Oh, Happy Day!

Alright, folks. I have a little dilemma on my hands, annnnd… I need your help.

In the nine months we have had Miss Happy, I have yet to spend a full, solid night away from her.

…I know. Go ahead and judge me.

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Oh dear...

But it’s true.

Out of all of the trips we have taken so far this year — the 12 hour drive to (and from) Florida for Xmas, our February weekend get-away to Asheville (whoops! Looks like I still need to re-cap that one…), our journey to Cincinnati for my first Marathon, and our recent trip to Wilmington for the 4th of July— the Happster has seamlessly traveled by our side.

I love having her with us. And so does Ryan. We incorporate fun things into our trips that include her and spend time with her bebopping around town checking out new-to-us scenery. Heck, we even hit up the dog park in Wilmington (and came to the realization that Charlotte’s dogpark is majorily lacking!). By the time dinner rolls around, Happy is usually so tuckered out that she hardly even notices if we go out to dinner. I know I’ve said it before, but I just can’t reiterate it enough – she is an angel of a traveler.

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What a dollface

That’s why I’m (super!) bummed Happy can’t come with us on our next trip. Ryan just found out that he does not have to travel for work in the beginning of August, so we just booked a trip to Charleston, South Carolina to celebrate his 25th birthday. It’s a place we’ve both been to before, and we loved everything about it. Needless to say, we are both so (SO!!) excited to go back and explore the city more. We are going to be staying at the same place we stayed 2 years ago, and sadly, they do not allow dogs (at least, that’s what the website says. We’ll be calling just to make sure). So in the case that they don’t… I need y’alls advice!

Where on where do we look to board our precious pup?! I’ve scoured the local boarding places here in Charlotte and I’ve read dozens of reviews (Dogtopia, Tuscarora’s Country Club for Dogs, Best Friends Pet Care, Meadow’s Bed and Biscuit, Club K-9 of Charlotte, Continental Boarding, Carolina Doggie Playland, All Wags Doggie Daycare & BoardingCity Dog USA, Dogs Breath Board and Wash, and that’s not all of ‘em!). And…they all say great things.

So, how in the world do we choose? I can’t imagine they’re all peachy-keen and spectacular, so how do we know which ones are the stand-outs? I’ve heard that PetSmart has the PetHotel thing… but I’m not sure if Happy would get played with enough there. I want Happy to be in a place where she’s loved on. I’ve thought about a pet-sitting service, but I’m not too keen on the idea of Happy sitting in her crate all day (minus the few times someone would come to feed her brekkie, dinner and let her out so she can “water” herself).

Sigh…

It’s time like this that I wish I had family living close by. I know my mom would host Happy in a heartbeat, and she’d have a friend (Bella!) to play with allllllll day long! Now that, my friends, would be puppy-heaven.

I don’t believe Ryan quite understands the way I’m feeling. He’s been on quite a few business trips for work and has subsequently spent some nights away from Happy. The closest I’ve come to leaving her for an extended period of time was when Ryan and I drove up to Chapel Hill to see Broadway’s The Lion King for an evening showing. It wasn’t that big of a deal, though, because our awesome neighbors (who have sadly moved away!) watched Happy for us. We were back by 1am, and all was well with the world. (In all honesty, though, I know I’ll be fine with leaving her. We just gotta find the right place for her to stay!).

Indeed, times are a-changin’. I’ll be heading up to Chapel Hill in a few weeks for the orientation for my MPH program, and a week after that, I’ll be headed to Philadelphia for the Healthy Living Summit (YESSSS!). I am super excited for BOTH of these things, and I feel at ease leaving Happy for these trips because I know she’ll be with Ryan, safe and sound at home.

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Getting’ Rowdy

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Napping Championships: Summer 2011... aiming for the Gold

I knew finding a place to board Happy was inevitable. I knew the time was going to come when we’d fly somewhere and she wouldn’t be able to tag along (ahem, like this coming Christmas when we’ll be flying out to Arkansas to spend the holiday with Ryan’s family.) I refuse to “check” Happy as luggage under the plane, so unless we can find a way to put her under our seat, she ain’t comin’ to Arkansas. I’m already so sad about not spending Christmas with her. So, it’s better we find a place for her to stay now, so that we can work out the kinks if it’s not a good fit. At least…that’s what I’m telling myself.

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You better pick a good one, missy!

So yes, as you can tell, Ryan and I have definitely turned into “those people.” Okay, so maybe Ryan is still normal (well, as normal you can be for taking your dog to work with you…) but I have definitely become “that girl” who is obsessed with her dog.

But really…

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Oh, hai

Can you blame me?

Have you ever boarded your dog before? How did you go about choosing a boarder venue? Do you have any recommendations for a place in Charlotte? Have you ever used a pet-sitting service? Any horror stories? On second though… don’t tell me any horror stories just yet.

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21 Comments

Filed under Oh, Happy Day!

21 responses to “Oh, Happy Day!

  1. I am new to your blog, and just want to say I love it! Your dog is sooo cute 🙂

  2. I have 2 bits of advice for you.
    1) Make a list of possible places to board and go visit them yourself. That way you can interact with the people who will be caretakers as well as most likely see how other dogs are treated during the time that they are there. While you are doing this, definitely keep in mind that each place will be trying to “sell” themselves as the “Best” so you definitely should consult online reviews and other people’s experiences as well.

    2) Realize that more than likely the more money you spend on boarding, the better the facility and staff and the happier Happy will be in the long run. I will admit: Olive is spoiled, especially when it comes to boarding her. The place we take her is definitely on the category of “doggie hotel.” BUT she loves it. And they love her. It is more expensive that other options I looked at, but also SUCH a different quality. And I feel like it is worth the extra money for us to have that piece of mind when we have to leave her there for an extended amount of time.

    Good Luck! 🙂

    • Kelly, i know this is long overdue, but THANK YOU so much for your advice!!!!!!!!! We took it to heart and seriously shopped out options like whoa these past few weeks. I think we’ve secured a friend here in Charlotte to watch her, and I feel so much better about leaving her, now!

  3. When we moved across the country I had to bring my cat on the plane. Even medicated, she was loud. I ended up ‘checking’ her under the plane – she was shedding massively and I couldn’t justify possibly causing someone on the plane to have an allergic reaction.

    She handled it like a champ and the airline was good – they had me wrap her in a towel for the shedding and potential change in temp under the plane. They even gave me extra padding so she wouldn’t move around (again, she was medicated to sleep for the trip). When we had to switch planes, they made sure I could see the luggage staff removing her crate and putting it on the next plane.

    I don’t know if this helps, but I would fly with her again if we moved – the discomfort of a few hours would be made up by the time she gets to be with you on your trip.

    • I am so glad to hear you had such a positive experience traveling with your kitty in tow via airplane. Thank you so much for sharing your experience! If it ever comes down to that for us (like maybe Xmas?) I’ll make sure to reread this and ask you for more advice!

  4. Jen

    Why don’t you look into a pet sitting service? That way Happy can relax in her own home instead of being stressed at a doggie daycare. Nati starves himself at kennels and ends up on an IV, so we’ve always left him with a dog walker. She comes over 3-4 times a day, walks him, and feeds him. She sends me emails and picture messages so I know how he’s doing. Prices are comparable to kennels- if not cheaper- so definitely look into it!

    • Oh my goodness, that breaks my heart to hear that Nati starves himself at the Kennel! I’d hate for Happy to go through that 😦 As of now, I think we’ve secured a friend to watch over her while we’re in Chucktown. But we still have xmas to think about… and I’ll definitely keep researching pet-sitters! Thank you so much for your tips, Jen!!

  5. I don’t blame you at all! It freaks me out thinking about having to board our dog at some random place. I just worry that he wouldn’t have enough attention or that it wouldn’t be the right place. Like Kelly said, I would go visit the top places on your list and see how they are yourself and get a feel for the people that work there. Does your vet office offer boarding. Ours does and if we ever have to board ours that’s likely where we would go because the staff is phenomenal there.

    We’ve been lucky enough to have family within 2 hours and have made many trips to drop off our “kid” for a vacation. We also always look for places where dogs our allowed (we just scoured the internet to find a place where we could bring him for our anniversary trip – private house/condo rentals since the best for this situation). Good luck with your search and I bet that once you visit and see the places yourself you will feel so much better about leaving her. 🙂

    • Thank you so much for sharing your tips! Our vet boards only during the day, but I’d love for her to be boarded there b.c our vet staff is amazing!!! I wish we had family close by like you 😛

  6. We have had to leave our two babies before and I totally know how you feel. A few times, we have had people we know house sit for us. And others times we have boarded them. Honestly, our dogs do okay in both environments. If house sitting is not an option, focus on boarding. As someone else said, make a list of possible places and go visit. I think you’ll be surprised what you find. Many have doggie cams so you can watch online should you feel the need and most have “playtime” hours and a playground where all the pups can socialize together. 🙂

    You’re not alone! We panic too in these situations.

  7. My parents have boarded our two dogs at a PetsMart facility and the dogs love it. I don’t know first hand how often they get played with but, my parents had nothing but a great experience.

    Also, I would even suggest asking a friend that’s local to come by and take Happy out for walks and play time while you’re gone. I always have a friend come feed the kittehs when we’re gone and it leaves me relaxed knowing someone I can trust will be checking in on our critters. Petsitters are another great option, just make sure you find one who has some kind of credentials (i.e. licensed and bonded.) That way you know you’re getting someone responsible.

  8. I’ve never boarded my dog before at all. We always have a family friend come by the house and walk her. That way, she’s less stressed by being in her own environment.

  9. Awww, I don’t blame you at all! She’s your baby! 🙂

    I don’t have much advice about boarding – we boarded our dog once and she seemed to love it, but you never know how much play they’re getting, etc. I like the idea of them staying in their own home, or maybe she can be dropped off with a friend or family member to stay there? Not sure if that’s an option!

  10. Heather

    I completely understand your anxiety. My 9 year old puppy has some medical issues so I was also very nervous about boarding Murray. We have used Tuscarora and Bed n Buscuit in Hunterville. I was pleased with both. I would suggest taking Happy on a day time trial run with one or two and also look for a facility with webcams. It’s super comforting. We now regularly (at least once every few months) board Murray at StoneyCreek Animal hospital, which is also his vet. He LOVES it. Gets lots of quality play time and sleeps like a champ when he comes home (total plus for a Weimaraner). But we get the most comfort knowing he has around the clock access to his doctor if he needs it. You’ll know the right place for you and Happy when you find it. 🙂

  11. The pet sitter idea from above is good. I have several friends in the Charlotte area that use one. The pet sitter leaves you detailed notes and a “report card” on how your dog did.

    If you still prefer to board, some of the places have cameras I believe, so that you can log in to their website. Maybe that would make you more comfortable if you could log on and catch a glimpse of your puppers playing!!!

  12. If I lived close enough I would help take care of Happy! I’m sure wherever you decide will be a great fit…but hopefully you will get to take her.

    And LOVE Charleston as well. What a fun trip! Glad you get to go!

  13. I don’t have a puppy:( But I know a place around us board dogs and they even have a doggy playground and you see the dogs outside playing all the time! Maybe there is a place like that near you?

  14. Happy is too cute for words!! I understand why you don’t want to leave your “baby” 🙂 Sign of a great dog mommy. My mom gets so nervous about leaving my dog when we go on vacation – now we only leave her with family or friends. She used to come with us a lot (we planned vacations around her…) but she’s getting a little too old for that now. I hope you have a wonderful trip!!

  15. Bonnie

    How about checking with your vet for some great pet-sitting options. I have two cats and a dog and, when a friend can’t handle it (we swap our services back and forth for each other), I’ve had to go the petsitter route because even if I boarded our dog, I’d still want the kitties checked on. Mine here will come over as much as I want her to, basically. Our dog, though, can be left out and not crated when we’re not here, so that makes it easier, I know.

    Maybe also work with a trainer on Happy’s issues so she can be left out of the crate without doing damage/suffering anxiety. That might leave open more options in the long run for friends to come by and check on him/let him out, let you know she’s relaxing by the window, etc.

  16. Pingback: It’s Time for a CELEBRATION! | Happy Tales

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