Pet sitter or boarding kennel: Who should care for your pet while youre away? – Part 6

I stepped through the door of my first job at the age of thirteen. Upon crossing the threshold I was greeted with the varied sounds of howling, barking, yipping, and loud meowing. On my way to the dog kennels I peered inside a little room on the right-hand side that was stacked to the ceiling with small, square cages with many pairs of baleful eyes staring out at me. These cats looked positively unhappy about their current situation. Before I could give it a further thought I was summoned away to the dogs.

Once through the door, I was instantly bombarded with the many calls of dogs large and small, excited and scared, mean and friendly. The kennel was set up in two long rows with an aisle down the middle. Each section was partitioned off into two cages with at least one canine in each. Families who boarded more than one dog shared one cage, which didn’t always work out for the best. Just imagine being cramped in a concrete floored cell with your housemates, fighting for food, water, space, and the pretty dog next door! Now, some of these dogs were happy, that’s for certain.

It was exciting to see meet new friends and spend a night or two away from home. However, none of the dogs enjoyed having to do their business in cages outside on hard concrete! As I finished my morning duties with the dogs, i.e. cleaning the cages, feeding, etc I went to check on our feline friends. Some were sleeping, some were growling, all wanted out of their cage, and for good reason! What cat do you know wants to be locked in a very small, very boring space for an extended period of time? Cats are playful by nature, and territorial. Anyone who has ever moved to a new home with cats knows just how stressful any relocation can be for a cat. They get moody, spray everything in sight, and generally hide under the bed for a few days.

All of these reasons aside, there is a very important, and possibly dangerous, issue that faces all animals staying in a boarding kennel. Even if your faithful companion is up to date with vaccines (as they have to be in order to be boarded) there is still a good chance they could catch something while in a kennel. I remember very distinctly an incident one very cold December. One dog came in with boardetela (a serious coughing illness that can be life threatening). At the time no one knew he had this sickness.

His records were up to date so he wasn’t suspect. Needless to say, we soon had an epidemic on our hands. More than half of the dogs in the kennel came down with the illness. Boardetela can be very difficult to treat and if it isn’t quarantined, it keeps spreading, and if a weaker animal contracts it, it’s very likely he will die. We had to send at least five animals on emergency visits to the vet. There are many other viruses and diseases that pets are exposed to when placed in a kennel. Overall, it is safer and less of a strain to hire a professional pet sitter or ask a friend to help.

I know I will always have a pet sitter for my two cats. That way they can stay in the comfort of their own space, they don’t feel scared, confused or abandoned, and they aren’t exposed to dangerous illnesses. It is important to make sure that the person you obtain to watch your pets is responsible, loving and doesn’t mind taking your pet to the vet if an issue should arise. Having worked in a boarding kennel for two years, I know the pros and cons of both and, without a doubt, I believe finding a pet sitter while you’re away is the best available option for pet care we have today.

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