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My mother is severely allergic to dogs and cats...and basically anything with fur, to be quite honest. She carries an Epi-pen with her, and she also wears a long patch on her arm prescribed to her by her doctor.

That being said, anytime we do anything with my parents (vacations, etc.) the "kids" are boarded.

Now, our dogs are not difficult. They are 100% housebroken. They are not dog aggressive. They are not people aggressive. Gidget hates cats, but she doesn't come in contact with cats when boarded.

They are fed RAW, and when we go anywhere, we send them along with their nylon duffle bag - a luggage tag says our name and contact information and our dogs' names and a piece of masking tape on the bag with our name and our dogs' names - detailed instructions on how to feed the "kids" (even though we pre-package their daily meals for them so all that the people feeding them have to do is open the bag, dump it, throw in the pre-measured supplements and a blob of yogurt,) anything about our dogs, toys we sent with them described to a "T," etc. Obviously, we make things VERY easy for whomever.

We were boarding at one location. They were okay, for the most part, but their prices kept increasing every time we picked up our dogs. Same two dogs, same length of time, and the pricing would vary between $5 and $15 when we picked them up. Not much of a difference, but still varied. When we'd ask WHY, they'd say, "Hm - I don't know." They were kept together in a large concrete run with access 15 hours of the day to their own outside runs (chainlink on all sides and top) so they could potty on their own, etc. The outside areas were 4 feet wide by 15 feet long so a "decent" area to potty. They got one playtime per day. That cost us $70 for both dogs per night.

Then we we changed Vets to our new Vet, we found out they had boarding. We saw their options: concrete run (VERY small for two dogs - as in 3-1/2 feet wide by 5-6 feet long - we saw a lab and a small mix in one run together, and they were CRAMPED) without an outdoor access area, a single-dog run without an outdoor access area, and luxury boarding (a 6 ft. x 6 ft. room with two beds, t.v., three playtimes a day, etc.) But none of the boarding options had outdoor access 15 hrs a day to potty, but we were assured that taking them out regularly would not be an issue. Price for the "luxury suites" - $52 for both dogs per night.

The first time we took them to their new boarding, we sent along the same detailed instructions, etc. I e-mailed it to them via their online program as well as brought printed instructions with me. It took us an hour and fifteen minutes to "check in." When we told them we fed "RAW," the receptionist said, "oh well the Vet Techs will have to feed them then." Okay - no big deal. On their paperwork it said - "NO outside treats/food of any kind other than what they came with." When we picked them up the first time, they came out and said, "they're finishing their baths" (that we didn't request) "because they both had bad diarrhea today." Why did they have diarrhea? Because our dogs are fed at 10am...we picked them up at 10:15am, and because there wasn't an extra RAW pack....they fed them THE HOUSE KIBBLE! We were p!55ed, talked with the boarding manager, who assured us that would NOT happen again.

We dropped them off this past weekend. We dropped them off at the same time as last time, and we picked them up at the same time. They go to tell us how much it is and tack on an additional $52. I said, "but they were here the same amount of time as the last time." New policy is they now charge for Sunday pickups (even though they're open for business until 2pm.) She then says, "oh and our Techs were REALLY concerned about the bones in their food. Were those supposed to be there? Like we know bones are part of a diet, but were they supposed to be there? You know that bones cause obstructions, right?" I told her that yes, the bones were supposed to be in there as they classified as the RMBs of a RAW diet, and then I said, "I didn't get a phone call or anything on Friday so....." She said, "we just went ahead and fed them." If you were "REALLY concerned" about something, wouldn't you call the owners first?

Our dogs come out....no toys...no bag...no plastic container in which their toys were brought....and no yogurt (as we realized when we got home.)

We told the boarding handler that they came with a black duffle bag, toys, etc. She said, "Oh! Let me get that!"

We waited.

She came back with four urine-soaked fleece toys and a plastic clip - "are these yours?" I replied the toys were, the clip was not, and we are still missing the black duffle bag....with all of our names on it...and a plastic container also marked with our names on it. She gets a worried look on her face and said, "oh - someone found that yesterday!"

We wait 15 minutes, and she comes out with the bag and the plastic container inside. We say thanks, and we leave.

As we're walking out to my car, I notice that the toys are SATURATED in urine. I had told them, "if the toys get ruined or destroyed, just discard them -we make our own." How they didn't smell the dripping urine from them - I don't know. So we were wondering - how did the toys (inside toys) get saturated with urine? Were they taking our kids out regularly as they promised? It smelled like Grimm's urine (sounds weird, but Grimm's intact so ... you know) and Grimm refuses to have ANY accidents in the house to the extent of doing a tinkle dance by the door if we're not fast enough.

I plan on calling the boarding manager tomorrow and discussing my concerns, but I'm aggravated. Kinda makes me wonder if we should just pay the increase and go back to the 15 hour access outside place.
 

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What an awful experience. It is so difficult because the dogs can't tell us what happened.

I would have been furious if the toys were returned with urine. They were probably like that the whole time. Poor Grimm.

If you've had good experiences at the other place, I would stick with them. We always include the boarding fees as part of our vacation budget. It's expensive, but it's worth the peace of mind and more importantly, for the dogs.

Let us know what the boarding manager says.
 

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Sorry to hear about your problems! My experiences with boarding/daycare have not been very good so I always use a petsitter instead if possible. For example when we went to Maine we were going to stay near NYC for one night and we wanted to see the city. We were going to get in to the area in the morning and couldn't check in to the B&B until the evening so I decided to use a dog daycare for the day. I researched them ahead of time and made a reservation with one that was supposed to be good. Ginger hated it and the worst part was when we went to pick her up she smelled horrible! They'd asked if I wanted her to be bathed before pick up but I said no because she was perfectly clean, but I should have said yes because the stink when we picked her up was awful. I have no idea why she smelled so bad. She was never one to wrestle with other dogs or roll in smelly stuff so that couldn't have been how she got dirty. I ended up having to buy a waterless shampoo and stop before we got to the bed and breakfast to "wash" her because we couldn't check in with a smelly dog!
I once boarded my terrier mix when I went on vacation. I took him to a place where my parents used to board the family's dog. I should have toured it before making a reservation but I thought I knew the place, but apparently they changed since then. The runs were all concrete with no a/c and I have a feeling the dogs never were taken out for walks. They did not allow people to bring their dog's bed or toys and they charged a daily fee if you wanted a dog bed provided. Otherwise the dog has to sleep on the concrete floor, which was not an option because my dog had a bad hip and arthritis.
 

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The new place can't keep track of your dogs' stuff; their things were returned covered in urine and you're "wondering" if the price difference is worth it?

How do you even know if your dogs were fed their own meals and not Purina Dog Chow that some other owner brought in?

If a boarding kennel can't keep track of your dog's stuff, that is, to me, a HUGE red flag that it's disorganized and poorly run, at best, and that your dogs may be in jeopardy, at worst.

How do we know that they keep track that all dogs have vaccines? How do we know that they keep dogs separate? That the staff don't decide for themselves that "it might be nice" for some of the dogs to play together? Every few months, here on the news, we hear of a kennel (and last month, a veterinary office) that LOSES a dog. (Yes, our news here is pretty slow...) . How does this happen? Not being very well organized.

My dogs train at a facility that also houses a kennel. We spend a lot of time training there, so I see how the kennel operates. They spend so much time entering everything into their computer system (including an inventory of what is brought in, what the dog eats, medical issues, etc-- and every family dog has his own file). Dogs have to be signed in (with emergency numbers where someone can be reached) and signed out. All of this is on top of a very detailed form that you fill out when you first sign up for services. They never rush, no matter how many people are waiting. It's very methodical and organized.

If a kennel can't keep track of toys or a duffel bag, they may have a hard time keeping track of dogs -- some of which squirm, jump or bolt when a run gate is opened by a stranger who holds zero authority over the dog.

I'm sorry you had a bad experience here, Shel. But this bad experience should be a flashing red light that says RUN. RUN AWAY FAST!

There are good kennels out there. Some trainers take dogs into their homes for overnight, weekend or longer stays. Many pet sitters will do overnights at your home. Maybe you can hire a college or grad student to stay at your home (This was a gold mine when I was in college and grad school. Stay at someone's house almost all day and night and get PAID to do it? Absolutely!)

But please just walk away from that facility. You can talk to the manager about how angry you are. But don't waste too much breath. They won't change. And you shouldn't go back there.

 

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Please take your dogs somewhere else! the urine soaked toys tells the story
the misplaced & disorganized stuff just corroborates my suspicions ...

I've seen alot of vets that do boarding BUT unless they have a dedicated staff person (to the boarding area), your dogs will only get attention when the clinic is 'slow': if the clinic is busy, they will get a 2minute potty walk morning & night, maybe a couple minutes in the day.

When you go back in, ask for details such as who walked the dogs, who fed the dogs, exactly what was the schedule followed for each dog etc

Since they didn't tell you <u>in advance </u>about the additional sunday pick up charge, ask for a credit in that amount (or your money back if you think that may be a possibility) - talk to the boarding manager & then ask to speak with the vet who actually owns the clinic (or your vet).
 

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I definitely would not board at the vet's office again and I would seriously be thinking about finding a different vet.

Think about touring some different boarding kennels in your area. I've found one that I just love and it's worth every penny.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Originally Posted By: 3K9MomThe new place can't keep track of your dogs' stuff; their things were returned covered in urine and you're "wondering" if the price difference is worth it?

How do you even know if your dogs were fed their own meals and not Purina Dog Chow that some other owner brought in?
My vent was trying to find a different place to board our dogs altogether - neither the first place nor the second place. The first place sent Cash home with crusted urine on him which was one of the main reasons we changed.

I know the second time they weren't fed Purina because my dogs don't recover well from diet changes. However, the fact that they fed "house kibble" annoyed me. The Vet's office houses the boarding facility, but the boarding facility is a separate business run by a different person (if that makes sense.)

As for trying to charge us more at pick up, when she gave us our total, I told them, "It should only be $108 for two days as we were told by [boarding manager] when we started boarding here that there was no charge for pick up on Sunday." The person that checked us out was okay with that, but said, "just remember for the future."

I contacted a friend of mine who had me call her trainer and see where she boards her dogs when she goes out of town (we live in the same area.) I found the place, and I sent an e-mail last night asking for info. The location feeds THEIR dogs raw as well, and it says on their website, "no problems feeding special diets." So we'll see what they say.

I plan on stopping by the boarding place at the Vet's on my way home from work to speak to the boarding manager and voice my concerns as well.
 

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UPDATE: A friend of mine whose dog does agility told me about a place 6 miles from us that "everyone in my class recommended I tell you about."

It's a couple that have always had dogs got tired of boarding facilities and their "quirks" so they went out, bought a horse farm, and turned it into dog training/boarding Heaven.

They only have a limited number of kennel runs - all have an attached run outside, all have Kuranda beds. The play area is a warm-up ring that has dog-friendly fencing. They also made an indoor training ring for obedience and agility, and outdoor training ring for obedience and agility (larger former horse ring,) and, get this, dock diving and doggie swimming pool. They have agility and dock-diving lessons, too.

I shot them an e-mail, and I got a lengthy reply. We're going to see the facility probably tomorrow after work and chit chat with them. They said they have "no problems feeding RAW" as many of their "clients' agility dogs eat RAW" so they have a separate RAW fridge in the kennel area.
 

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Sounds fantastic




Quote:The Vet's office houses the boarding facility <snip>
I'd definitely let them know what happened (letter or email with no response required) - alot of people will use this facility because of the association with the vet clinic so I'd assume the vet wants a 'tenant' that creates happy clients ...
 

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SouthernThistle said:
It's a couple that have always had dogs got tired of boarding facilities and their "quirks" so they went out, bought a horse farm, and turned it into dog training/boarding Heaven.
The above came with great reviews. I went and saw them last week, and the woman seemed great. I saw the indoor runs, and I saw the attached outdoor runs. I told her, "they are both puppies, and they like to wrestle/play tug, etc." she said, "oh well there's no problem there. We know how rough puppies can play. We're dog people."

"They're fed a raw diet. We pre-package and label their meals with the date, AM or PM, and their names. We also give them Vit E, Fish Oil, and a blob of yogurt, but we always print out feeding instructions as well."

"That's fine. Many of our boarders feed raw so we're definitely familiar with it."

I take her out to my car, and I introduce her to both dogs. She said, "okay see you Saturday!"

We drop the dogs off for overnight boarding. We give her the printed instructions:

Grimm: AM and PM feedings (same): 1 x bag of raw meal, 2 x Fish Oil caplets, 1 x Vit E caplet, 1 TB plain yogurt.

Gidget: AM and PM feedings (same): 1 x bag of raw meal, 1 x Fish Oil caplet, 1 x Vit E caplet, 1 TB plain yogurt.

They both play rough - not aggressive. Potty regularly. If toys are soiled or damaged, just discard - no worries.

We go over the above instructions with her. She even enters the info in the computer and reads it back to us.


We drop them off, and while we're completing everything, the owner asks, "and what time will you be picking them up on Sunday?"

"What time are you guys available for pick up? What time do you open?"

"We open at 4pm."

"Okay - well we'll see you at 4 then."

****** Pick Up today at 4pm ******

Andrew looks at invoice, and it says, "extended check out." He asks what that is for. She replies, "any pick up after 2pm is charged an extended check out." Andrew says, "we asked you what time you opened and when we could pick up, and you said 4pm."

"Well, anytime after 2pm, including Sundays, is charged an extended pick up."

"What is this note here? Excessive play?"

"Yes, well. The two of them. They play excessively."

"Did they do anything bad? Were either one of them hurt? What happened?"

"Well...it's just really something you need to keep an eye on. They can get pretty rowdy."

(Yes, we know this. We told you this when we came to check out the place. Neither one of them hurt each other - they just play, and then they get pooped and pass out on each other. Standard puppy stuff!)

We see that there are vitamin E capsules and fish oil capsules left. (I had them measured out for each meal - exactly.) "Why are there leftover capsules?"
"Oh - there are?"
"Yes. They were actually pre-measured for them."
"Gosh - I don't know. I'm sorry."

(What the heck?!)

We asked for two playtimes for both of them...only one playtime was given.....to GRIMM. Gidget never got out of the run unless she went outside on her own. (Maybe because she's a Pit Bull? which they knew about before we dropped them off there.)

This place came highly recommended - we read their BBB ratings. We read their online ratings. A dog trainer at a training facility (where they also board) said, "shhh, I board my dogs there...not here."

What gives? Our dogs are not hellions. They're easy to take care of. We would have had our friend nearby come take care of them, but she was gone this weekend. We give them typed out feeding instructions that are NOT difficult to follow.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
P.S. I am more than open to ideas on what YOU guys do when you board your dogs and need to leave feeding instructions. Is there any particular format you write the information down for others to read? Is there a certain way I need to break down my instructions? I don't think it's that difficult, but apparently it is :(
 

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I have not boarded very often but when I have boarded or had someone watching my dogs at home, I usually put the supplements in with the food if possible. I measure out each meal into a separate baggie and put the supplements in the baggie with the meal (assuming you have a dog who will take the supplements that way.) Then I mark each baggie with a day of the week plus AM or PM and the dog's name. If the supplements can't be mixed with the food ahead of time I put them in a separate baggie marked AM or PM and the day of the week.
 

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Andrew looks at invoice, and it says, "extended check out." He asks what that is for. She replies, "any pick up after 2pm is charged an extended check out." Andrew says, "we asked you what time you opened and when we could pick up, and you said 4pm."

"Well, anytime after 2pm, including Sundays, is charged an extended pick up."
What the heck!

Now you're scaring me. I've been looking for a place to leave my 2 guys when I go to Germany to pick up my puppy this summer. :shocked:
 

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after reading your post there's no question, you should definitely
go back to the old place. you should report the new place to the authorities.

I plan on calling the boarding manager tomorrow and discussing my concerns, but I'm aggravated. Kinda makes me wonder if we should just pay the increase and go back to the 15 hour access outside place.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I have not boarded very often but when I have boarded or had someone watching my dogs at home, I usually put the supplements in with the food if possible. I measure out each meal into a separate baggie and put the supplements in the baggie with the meal (assuming you have a dog who will take the supplements that way.) Then I mark each baggie with a day of the week plus AM or PM and the dog's name. If the supplements can't be mixed with the food ahead of time I put them in a separate baggie marked AM or PM and the day of the week.
I do that already.

I don't mix the supplements with the food as they are capsules and prone to become sticky/dissolve when in contact with the moisture from the raw meat.

We take one baggie and put the vitamin E in it.
We mark on the baggie:

Grimm: (AM and PM) x 1
Gidget: (AM and PM) x 1

On the Fish Oil, we put them in a separate baggie, and mark:

Grimm: (AM and PM) x 2
Gidget (AM and PM) x 2

Then we pre-package their meals with their names, date, and AM or PM.

The worst part is I gave written instructions, AND she entered in the instructions to her computer before printing them out for whomever fed...and read them back to us before we signed off and left.

I like how the statement, "we asked what time we could pick them up, and you said 4pm," was answered with, "anytime after 2pm for pick up is an extra charge." We said it again, "but before we left them, and you asked us what time we were picking them up...and I asked what time we COULD pick them up....you said 4pm."........."anytime after 2pm for pick up is an extra charge."

Aggravation.

When I counted out the remaining Vit E and Fish Oils, they are the exact amount for one feeding so now I wonder if the kids missed a meal (?)
 

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I have worked at two kennels and I can tell you if I had seen the instructions you left I would have had no problem feeding your dogs they seemed very precise and left nothing to chance. I would recommend a pet sitter maybe for next time or possibly looking at some other places making sure you tour the place and ask lots and lots of questions.
 
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