top of page

Kennel Woes

Alrighty, here goes a topic completely unrelated to writing or marketing: doggies.

As some/most of you may know, I’m happily blessed to have two dogs: Achilles (my wonderful Siberian husky) and Zeus (my adorable black lab). They’re 3 & 8, respectively, and I love these two to death!

Me and my fiancé, when looking for a house, settled for one outside of the city due to the large backyard. So they’ve always had space, and they love it. We avoid putting them in kennels due to two reasons:

1. They always come home harmed in some way or another and

2. The kennel/dog hotel people always try to convince us to neuter them.

Yes, I have 2 very male, very NOT neutered dogs – a fact that most people find “complex” to understand. My reasons for not neutering them are as much based in logic, as compassion. Yes, I’ve read most of the material on the benefits of it – and the secondary effects. It’s simply something we decided was not for us, and quite honestly, everyone trying to convince us otherwise is annoying. To each their own, right?

Our dogs are fully trained, they live well with each other, they’re socialized with other dogs – in short, they’re healthy, lovable pups.

Anyway, so yes, we avoid boarding them. One particular trip to Toronto, we had no choice but to leave them at Petsmart hotel – came back to Zeus and an allergic reaction.

It has been a year since we had to board them, and rather unfortunately, with the wedding, we had to do a long 4 day trip to Toronto for our wedding preparations. Seeing as it’s 6 hours away from our lovely capital, we boarded the dogs with a kennel nearby. We loved the promise of it, as the dogs would have their own enclosure and private back yard, in the middle of nowhere, with lots of places to run around.

And it was wonderful! The pics on the website show them having a great time, and we were relieved.

Then we went to pick them, to find out Achilles, our youngest, had a hard time the entire time he was there. He kept trying to escape – of course, he’s a Husky, mind you! – and was very vocal about being there. Despite the fact he was together with Zeus, he took it hard. Of course, we were told it might be a good idea to neuter them, etc., etc., etc.

Brought the dogs back home, and then of course had to go to work… It wasn’t until later that same day, in the evening, that I realized Achilles was acting strange. He was squeamish, jumpy, every noise startled him. He barely ate or drank water, and he refused to go outside in his beloved backyard. We called the vet, of course, and they said sometimes dogs undergo stressing times at kennel, and to just give him a couple of days.

From my experience with both my current dogs, and previous dogs I raised as a child, I firmly believe something – coyote, aggressive rogue dog – came within the vicinity of the kennel’s back yard, and spooked the crap outta my baby. Zeus, my lab, was perfectly fine – but then again, he’s always been fine, and he’s very forward with other dogs, puts them in their place easily.

That being said, the couple of days of waiting turned into a week, until Achilles finally got back to himself. During this time, it took a lot of coaxing: feeding him food by hand, water through a little baby bottle, taking him on walks, slowly re-introducing him to the backyard, and being very very patient and allowing him to shadow my every movement.

Thankfully, the hard work paid off, and this morning he was back to his usual self. But I don’t believe I’ve ever gone through such stress myself – constantly alternating between wanting to call the kennel and flip at them, and blaming myself for leaving them in the kennel.

Now that my puppy’s ok, I’m less angry, but still wary of ever leaving them alone again. For sure, I’m done test-driving different kennels, expecting them to have a wonderful, no worries stay there. – apparently, it’s too much to ask for. Yes, I may be expecting too much, but for the amount of money most kennels charge nowadays… I don’t think it is.

To conclude, I'm not saying this particular kennel is bad. Nor that they ruined my dogs. I'm venting about the fact that nowadays, all kennels/boarding hotels seem to be so focused on the perfect package, that the actual dog care gets forgotten. I wish I knew how many of the people owning these places actually have training in dog psychology and dealing with animals in general...

Any comments? Have you guys had similar experiences with your pets?

Featured Posts