Around the holidays, we all tend to get stressed out. There's all kinds of parties to prepare for, family to visit and host, and shopping to be done. Sure, the holidays can be tons of fun for you and your pet, especially in San Diego, with pet festivals and parades, Petco costume contests and countless christmas yappy hours, but what happens when you have to go away?
I recently experienced this when I had to leave my French Bulldog Bleu for 10 days when I traveled back east for the holidays. Normally, I take quick weekend trips or don't travel at all, but this year, I decided to take advantage of my holiday break and do something different. If you have a spouse, boyfriend, trusted friend, roommate, sibling, or family member close by that will watch your dog while your away, then that is ideal. Another option is asking your daily dog walker if they do overnight pet sitting. Unfortunately, mine was unavailable.
For me, I don't have anyone I can trust, and no one close by that I can leave him with.
So, I was stuck in a dilema. What do I do with my high anxiety dog for 10 days? The best option for Bleu my Frenchie would have been to keep him in his own environment where he felt most comfortable. However, I had just moved into a new place right before I was leaving, and nothing was set up for him. I had no furniture and boxes were everywhere. I thought about using sites like Rover.com or dogvacay.com, but I became weary and unsure about leaving my home and doggy to strangers. Nothing seemed like the right solution. I'm sure some of these sites are very trustworthy, but I am just a paranoid dog parent.
Then I started researching overnight dog boarding facilities in San Diego. Let me tell you now: they are not all created equal. Many are cage-free, and for a French bulldog, this is not the healthiest solution because they can overplay and get exhausted if they are staying there for a long time. My dog will not sleep and relax if other dogs are around him. He will just want to play constantly. Most doggy daycare tout "cagre-free" as a perk, but to me, it is not ideal for my breed, who has breathing problems and other medical issues.
I checked out numerous places. The ones I looked at had rooms that were stacked on top of each other and super small like a kennel. Others only had outdoor play during the day and I wanted Bleu to stay indoors where it was temperature controlled. I called Fido and Company in Hillcrest and spoke with co-owner Carla, who is also a vet technician. I instantly felt at ease with her. She understand my concerns and accommodated my dog as if he was her own. Bleu got his own private room and I got to bring his bed, toys, and food bowls with him for maximum comfort. He got to play with other doggies his size during the day, and the staff made sure to give him many "breaks" during the day so he would not overplay. They even posted a festive holiday pick on Facebook of him and his doggy friends that I could view while I was away:
The result? Bleu came home after 10 days a little neurotic from being away from his dog mom, but rested and happy and most importantly, healthy! It took him about three days to settle back into his routine at my condo, but we are back to little italy living and loving it. He does have suitcase-a-phobia now though. When I went to unpack, he started dry heaving. Apparently the mere sight of my suitcase makes his tummy rumble. I guess that's what happens when your dog loves you that much.