Friday, April 15, 2016

10 Reasons Why We Would Never Board Our Kids

With summer approaching, people are already posting about upcoming booked vacations and other summer plans. It won't be long until casual conversations with other people will include the infamous question, "Have you got any exciting plans for the summer?" Nope. We don't. We haven't in years. That's not going to change this year or next year.

The conversation tends to flow into the topic of "why?" We've got 3 kids. That's the only explanation needed. Occasionally were informed of options if we should ever change our mind.

"There are lots of great boarding facilities. I've taken my dog to (insert facility) and they're great. The prices are reasonable too."

I'm grateful for the referral, and I'm aware of a few reputable boarding facilities, however, there isn't a cell in our bodies that would even consider boarding our kids. Ever.

Here's why...

1. Trust. I can count on one hand how many people we trust with our kids. The few we do trust, we've known them for years. They've been around our kids. Our kids adore them. If there was ever an emergency where Lisa and I had to be away from home for more than a few hours, I would trust these people to come into our home and check on our kids.

2. We don't know you. Whether you're the owner of the facility or part of the staff, I don't know you. Our kids don't know you. Meeting you one time, to check out your facility and take a walk through, doesn't cut it. You're strangers to us and our kids.

3. You don't know our kids. Maybe you have 20 years experience with dogs under your belt. Maybe you've owned your boarding facility for 10 years, have boarded thousands of pups and have an impeccable reputation. I applaud your experience and commitment to providing excellent service. However, you know nothing about our kids. They've got big personalities. Two of them get scared easily. One gets overwhelmed easily. He doesn't like loud noises. The list goes on.

4. The overnight. A lot of boarding facilities don't have an overnight person. That translates to pups being left alone. A lot can happen on the overnight. What if there's a thunderstorm? Who's going to be there to hold Sophie? She's terrified of storms. What if one of our kids has a sudden health issue? Our kids have never been left alone on the overnight. In fact, on the overnight, they're in bed, sleeping and snuggling with Lisa.

5.  Unfamiliar environment. We've lived in our home for almost 4 years. This is the only home they've ever lived in after we adopted them. Putting our kids in an unfamiliar environment to play, sleep and temporarily reside while we vacationed would not be a positive experience for them.

6. Where did our Moms go? When Lisa goes away on the overnight, our kids get a little stressed out. I can tell they're worried. When they hear a car door slam outside, they run to the door thinking it's Lisa. I can't even think about what our kids would go through if we left them at a boarding facility for any length of time. They'd be confused and looking for us. They wouldn't understand what's going on or that we were coming back. On top of that, they're in a strange place with people and other pups they don't know. Their stress level would blow through the roof. They've never been without us.

7. Things that make me go Hmmmmm. Years ago, when we checked out boarding facilities to help a friend out, there were a few that didn't leave me with a warm fuzzy feeling and I was baffled by various things. One facility had a base boarding fee. Then, they had a menu of other options like 30 minutes of one on one time with a staff or extra playtime outside. Each of these had a price. At another facility, the office where the person on duty stayed at was a good distance away from the fenced in area where multiple pups played outside. There was no supervision. No thank you.

8. The unexpected. It doesn't matter how much experience you have or how long you've owned your facility, accidents happen. I've heard about scuffles that have caused injury, pups getting loose, etc. We're not willing to put our kids at risk.

9. We wouldn't have fun. When Lisa and I occasionally leave the house together, it's only for a few hours. I worry the moment we pull out of the driveway. Twenty minutes into our adventures, I'm already missing our kids. After an hour or two, I'm ready to go home to be with our kids. Lisa is too. There's no way we'd be able to leave them for more than a few hours. To be miles away from them for days? I'd have a mental breakdown.

10. Horror stories. I've read about too many horror stories about boarding facilities. I've seen photos. One was local. The others weren't. It doesn't matter. Those images are burned into my brain. The stories I'll never forget.

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