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Boarding the Geriatric, Special Needs, Velcro Dog...advice

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  • Boarding the Geriatric, Special Needs, Velcro Dog...advice

    Thanksgiving break is coming up and unfortunately I have to fly home and am unable to take my senior (10+) special needs velcro dog with me. I am already worried for him and the thought of leaving him makes me want to cry.

    He's very attached to me and nervous in new situations. He doesn't do well in chaotic, loud, busy places. Plus, he is absolutely scared to death on storms but it's manageable by some ace. He is on pain medication for his back, incontinence medication, and is on a diet of cooked rice, chicken, and green beans as he won't eat dog food anymore. I'll have to cook a weeks worth of food and freeze half of it for them to save and thaw out / warm up for the later half of the week. Recently he's had trouble even keeping that down so another vet visit may be in our future, but that's a whole 'nother story. He's been having small "focal seizures" too ontop of everything else, which we are all just keeping an eye on for now.

    I've tried to pick out a boarding place for him that, from what I could tell on my tours, is the most low key/relaxed/quiet environment. Most of my options around here are vet offices, unless I wanted him in a 3' x 4' kennel in a noisy, busy, "pet resort". That place isn't an option anymore for a variety of reasons in addition to those.

    When I dropped him off with the 'doggie spa' for a bath on Friday, he wouldn't leave the lobby with the lady. I had to go out to my truck and he tried to follow me out. He was visibly nervous when I picked him up.

    I worry for him when I have to leave him for a week. I worry that he is going to be scared to death in a kennel. I think I'm most worried that he won't eat while there, and with the weight he's already lost he can't afford to lose more.

    I've been asking friends to find out if anyone is staying in town for the holiday but everyone so far is going home. I had an offer by our human resources lady to watch him for the week but she decided to go out of town herself, so that's a no-go.

    How do I make things as low stress, comfortable, and smooth as possible?
    "People ask me 'will I remember them if I make it'. I ask them 'will you remember me if I don't?'"

  • #2
    Is there a reason you can't get a pet sitter so he can stay in your house? There must be pet sitters at Thanksgiving who are happy to make a ton of money watching pets whose parents need to go out of town.
    I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry

    Comment


    • #3
      We are lucky to have a boarding facility local to us that is also a vet clinic. The boarding area houses about 100 dogs, and there are "rooms" rather than kennels for them. They each get a nice cushy bed, a window to the outside, enough room to walk around etc. There is also video surveillence where YOU can log in and see what your dog is doing 24.7. Although Im sure its more for the owner than the dog, maybe a situation like this would be ideal for your dog so he wont feel like he's in a kennel environment? Or....like the above poster mentioned, have someone housesit?

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      • #4
        Someone to stay with him? I know that is so much more expensive, but peace of mind would be worth it? I know I dread making plans in advance as I never know which geriatric might be struggling one month from now. Holidays are hard for sure.
        Last edited by Kachina; Nov. 3, 2012, 11:57 PM. Reason: sp

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        • #5
          Drive and bring him with? MS to VA is one day-I've done it. Good luck whatever you decide. You're a good Mom!

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          • #6
            My pet sitter is waaaaaaay less expensive than boarding my various critters. She does not stay overnight, but comes over several times a day, and that is just fine for everyone. She's $20/$30 ish a day, depending on how complicated things are. I pay her more than she asks (I think her actual rates are $10/$15/day?)

            Ask your favorite vet for pet sitter recommendations. They will likely have someone who works there who does that sort of work.

            Comment


            • #7
              Milo, I don't know where you are in VA, but I will be moved to VA by next weekend and I know I will be there over Thanksgiving. The kids are coming out and I'll be making TDay dinner, but I will be around. If you're within a reasonable distance, I would be happy to take care of him in your home. But I can't overnight with him as I need to be home with my family.

              I worked in veterinary medicine for about 10 years, have done lots of pet sitting for special needs critters, and as you know, have experience dealing with my own special needs critter.

              I would not board a pet in your situation. I personally would not go home if I couldn't find someone to care for him in an environment he's comfortable in--ie: home. I'm afraid that even the best boarding facility just isn't going to be a good fit for his situation.

              I know it would suck to not go home for the holiday, but I would be worried that he could deteriorate greatly over the course of a week. If you are set on boarding, then I would plan on boarding with a vet clinic who is equipped to handle his medical needs and deal with any issues that may arise.
              A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

              Might be a reason, never an excuse...

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8

                Originally posted by Kachina View Post
                Drive and bring him with? MS to VA is one day-I've done it. Good luck whatever you decide. You're a good Mom!
                Im going to upstate NY for thanksgiving and it's a 22 hr drive, otherwise I would.

                I'll look into in home pet sitters... I don't know if we have any around here but I would gladly pay extra for peace of mind.
                "People ask me 'will I remember them if I make it'. I ask them 'will you remember me if I don't?'"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by BuddyRoo View Post
                  Milo, I don't know where you are in VA, but I will be moved to VA by next weekend and I know I will be there over Thanksgiving. The kids are coming out and I'll be making TDay dinner, but I will be around. If you're within a reasonable distance, I would be happy to take care of him in your home. But I can't overnight with him as I need to be home with my family.

                  I worked in veterinary medicine for about 10 years, have done lots of pet sitting for special needs critters, and as you know, have experience dealing with my own special needs critter.

                  I would not board a pet in your situation. I personally would not go home if I couldn't find someone to care for him in an environment he's comfortable in--ie: home. I'm afraid that even the best boarding facility just isn't going to be a good fit for his situation.

                  I know it would suck to not go home for the holiday, but I would be worried that he could deteriorate greatly over the course of a week. If you are set on boarding, then I would plan on boarding with a vet clinic who is equipped to handle his medical needs and deal with any issues that may arise.
                  You're so sweet to offer that.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Shoot, you're in MS not VA. I was just looking at the location in your profile. Sorry, sometimes I'm a little slow.
                    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                    Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Could you check with your local vets and see if maybe one of their vet techs would be willing to stay at your house with him or maybe at least make a few visits during the day .
                      I could never leave my old dog at a boarding situation. I would use a pet sitter or house sitter or stay home.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'd definitely ask at local vets. I know several vet techs who house sit on the side. It's quite common!

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Buddyroo, thats very kind of you to offer. But yes, I am in MS unfortunately.

                          I've done a google search and haven't had much luck with pet sitters. However, the new vet I am using shows several boarding options on their website, to include individual kennels indoors or "doggy suites" in a private room w/ a window. That may be my next best option if I can't find someone to stay in home. The office isn't open on Sundays but I will call them first thing tomorrow to get more information about their boarding options and also ask if any of their techs do pet sitting.
                          "People ask me 'will I remember them if I make it'. I ask them 'will you remember me if I don't?'"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I picked up the majority of my pet sits from clients at the vet clinic, so I bet you will have some luck there.

                            You might also check CL. I've heard good things about this group too: http://www.petsit.com/
                            A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                            Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              *Sigh* we'll see if we make it through these next few weeks to Thanksgiving. I'll update in his continual "Old Dog Problems" thread.
                              "People ask me 'will I remember them if I make it'. I ask them 'will you remember me if I don't?'"

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                If you keep your horses at a barn, ask the barn staff. Several of my pet-sitters have been barn workers. They also tend to be around during holidays because, of course, someone has to take care of the horses. If you have larger barns in your area, go around to them and pin up a "want" ad for a pet sitter.
                                I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  If your vet does boarding, the staff might not be allowed to mention that they pet sit.
                                  If so, you could try asking at other vets who dont board. Groomers and trainers could also pet sit or know somebody who does. Second the idea of asking at the barn too.
                                  I found my petsitter through an ad and used her several times at lunchtime as much to establish a relationship as for real need. I am now comfortable that there is a reliable person (and she has backup) if I should need to be away for a few days.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Try "underfoot" boarding

                                    I used to pet sit and for some clients I still bring their dogs home to my house. They hang out (never more than 1 client's dogs at a time). There's always someone around and it works very well for special needs pets. You might also try Angie's List. Also google "in-home boarding".
                                    My only rule for visiting dogs is: don't chase the cats!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I'm so sorry that you are going through this and i hope you can find a solution. I use a pet sitter and book up to 6 months ahead. for example I've got t-giving and x-mass booked but need to find another sitter for spring break... fingers crossed for you.

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