Seeking an alternative to kennels
Meet Caspian. He’s a two year old Springer Spaniel and in this picture he’s just about to try and eat the camera I’m holding; thats his feed it to me face. As you can guess, he’s a really lovely and excitable dog who will happily run until he can no longer support his own weight. He’s a healthy creature, much loved and very friendly.
I left home years ago to go and do that job thing, so he stays with my parents and younger siblings, and with the amount of hours I work it wouldn’t be fair for me to get another dog but every year they go on holiday I get a week or two of pet-sitting, looking after him as his dog-sitter where I can pretend he’s all mine for a little bit. That’s the routine, anyway.
Finding somewhere else as an alternative to kennels
This year I happened to be moving into a new flat at the same time as they went on holiday, and even if they went before, this new flat is up 101 stairs with no lift, which is a long way to be carrying this feller. This means they had to think of a new place for him to go, no other family where present or capable enough to care for him, so we had to think of a new solution. There was a stilted phone conversation with my dad while I voiced my immediate concerns:
You’re not, erm, he’s not going to a kennel, is he? We need to consider an alternative to kennels I thought.
While saying this, horrific images of dogs lined up like foie-gras geese in pens, crying for their homes, while the towering behemoth of a kennel owner stomps among them in a tee shirt saying I hate dogs. You know, the usual.
Oh, God, no! He said, signalling the end of the dramatic tension that I could justify putting in prose format.
Picking the bones
Before I go on, I should probably justify my concerns for kennels and my insistance on finding an alternative to kennels. If you have a good kennel near to you then you’re probably wondering why I got so stressed out about it. Good kennels will generally let you come round to see the kennels, require any dog staying there to have all the vaccinations and have a clear health and safety policy.
The bad thing is that some don’t do these things, and it’s the pets that suffer. Our family has had a negative experience in the past that required us to get some Pfizer Spot On Treatment for fleas afterwards, which, as you can imagine, wasn’t good for our opinions on the kennel. It is always worth considering good alternatives to kennels.
Good alternative to kennels
That’s why they decided to use a dog-sitting company, letting someone stay in the house to look after Caspian while they were away for a week. This works really well as it gives the sitter free rent in the house for a while, and they were sure that Caspian would get the time and attention they needed while they were away. As the sitter came to visit before they left, they had a chance to talk through any special requirements he has.
If you have to decide for yourself whats best for your dog, you can by all means check your local kennel for quality, but be wary. At the end of the day, any personalised service is going to make your dog much happier than a kennel would. In my opinion it is worth considering an alternative to kennels.
Brett Jane’s is a MA writing student at LJMU, UK, founder of literary organisation King Yeti and a member of The Wild Writers, a collective who run events and exhibitions throughout the Northwest. Also writes guest post for Vet Medic, who are one of UK’s leading pharmacists and vets who are genuinely passionate about pet health and medicines.