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Travel Tribulations

Some of you might remember being able to just take off for the weekend, or for a two-week vacation, but that was before you had dogs. When you have just one dog, maybe two, it’s not really that bad. If you’re driving, you can probably take him, her, or them with you. If you’re flying, or going somewhere they’re unable to go, then you let grandma keep them or perhaps you board them.

But life is a lot different when you have eight, 10, or 15 dogs in the house. I don’t have enough friends to place 10 dogs at one time for a vacation — well, not friends who are sufficiently dog-savvy for me to be willing to ask them. And I certainly can’t afford to board them (not that I would, but I had to say it). What to do, what to do?

Our solution has long been to have somebody come live at our house while we’re gone, possibly placing one or two of the trouble-makers with one of our Sheltie Rescue colleagues. But that has its own set of problems. Most commercial house-sitting organizations won’t sit a house with any dogs, much less a pack that large. Most pet-sitting operations either won’t live at your house, won’t care for that many dogs, or both. Even when we find one that is reluctantly willing to consider the job, sticker shock is overwhelming. How about $35/day/dog? Don’t know about you, but $350/day is a tad over my petsitting budget!

Not to mention the fact that you’ve got to trust the organization and individual(s) to live in your house, with your stuff, with your four-legged family members, and not trash the joint, steal everything not nailed down, leave the doors unlocked, bring their girlfriends/boyfriend/homies over, forget to feed everybody at the right times (worse, forget to give them their medications), and…well, you get the idea.

We’ve been incredibly fortunate. In our twenty-someodd years of having this to worry about, we’ve almost always found trustworthy individuals who are sufficiently experienced and sufficiently empathetic with rescue to do the job exactly as we need it done for a price that has to be called “reverse sticker shock”. Oh, once in a while, we’ve had some less-than-perfect sitters. There was the time when a petsitter who had come with pretty good recommendations broke our waterbed and left used condoms all over the house — no, I’m not kidding! There was the petsitter who let her boyfriend take my motorcycle out for the weekend…and also left broken wine glasses (two of them) in the bottom of my hot tub!

But, overall, we’ve had some real winners — no sarcasm, seriously, winners. Several of our pet sitters over the years have been veterinary students, or even vet techs. That’s comforting, especially in a house full of seniors. Right now, our pet sitter is a young lady who is considering making a business out of it (but who swears she will continue sitting for us at the rock-bottom…and below…rates she charges us now). She’s not only extremely reliable, madly in love with our dogs and our cat, and equally loved by them all, she’s always willing to go that extra mile…like driving us to and picking us up from the airport (yes, of course we give her more money for that, but it’s cheaper than a taxi and a whole lot friendlier).

And, no, I’m not going to tell you her name, ’cause I don’t want you trying to tempt her away from us. But, if she decides to make a business out of it, I will put a link in here to help her…and maybe you…out a bit.

On this day..

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