay perhaps, since we really wanted her to become comfortable with the place we are leaving her in before we left her there.
And if you have been reading this blog, you may remember that Donna was fairly fearful and resistant to entering the day care compounds on her first day of day care there. It was the second time she visited and I guess the first time we were there to check out the place, it did not leave her with that great an impression, even though she seemed to have adjusted to it after a while on that day.
Web cam access lets you observe your dog when at dog boarding
Unlike some childcare centres in our country which have no web cams for parents to see that their children are not mistreated in anyway, Paw Planet does have web cam access available at fixed hours of the day. The bit rate is not fast so all I could see were jerky movements on the screen. But speaking from the perspective of having a friend rush to her child’s daycare because his arm got fractured and the teacher does not know why even though she was in charge, slow jerky movements win over having no webcam at all. Seriously, do we treat our dogs better than our children??? *Of course, I’m ranting about the state of childcare in my country. :P*
Since we were going to be travelling, the web cam was not so useful to us. But it was helpful when we used it on Donna’s first day of day care, it was great just to be able to observe how she was reacting to the new environment and the dogs around her.
Variables I had not considered until observed on web cam
She appeared to be unperturbed, lying in the middle of the room like she was the queen. But of course, she wasn’t and playing dogs were not going to give her a wide berth just because she decided to park herself in the middle of the room. She appeared equally unperturbed when the room was being vacuumed.
I did not observe the dogs peeing indoors but I did observe the bed covers being changed so I thought it wise to check with Melissa if the other dogs would pee on Donna’s bed if we were to bring it along with her.
What we took with our dog to dog boarding
The third time we were there was to deposit Donna for boarding already, sans bed but with her food and ThunderShirt. While she was still frightened, she was thankfully not as resistant as the second time she visited. Melissa appeared amused how Donna could switch so fast from being frightened to playbowing other dogs. What can I say, I guess, our dog is timid but 4 years is not old, so she is playful.
Pic #3 Melissa made new bed covers and reported that Donna loved the bed and slept on it every night. There was also a couple of other pictures of Donna looking unhappy because of the rain or just standing around in general. Lost when I lost my phone.
Truthfully, there is nothing perfect in the world so one of the concerns we had voiced to Melissa was the fact that the room the dogs would spend time in when indoors was floor to ceiling glass on three sides of it. Not ideal for a dog with thunder phobia perhaps.
But Donna is back and appeared fairly lively the first two days she was back, none the worse for having to share close quarters with other dogs for more than a week.
The socialisation probably did her a world of good. Melissa reported that Donna was pretty calm and did observe and respond to social cues from the other dogs.
Pic #5 and #6, Melissa said Donna made a best friend called Ashley.
The main thing is, we’re pretty glad that Donna had a good vacation back at home, while we had our getaway out of the country.