Will she get used to kennel?

I left my female Basenji, Rita, 6 years old, at a dog-kennel for the first time.
I tried to put her in a cage-free place, but she had a fight with other dogs and I thought being in her own cage might be less stressful for her. (She is crate-trained, although most of the time, she is free inside the house.)

Since my husband and I often have to be out of the country (minimum twice a year, mainly due to our business and my family in home country), I thought she has to be used to the kennel environment.

Until recently, we left Rita to a dog-walker, who took Rita to her home to take care of her. But since last time, the dog walker’s husband no longer wants Rita because she made a mess.

I’m thinking of having Rita getting used to the environment of the kennel by regularly having her stay there, like once a week. Last night and tonight, for the second time, I left Rita to the kennel, but the attendant told me on my follow-up inquiry on the phone that she is totally freaked out.

Also tonight, I heard a horror story from one of my friends whose dog died recently after staying at a kennel for 10 days. When he came back, he could hardly walk (he was 11 years old lab with arthritis) and the blood test results showed that his blood turned out to be as thick as petroleum.

I want Rita to be reasonably strong with any kinds of environment, but exposing her to stressful situation to shorten her life is a different story,

I appreciate any advice on this.

RitaMom (mom of 6 years old female Basenji)

Ritamom, we have someone stay at our house. That way even though we are gone the dogs still have their home. Their routine mostly stays the same so I don't feel guilty about leaving them. Have you considered having someone come in to your home?

We have lots of people in our area that advertise pet sitting. Some are even vet techs or vet assistants. Maybe your vet knows of someone that would come to your house or keep her at theirs. Maybe some one on the forum in your area would be willing to dog sit for you. Good luck.

We hire a pet sitter who comes to the house three times a day for $15 a visit.
She feeds them and lets them out back in our fenced in yard and stays with them about 1/2 to one hour three times a day.

I met a mom of a friend of our daughters with a new dog a few months ago.

we asked what happen to their old dog (only 4-5 years old Keeshhound)

They said they boarded it while on vacation. Two days later the dog starts to vomit blood and just goes down hill fast, blood coming out it's ears. Their vet can't figure out what happened without doing extensive testing & $100's of $$$.

They at first balked on the tests, then decide to have the tests done, get nothing back on the first round, the dog's heart fails & dies. The dog had been perfectly healthy all it's life till then. They think it was possibly poisoned somehow.

This is one of many horror stories people I know have told me about kennels. I stay clear of them.

When I worked at a vet we boarded also. We had one dog die while I was there. I was actually taking care of him one day, the next am I came in to take him out and he was dead. Could not figure out what happened. I know I took good care of him!!!!! Sometimes strange things happen. I'm sure there are places that don't do a good job. You can do drop by visits just like people do for daycare.

Thank you all for your advice.
When I picked Rita up this morning, I asked them to show me the place where she was kept. She was sitting on a plastic board on the concrete floor. The heater was on and room was actually warmer than our house, but it broke my heart to see her sitting with her back pushed against the fence as if eagerly waiting for someone to pick her up. Apparently twice a day walk was not enough for her.

The kennel is really clean and was the best and largest among a dozen of kennels I looked at in the area, but I’d regret like no tomorrow (is this the right expression?) if something happens to her.

Last time when we were gone, our dog-walker left Rita at our house for about seven nights when her husband told her he no longer accepts Rita. At that time, we were already in Japan and didn’t know what happened to her. Later we heard from our neighbor that Rita was crying all nights on the first couple nights then came to know that the dog-walker left her here all night.

I don’t want to leave Rita all by herself for many nights either.
Like Barklessdog wrote, it’s probably the best to hire somebody who can come to our house twice/three times a day. But in that way, she’ll still be all alone at night.

So if we cannot find a house sitter who is willing so stay here over night, I’ll make a circle of friends and relatives who are willing to stay at our house. I’ll create a rotation chart by Excel.

What do you think of that?

I have a dog sitter that spends the night when we are out of town. It is harder to find a dog sitter that will stay over and usually you have to make your reservation pretty far in advance since they can only take 1 overnight customer at a time but they are out there.

How did you find that person? Online? Could you find somebody you can trust with the first try?

The one other thing you might try (if you haven't already)…any single friends or single friends of friends...put the word out to your friends. When I did my pet sitting, most of my friends gave rave reviews about me to their friends with pets and I got my clients that way. I was so busy that I could have been away nearly every week. I did in house sitting (my fee was the same as a regular kennel and I had some very generous clients who regularly paid more than my standard fee). You could even try responsible high-school students in your neighborhood...they always love to be away from their parents :D.

The other thing is around here there are kennels that are houses set up so dogs have their own rooms with living rooms, play areas that sort of thing and have acres of trails for walking. Basically like doggy B&Bs with people that live there and take care of the dogs 24/7...you need to book them in advance because of the limited space. You're in Cali, right...surely you must have something like that...

One more thing...I'd give it a trial run of weekend or an overnight or 2 to see if the person can handle it and if your dogs adjust to it.

We have someone stay the night. Dash needs a warm body to sleep next to. Ernesto is very picky about who he would allow stay at our home so we usually ask a single friend. As we get older that is harder to find. So this past summer we have Dash and Sissy stay with Ernesto's parents. It is like spending the weekend at Grandmas. We are lucky they live right around the corner though.

We have a dog sitter too that stays at the house… It is someone that I work with and loves the B's... in fact she is in high demand through out the company...gggg for house sitting...

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