Monday, January 10, 2011

Vacation Follies Part 1 (The Dog Kennel: Pre-Departure)

So our adventure started around 7am on Christmas Day (after me leaving packing until the very last second on Christmas Eve. Which was on the heels of me leaving wrapping ALL of the presents to the last minute before my family Christmas. See a trend? No, me neither).

We sleepily (and for me, coupled with anxiety, begrudgingly) turned off the snooze buttons and alarm clocks and hauled our tired asses out of bed. BF and I hurriedly exchanged gifts knowing that we were under the gun for time, and had yet to take Schultzy to his luxurious little doggy kennel ( --insert heavy/guilty feelings of dread for said activity here-- ).

I am NOT a bad parent pet-owner, I am NOT a bad parent pet-owner...

It went so quickly that it seems a blur (maybe that was all those gross goobery eye crusties I hadn't yet had the time to wipe away... one never really knows these things). I do remember, though, that BF got me a fancy-schmancy red rice cooker (very wild for him, if you ask me, the kitchen has black and silver appliances** - thanks babe!!). And to top it off, he surprised me with this wicked-ass red coat I had drooled over when I was at Winners (during the sad shopping trip mentioned here.) He had talked me out of buying it over the phone, at my request. He actually bought at least 5 or 6 coats to try to find one that would work.

I cried at the thoughtful surprise (the first tears to come of the day).

We loaded up Schultz (and his bed, and his comforter, and his leash, and his muzzle, and his two favourite stuffed animals, and...) to head to the boarding kennel, The Escarpment Pet Retreat, where I had previously talked to the male owner repeatedly to make sure we were good to go, confirm the time we would bring our baby dog, and make sure we could see where he would be staying and the set up of the kennel.

When we got there, the female owner was rude and defensive within the first minute. She refused to let us see where Schultz would be staying. She swore once or twice. I got VERY upset, as I discussed (through tears) that the male owner had said, and I quote "any reputable kennel will allow you to see the premises and have a tour unless they have something to hide."

Hmph. The male owner was not there.

The female owner then refused us entry to the kennel area, insisting we would upset the other dogs, then she told us that we "clearly don't give a shit about animals" if we wanted to go into the kennel area. All the while staff members walked back and forth, in and out, with minimal upset to the dogs. (For those of you living under a rock, I love animals, I adopt animals, I don't eat animals, I am a goddamn bleeding heart for animals, just FYI. I am no saint, but I certainly give a shit!)

I looked at BF and begged/pleaded/asked the impossible question of taking the dog somewhere - anywhere - else, but we both knew we were screwed.

It was 9:30am on Christmas Day, we have a huge sometimes-aggressive Great Dane, and we needed someone to take care of him while we were gone on our trip (which we were scheduled to depart for in 30 minutes). The female owner made it clear that she would be quite fine if we were to leave and go somewhere else. She encouraged it.

The rage bubbled inside.

Our lovely boy, Schultzy Poo

So, through heavy sobbing I had to leave before I said something warranting the female owner to kick us out altogether. I had to bite my tongue. I felt horrible. But we had no friends willing to watch him for that long, and my parents were coming with us. So we were screwed.

I went back in to say goodbye and we had to leave. I cried the whole way home.
I cried at home, gathering and packing my last few trip items.
I cried on the way to the airport.
I cried silently on the first leg of the flight.

I felt like the worst pet owner ever.

YAAAAY! Great start to the vacay!

** - I just found out on Wednesday that this rice cooker was purchased with the intention of only EVER being on the counter when in use, then being hidden away otherwise (since it is red). BF loses "crazy & wild" points on that one.

____________________________________ Pin It Now!


  1. Ugh, that sucks. I don't get how some people in the service industry can be such assholes. Do they really not get that whole "customer is always right" thing? Granted.. the customer isn't really ALWAYS right, but they need to at least pretend that way.


  2. I can remember as a kid having to leave my dogs at the kennel and I didn't like it one bit.

  3. You are absolutely not a bad parent. You did what you had to do. He'll forgive you, or he has already. That woman needs a swift kick in the vagina, though, I'd say.

  4. Awwwwwwwwwwwwww.....that picture of Schultz, and the caption with it, is so cute and yet so sad. I know how hard it was for you to leave him there....
    And Schultz is right....he is a BIG LUVABLE DAWGGIE and you luv him very much! :-)

  5. :( awwww, poor schultz's mommy. i bet he was so happy to see you when you got back!!! plus, if that woman sucks her employees probably hate her guts and are extra nice to the dogs to make up for her suckitude.

    we have a red rice cooker too. rice from a rice cooker tastes 653 times better than any other rice. for real.

  6. ahem... i should clarify, that clearly that woman does suck. i should have said SINCE that woman sucks, not IF that woman sucks.

  7. Ahh shit.. you are making me cry here! I hate it when pets get upset, and I hate the thought that someone might not give a shit about our pets nearly as much as us. You must have been worried about him and in tears as you left. It's a hell of a way to start a vacation.


  8. this is why i don't have pets

  9. I'm so sorry that happened to you. It's bad enough to have to leave your dog but to leave them under those circumstances is traumatizing. Blessings, Joanne

  10. @Simple Dude - I could understand if I was being a bitch to her, but I wasn't at all. I was all timid. I don't know what her deal was.

    @Oilfield Trash - This will be my first and last experience doing so. If my parents don't want to watch him in the future, I'm stayin' home.

    @Sarah Elizabeth - I second the kick!

    @BettyBo - You were witness to the tears. I still feel like shit knowing we left him there and he came home so dehydrated. I appreciate your Schultz-sitting skills even MORE than before (didn't think that was possible, considering the drool factor and all).

    @jess - BF made a similar point that the staff probably care a lot for the animals if they work there. Funny thing was, I had considered volunteering there just for fun. Not now.

    Also? He was really really dehydrated when he came home (hot dry nose, almost-white gums, skin wrinkles on his face just moved to wherever you pushed them and stayed there, old, gummy spit in his jowls, fatigue/lethargy). He was very close to needing vet care, but he started drinking again and was okay by the next morning.

    As for the rice cooker... it's teflon coated and I am sort of terrified of anything other than glass or steel.

    @V-Tom - Definitely not what I had expected when dropping him off. We were totally snookered though. In the end, I think he was fine (he's been through hell - we adopted him from a puppy mill seizure and he was starved and so sick), but we were certainly concerned. Bad experience all the way around.

    @becca - Hmmmm... to avoid situations like this, or to avoid being a crazy-animal-lady like me? (Please note, I use the term 'lady' quite loosely when referring to myself).

  11. @Joanne - Thanks Joanne. I wish I weren't so emotional sometimes because things like this wouldn't be such a big deal.

    You guys are all so supportive. Now... be honest... is BettyBo paying you to say these things? JK.

  12. Honestly, what a bitch! She was probably in a horrid mood because she didn't get a red rice cooker that morning...

    Leaving the poochie behind because you need a vacation is never a fun task, particularly if you can't find anyone else to look after them. I once managed to travel with my former dog Blackie for 3 days in a camping site that allowed dogs, so that was quite nice.

    (And on a totally unrelated note, I looked at your post's title and thought "hmph, 'folies' is misspelled." Then my brain kicked back into English.

    Yeah. I've been living in France too long...)

    -Barb the French Bean

  13. So I came to the comments wondering, "So was Schultz OK when you got back?" And then I saw from your comment that he was not. Not really, but he got OK, and that's not good, but it turned out OK.

    I would dread leaving my old dog at a kennel. Heck, I was happy enough just to find a vet I really liked.

    Rick's Blog

  14. i already have anxiety just reading this and putting myself in your shoes with my pup, biscuit.

    i think i would have diarrhea'd all the way home.

  15. Since he was dehydrated, did you contact the BBB? I'm sorry you had to go through that whole thing! I can't even think of anything nice to say about that place...

  16. I would've done the same thing...cried and cried. In fact I don't travel because of my pets. I'm down to one dog (used to have 3) and fortunately my family is close and can come stay with her if I need. Its so stressful. You poor thing....

  17. i hope you called to speak to the male owner after you got back to find out what the fuck is wrong with the female owner. and to let him know your furbaby was dehydrated. and then called the bbb or dept of agriculture or whoever and told them what happened.

    i tried to get a vet's license taken away once because of how he treated my baby sammy. i hate to think of one other pet going through what she did, or one other owner going through what i did. shout, stomp, make phone calls, demand something be done.

  18. @Barb the French Bean - First off, I am envious of your multi-lingualism. Second - I hope Blackie had a good time. Schultz would be too crazy to even camp with, so unfortunately I don't think we'll ever have the equivalent of a vacation together. And I think the woman made mention of the male owner being sick or at the hospital, but it doesn't excuse the way she treated us.

    @Richard G. Crockett - Yeah, it was rotten to see him that way. And we've had a hard time finding a good vet, too, but Dr. Harkness in West Brant (Brantford) has been pretty awesome. He's honest. It's worth the 50 minute drive to see him.

    @You're Lucky I Don't Have a Gun... - I TOTES would have done the same, but was probably all tightened up in the sphincter, thereby making it impossible. I was one stressball. MaAke sure you check the place out (if you ever need one) for Biscuit first, so you don't get stuck like we did!

  19. @carmar76 - Haven't contacted the BBB... not sure that we could prove anything, despite what we experienced first hand, and what we saw when we picked him up. Not sure if BF would be on board with it, or if he just wants to forget about it altogether.

    @Daffy - Thanks for stopping by and commenting! We had two dogs and I had to put down my babe Scooby Jan. 17th, 2010. They are your family members. I don't think I could ever board him again. This was just awful. Everyone turned out okay, but I worry what would have happened if we were gone a day longer...

    @steph gas - I am usually the big proponent of stomp the feet and make noise. But she clearly didn't give a shyte, and I am quite certain female owner is married to male owner. I just feel like it is a lost cause, and they would continue their attitude on the phone. I don't want to cry again. I'm conflicted, because no one else deserves to be treated that way by kennel staff, and I hate to see other dogs get deydrated or sick.

    Not sure what to do. We have no way to prove it. It's essentially our word against their staff. And there are more of them than us, and we weren't there and they were. I feel like it would be a stress-filled he said-she said battle that would result in nothing. Is that a defeatist attitude? I guess so. I just don't know if I could deal with the stress of it all, knowing the owner didn't seem to care and was so damn rude to us!


I get far too excited when new comments come in here...