Thursday, August 11, 2011

Keeping your dogs in the kennel for long periods of time...

Recently we went on an extended holiday in Europe and had to sort out the dogs and cats. We were gone for 47 days, and after much deliberation and angst we decided that the kennel was the best place for the dogs - that way we would know they were safe and wouldn't get into any bad habits. For the cats, we found a housesitter - for half the time. For the other half of the time we needed to use a pet sitting agency that sent someone around to feed them, take out the rubbish and bring in our mail.

The dogs stayed at The Paw House with Claire and Leigh. The dogs have stayed with them twice before, and they both really love dogs. All dogs. The dogs seem to enjoy it there as well. When we checked in they asked if the dogs wear coats, and I said that they probably would just take them off. They said they would try and give the dogs coats anyway but they would also get blankets to curl up in. They encouraged us to email them for an update when we were away, so we did. At that point, Bender wasn't wearing his coat, he kept taking it off, but Barbie was accepting hers. About a week after Leigh sent the email, Barbie started removing her coat, so now she is really really fluffy!

See! That is one fluffy greyhound butt! For those of you who don't have greyhounds, the butt area is where they often lose hair in kennel environments!

She does have a couple of flaky spots which Leigh pointed out to me before we left - one on her thigh, and there is one on her chest. He said he had been watching and hadn't seen her licking it so I am not that worried. I'm sure it will clear up with her indoor life but she will moult all of that beautiful fur she has grown too, so I will have to make the most of it.

Understandably, after 47 days they were very happy to see us.

As we left though, it seemed that the dogs were quite attached to Leigh. They both had eyes on him until we pulled out of sight. When we got home we didn't leash them, they both went straight to the front door and Barbie practically pushed past Nic to get inside. They both pranced around the house to investigate. Bender spent more time snuffling around as there were two people he didn't know in the house during the time we had been gone. Neither paid any attention to the cats. Froufrou got up in Barbie's face, and Barbie just ignored her. Bender almost trampled her as if she didn't exist. Both of the cats seemed a bit put out that the house, and the humans, were no longer exclusively theirs.

The cats were looked after for the first three weeks by a student who does housesitting. The cats took a little bit more time to get used to him because they are used to being in a house full of women. They seemed to do OK with him though and he gave us some email updates as well. After he moved onto his next housesit, Paws in the Park took over. The cats got plenty of cuddles and attention from Lauren, though they took over the house. There were no boundaries any more. When we got home, the cats were waiting in the window and they were hungry. They were both competing for attention, but Froufrou was still the boss. When we ignored them they started climbing all over the kitchen bench and walking along the TV cabinet like it was a normal thing for them to do. We had to start enforcing the rules again. They did interrupt our sleep a little when they decided they wanted attention - Mittens by sprinting into the room and jumping onto the bed, and Frou by doing these strange little meows until I told her to shut up.

Anyway, we have a few days now for everyone to settle back into life before we have to go back to work.

Now, I have decided that I will give a shout out to a new blog each Thursday. I am going to mention blogs that I like, blogs that are new, blogs that maybe don't have many followers yet. I want to introduce them to the pet blogger community that I have enjoyed so much.

So for this Thursday Blog Shoutout, it's 28 Legs!

While I've been away, Desma (who is the trainer who helped me get Barbie to get her Canine Good Citizen Award), has been working on her blog, 28 Legs. Desma is particularly interested in animals in film and TV, and she has gotten TV roles and ads for many of her animals. The latest one was an IKEA ad involving her Bengal cat, Gunny. Her dogs also do agility and tracking. Check it out and say hi!

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