We all know about latchkey kids – kids who wear the house key on a chain around their necks safely hidden under their clothing. They use the key to let themselves in when they come home from school because there is no one home to let them in.
What about latchkey pooches? Doggies that are cooped up at home all day long while their moms and dads are out at work all day? Can you imagine their joy – and relief – when the latchkey turns the lock signaling that you are home?
Imagine what it would feel like if you were cooped up all day? Aside from loneliness you would be hard pressed not to have your back teeth floating having to hold it for 8 or more hours at a stretch! Its not healthy and its not right.
There is a solution – doggie day care or doggie nanny. There is a difference? Oh yes. Lets take each one on its own.
If you work your business from home as increasingly many of us do, then you can take a few mini breaks throughout the day and step outside to exercise yourself and your dog – the fresh air is invigorating and even a brisk 10 minute walk is good for the constitution. But what about those days when you are working to a deadline, or you’ve got yourself booked with a full day of meetings, or your business may take you away for a day or two.
Boarding your dog for short stints is disruptive to your dog’s routine. A better alternative is to hire a dog walker or nanny. Dog walking services are becoming increasingly available both in cities and the burbs. You can book a dog walker just like you would a baby sitter and arrange for a single or a double walk per day. Most dog walkers will take up to 6 customers per walk. The advantage is that not only does your dog get her exercise for the day, but she also gets to socialize with other dogs. You can be assured of at least some good romping and running, maybe a game of fetch ball and overall good fun. You come home to a happy, healthy and well exercised dog.
Dog walkers are a great solution for busy days but what about the “away” days? I do’t mean the long absences – you would definitely want to source out a reputable doggie campfor those he shor- but the short stints away from home of just a few nights. Solution? Get a dog nanny! Rather than boarding have a dog nanny save the day. The advantages are that your best friend gets to stay in her own home with familiar sights and sounds. She gets to sleep in her own bed and food and exercise are consistent, not to mention the presence of crime deterrent. Sloppy kisses all around on your return!
If on the other hand you’re not a member of the growing minions of people who work from home then I would recommend a doggy day care. Drop off or pickup service – the choice is yours. Routine and consistency make for a happy dog and a doggie day care provides for socializing, exercising, toys and comfy nappy beds. Some dog day care centers provide walks while others feel that the exercise the dogs participate in is more than sufficient to keep them fit and healthy.
Whatever your choice do your homework. Make sure that the dog walkers/nannies and day care centers are certified and bonded. Be certain of what services will be provided; one hour walk or two half hour walks? Pickup and drop off? Maximum number of dogs per walk? Pet first aid? Add on services? Obedience training? Massage? Grooming? Depending on your lifestyle you may need to mix and match. Whatever services you decide on be sure to interview the providers of the services. A good source is your own set of friends who may already be using these services. Whom do they use? Ask them what they like about the services/premises? Are there some shortfalls? Last, but not least, interview, ask pertinent questions, and observe the interaction between provider and dog.
For the love of your dog its the least you can do!