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Dog Files Viewpoint: I’ll Be Back Soon!

By KatyBeth Jensen For The Dog Files

In several weeks, my son and I will head to Alaska on vacation.  My Jack Russell, Rascal, will be left behind for the first time with someone other than my husband or my mother.  After her initial shock at not coming along, Rascal probably won’t even notice I’m gone. Jack Russells are like that. On the other hand, I’m having terrible separation anxiety before I’ve even packed my first bag.  Rascal has slept next to me every night since we brought her home. On the rare occasions I have left her home overnight, she easily substituted my husband or mom as her sleeping partner. Jack Russells are like that. I, on the other hand, didn’t sleep worth a woof. When I tell my clients that I understand how hard it is to leave their pups, they know without a doubt that I do. 

As a professional pet spoiler and petprietor of Camp Run-A-Pup, I can share a few tips which might make it easier when you have to leave your pups behind.  

If you can find a reliable caregiver, your pups will be happiest at home. Here is the catch, though. Only leave your pups at home with your mother. Okay, if your mother is not available, then only consider friends you would trust with your car. 

Do not rely on the friend playing with your adorable Lab puppy in May when she says, “Oh, he can stay with me over 4th of July.” Your puppy will be bigger, splashing in his water bowls, turning your kitchen into a swimming pool, and using your work clothes as a beach towel.  Your friend will not be amused by these stories, and will suddenly be very busy. Have a back-up plan. 

While looking for the “next best place to home” for your pup’s vacation stay, here are few things to remember: 

  • Happy is not always possible. Safe and well-cared-for is. Your first consideration for leaving your pup when you travel is, “Will my pup be safe and well-cared-for?” 

  • It’s become common for boarding facilities to offer accommodations that include big screen TVs, water beds and music customized to your pup’s taste.  I don’t have a judgment about these a’ la carte offerings (ok, I do … I think they are silly) as long as you realize your pocketbook is being hijacked by guilt. Unlike people, a dog’s loyalty cannot be bought by big screen TVs unless buttered popcorn is included, and then only maybe. 

  • Take time to consider what will make your pup feel most secure while you are away.  If your pup is not social, don’t send him to spend ten days in a highly social environment, even if you think it sounds like fun to you. It won’t be fun for your pup. If your pup is a party animal and loves nothing more than to play with other dogs, a traditional kennel might be borrriiinnggg.  

  • Camp Run-A-Pup is not a crate-free environment. In my opinion, a crate-free environment would be like sending you to Las Vegas for three days without a hotel room. Every pup needs a special spot of their own. If a dog was crate-trained properly as a puppy, they will usually do fine in a crate in a new environment, even if it has been dog years since they have set paw in a crate.  When prospective clients make a reservation at camp, we discuss crating. If they are not comfortable with the idea of their pup spending some time in a crate, I offer them names of crate-free boarding accommodations.

  • Pups don’t have the same concept of time that we do.  Yes, I know your dog knows when it’s time to eat, go to bed or pick the kid up from school. This is based on routine, though, not the clock. Still not convinced, are you? Let me try again. If you go to the grocery store and are gone for one hour, your pup will greet you with unabashed enthusiasm. When you come home from being gone for the whole day, you are still greeted with the same unabashed enthusiasm. Why am I telling you this? To help you feel less anxious about the length of time you are leaving your pup. The most important thing is not that you leave, but that you come back. 

  • Skip the long goodbyes. Pat your pup, tell them you will be back soon, and GO. If you leave confidently, your pup can get his vacation off to a good start. If you are certain your pup is going to have a tail-wagging good time, he will believe you. 

  • Pups don’t forget their owners. I have campers staying with me for ten days, three months, and one camper from August through May. Never once has a pup forgotten their owner. True, your pup might love me, race to greet me, and be a happy camper, but trust me, he will always love you best. Always.

  • It won’t be easy to leave my pups when we head out on vacation, even for someone who knows without a doubt “they will be just fine.”  I will pack my bags, kiss their noses and announce, “We are going to have a great time!” Then I’ll tell them, “I’ll be back real soon,” shut the door quickly, and whisper to myself, “I’ll be back real soon.” 

    How do you deal with leaving your pups when you go on vacation? 

    Pats for pups!


    KatyBeth & Rascal

    KatyBeth & Rascal

    Katybeth is a professional pet spoiler, living in the Chicagoland area, running her own business, Camp-Run-A-Pup. Camp Run-A-Pup spoils other people’s pups, and they do it really well. Katybeth lives with and loves three dogs of her own, Rascal, a Parson’s Terrier (AKC recognizers her as a Parson’s; you might recognize her as a Jack Russell), Skippy, a Schipperke with a personality disorder, and Scooby, a beagle that might belong to a neighbor. Katybeth’s newest family star is Soquel’s Last Souvenire, or as they like to call her, Trinket, a show-stopping Doberman pup. Katybeth co-owns Trinket with her mom because she likes being on the winning side of the dog show arena and wanted the rights to tell the real unabridged stories of the oddities of dog showing. the movie Dog Show did not even come close to telling. Katybeth also enjoys writing her blog — My Odd Family. Dogs, dog people, dog shows and owning a dog business combined with hearth, home and family never leaves her at a loss for material to write about.

    Katybeth Jensen,PPS
    Professional Pet Spoiler