A Vacation Fit for a Dog
Tips on finding the perfect place for your pooch, so you can have a guilt- free holiday
It’s that wonderful time of year again, and after weeks of planning and dreaming, you are so close to taking a vacation. You already made airline reservations for yourself, but your elation is suddenly replaced by panic when you realize you forgot one very important thing: Where will “Little Mandy” stay while you are away for two weeks? Mandy is your devoted Shih Tzu and truly part of your family. Most of us have at least one pet, and be it dog or cat, your pet’s safety and happiness is important to you.
If you can’t take Mandy with you on vacation, ask your local veterinarian about boarding services and check the Internet or Yellow Pages for pet facilities in your area. Once you have a list of kennels, take the time to visit each one you are considering before making a decision.
Here are some things you’ll want to inquire about during your tour. Ask to see where your pet will be kept and make sure the facility is clean. How many times a day are dogs taken out for exercise? It’s very important to know whether your pet will be confined to a small cage or have a roomier suite. Also, ask if your dog will have social time with other animals.
In the Fort Myers area, All American Pet Resorts is a pet- boarding facility that offers a safe and clean environment. “We are the newest facility in the area, and we are available 24 hours a day and seven
days a week for pet pick- up and drop- off to accommodate flight schedules,” says kennel manager, Iris Alvarenga. “Your pet will be in a cage- free environment and will have his own suite.”
All American Pet Resorts has two types of suites: deluxe and extra- large vacation suites. If you want your dog to have a television, webcam and telephone, then book the spacious Vacation Suite. Hopefully, your dog won’t make calls while there and only use the phone to listen to your voice when you call. In the Deluxe Suite, pets do not have a personal webcam, television or phone, but you can view them on the webcam in the common areas 24 hours a day. In the hot summer months, covered outdoor play areas are cooled with fans and custom misters for your pet’s comfort. All animals receive clean, fresh bedding, gourmet meals and daily playtime at no extra charge. Besides daycare and boarding, the resort offers grooming, so Mandy can have a trim or manicure while you’re gone.
Bonita Boarding Kennel and Pet Camp in Bonita Springs is home to a pet- boarding facility with all the amenities. Imagine 5,000 square feet of doggie heaven under roof, complete with air conditioning and heat to make your pet’s stay comfortable. You will have your choice of 4-, 6-, 8- or 10- foot air- conditioned cabins for your little darling to lounge in. Food, water and fresh bedding are provided regularly.
Although the facility has been in business for five years plus, Debi Braendley, one of the owners of the facility, says, “We recently moved to this location [ 9240 Brookwood Court], and all the cabins are newly constructed. We have eight outdoor play areas at Bonita Boarding Kennel, and each dog is exercised three times a day.” If your pet loves to play in water, you might want to include daily pool time for a fee. With some eight small pools for the doggies to romp in, this is a good addition particularly during hot summer days. Bonita Boarding Kennel also offers agility training and grooming.
The Preppy Pet, a franchise pet- boarding facility, has eight locations in Florida. Beverly Johnson and her husband Doug Anderson own the franchise in Leesburg, Florida. Pets sleep on colorful off- thefloor canvas beds, and the kennel has an open, high ceiling that creates a spacious feeling. The facility’s cleanliness and fresh- smelling air are impressive. Cats have their own special room, and dogs romp in outdoor play areas. The animals here seemed relaxed and happy, thanks to Anderson, who admits, “I have the best job in the world. I get to play
with the dogs every day, and it doesn’t get better than that.”
Often the least expensive facility is the veterinarian office, where the animals are usually kept in cages in a very small room. When visiting one, all the dogs began barking loudly and jumping around to get attention; the sound can be deafening. The attendant could barely be heard above the noise. Although not the ideal situation for an extended stay, the vet’s office is a safe alternative for an overnight. The dogs are let out three times a day for exercise and bodily functions, and it’s low cost. But if you need to leave your pouch
for two or three weeks, a boarding facility is the best way to go.
Regardless of where you choose to lodge your pet, you need to prepare in advance. All facilities require dogs to have up- to- date rabies, Bordetella, distemper and parvovirus vaccinations, as well as proof of flea and tick prevention. Cats are also required to have their designated vaccinations.
Now that you know some of your options, let’s get down to just how much it costs to board your pet. Daily rates at these facilities range from $ 16 to $ 65, depending on the size of the suite or cage. Some facilities have a basic charge and tack on additional fees for playtime, while others may include it at no extra cost. Be sure to ask if the price is all- inclusive or if there are charges for certain services.
If you find the perfect place for your pet, you’ll certainly enjoy a guilt- free vacation— and Mandy just might wish you stayed away a little longer.
Fresh air and open sky keep dogs happy in this outdoor play area at Bonita Boarding Kennel and Pet Camp.
Preppy Pet boarding facilities provide ample space for dogs and cats to stretch and move about freely.
Big house, little dog. This Chihuahua at Bonita Boarding Kennel poses for his cute portrait.
The air- conditioned cabins at Bonita Boarding Kennel come in various sizes to accommodate small, medium and large dogs.