It seems hard to believe but now that the summer boarding rush is over, we are already preparing for the holidays!
Hounds Town gets very busy before Thanksgiving and doesn’t let up until after the new year. We always have a mixed group of seasoned campers and brand new pups at each of our facilities. I figured now that everyone is settling into their new fall routines, I would take a minute to give everyone a general list of items to bring for their pooch, regardless of where they spend their winter holidays.
Always pack more food than you think they’ll need, especially if your pet requires difficult to find or very specific food. Some dogs, due to all the activity, eat more with us than usual so that makes it particularly important to bring more than they might normally eat.
A collar and leash with their name on it.
You know how the holidays are crazy for you? Well they are for your pet care provider as well. That black leash and blue collar may look different to you but when it comes in with three other customers who have dogs wearing the same outfit - it’s an itemizing nightmare for staff. Take a little sharpie marker and doodle their name on the inside of their stuff.
A toy they carry around or a chewy they like to sleep with.
It may seem small to you, but if your dog has a sleeping routine at home, we like to continue with that routine when they are with us. They feel more secure and it helps us bond with them when we put them to bed at night. I always recommend, particularly for our new boarders, to bring in something from home that smells familiar.
Maybe a fluffy towel. A nice squishy pillow. Even a cozy t-shirt that you wear for an hour or two so it smells like you. Please PLEASE don’t consider anything beyond those items. Boots you wore during that Appalachian trail hike you two took together is not necessary.
If you are like most people, you have a particular bag that you use for your doggie gear. And you better believe Fido knows that bag and knows what it means. Now depending on the dog, they can react any number of ways to seeing that bag come out. They can pee on it. They can rip it apart. Or, as in a case last week, they can decide to do a little packing for themselves. We have a new customer who brought her pup in for his first stay and she had meticulously packed his bag. He had everything a dog could want for a month in that bag. The staff didn’t go through his bag in her presence; they simply checked him in, assured her all would be well and went about introducing the new guy around.
About an hour later I heard a blood curdling scream, the likes of which I hope to never hear again. Evidently Fido felt he needed his owner’s underwear - no wait …her dirty underwear…ok, no…her very dirty underwear…actually, radioactive, should’ve come in a biohazard container, dirty underwear - to feel completely comfortable with us and we presume buried them in his bag for a poor unsuspecting staff member to find. We were laughing, we were screaming, we were retching - it was a huge scene among the three of us present. Once the hysteria subsided, the staff looked to me as to how to handle this.
The owner was long gone and most likely had no idea her skivvies were now the source of extreme horror and discussion at Hounds Town. I opted to not mention it to her. She’s new, she doesn’t know us and I saw no reason to embarrass her on her first go around with us. (although if she did discover them upon him returning home and hoped we didn‘t find them, she now knows from reading this blog we did. Sorry about that but I simply had to use that experience as a tool to educate other pet owners. And also because it really is funny if you think about it.)
I will freely admit I wished it was a regular customer that happened to because:
a) it wouldn’t have been so gross and,
b) it would’ve been the joke of the year (Just today I told Kathi Lee, Dozer‘s mom and a regular customer, that I would‘ve loved more than anything to tell her Dozer was cross dressing - not that there‘s anything wrong with that.)
Alas, it was not. But there is a lesson to be learned here: CHECK THE DOG BAG BEFORE YOU LEAVE. If you have a dog who is a panty raider, you can bet a pair of your drawers were put in that bag. :)