My dog, Willow, was in a boarding kennel for five days when we were away to visit family. We had nowhere else for her to stay and we were flying, so we couldn’t take her with us. She is a newer family member, so we’re still getting to know her.
I should have known that she wouldn’t do well in the kennel. Willow has some serious anxiety issues. Separation from her human pack leaves her worried about what’ll happen to her next.
Willow was treated for two days with IV fluid and antinausea medication for her dehydration. Her bloodwork was fine, her x-rays were fine, and besides being dehydrated, she was perfectly healthy. After we got home, Willow slowly started eating more and more until she was back to her regular self and eating her dry dog food, going for long walks and barking at the mailman when he comes around. She recently had her friend Mika over and also went with me this week to my friend’s farm and played with four other dogs. Needless to say, she is enjoying life again.
Some people were wondering why I didn’t have a local vet and why wouldn’t any emergency vet hospital see her that day. I wanted to clarify that Willow’s vet who lives two hours away is also her previous owner, and she is also my best friend’s daughter. Willow is a young, healthy dog and we’ve had her only a few months. She has all of her vaccines (can’t get into doggie daycare without them), has regular checkups, teeth cleaning, nail trimming, and I’m close with her previous owner/vet often and Willow gets to see her a lot too.
As far as no emergency vet hospital accepting her on a Saturday during the middle of the day, I was just as dumbstruck as the readers who made comments about this. Each place I called (and I called about five different places), gave various reasons why they couldn’t see Willow that day: they didn’t accept walk-ins (!!!), they were understaffed, they only accepted dogs who had been there before (again, !!!). I’d get referred to another emergency vet only to be denied from them too. The last straw was when I called a place about an hour away and they told me that they’d take her, but it would be about a 4-hour wait after I got there. That’s when I decided to drive for two hours to see Dee, her previous owner. A pet emergency isn’t that much of an emergency I guess if you have to wait 4–5 hours just to be seen.
Both Dee and I agreed that Willow probably thought she’d been abandoned, had major anxiety and made herself sick with grief and worry. I don’t think the boarding facility did anything wrong other than not giving her more snuggles and attention — Willow needs a lot of attention and love and she gets it at home, not so much at the boarding home.
We have not been back to the doggie day care/boarding facility. I spoke with the manager there and expressed my concern about Willow’s medical state when I picked her up. The manager went over with me the records of Willow’s stay there and her affect. Willow did well outside, not so great inside the kennel. I imagined she was probably nervous and sad, and that breaks my heart.
I was refunded a large portion of my money and given a couple of extra days for doggie daycare only. I told the manager that we wouldn’t have Willow boarded in the future, but she liked being in doggie daycare before this incident, and we've talked about Willow trying a day in the doggie daycare again and see how she manages it. I just can't do it. Every time I think about her going for the day to the doggy daycare, I look at her sweet face and realize she's more comfortable being home alone for the day.
Thank you everyone for your concern. Your comments are lovely and wonderful. I am a forever dog lover and owner, and am so happy that we still have sweet Willow in our lives.
If you're interested in reading the original story, here's the link.