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Plan pet boarding early if traveling

Many things can be put off to the last minute when planning to go away for the holidays.

Wednesday, December 01, 1999

Many things can be put off to the last minute when planning to go away for the holidays. It’s normal to wait until the morning of the trip to pack the toothbrush and deodorant. But if waiting until the last minute to find a place for a pet to stay, holiday travelers might find themselves out of luck.

Proctorville Animal Clinic receptionist April Teams suggests reserving a place for an animal at least one week in advance.

"We’re busy, but it’s not that difficult because usually they all come in and leave at different times," Ms. Teams said. "We run into problems with big dogs, because there is limited space for big dogs."

Deciding whether or not animal boarding is needed usually depends on each individual person and their pet, Ms. Teams said.

A cat owner probably would not seek boarding for short trips, she said.

"Cats are usually OK," Ms. Teams said. "I wouldn’t think that leaving a dog at home would be very good, but cats are usually good."

An animal’s temperament might also affect the owner’s decision, Ms. Teams added.

"We have dogs and cats and other animals that love to come here," she said. "Animals don’t normally pay attention to the differences. Others, they get depressed or sad. We had one dog, the owner took her out and put her in the car and she jumped out and came back in our door like she wanted to stay."

For those animals that are a little more sensitive, animal babysitting might be an option, Ms. Teams said.

"There are people who offer in house sitting," she said. "Some people choose animal sitting if they aren’t comfortable taking their dogs to a vet or border."

Still other pet owners want to give their animals more, said John Kooney, owner of Club Pet in Huntington, W.Va.

"This is the pet’s vacation away from its owners and we try to spoil them while they are here," Kooney said. "We offer massages and play time."

The boarding establishment also offers hot oil dips, heated and air conditioned lodging, luxury suites with bed, TV and VCR, large exercise yard, fitness programs and home cooked meals.

For cats, there is the spacious cattery with forest play area modeled after Sherwood Forest, Kooney said.

"A lot of the animals really like it here," he said. "They don’t refuse to go home, but the owners say that every time they pull up here the animals get excited. It’s just a fun place for the animals."

If wanting to spoil a pet this Christmas, pet owners should act fast, however. Club Pet employees were turning away dogs and cats more than a week before the Thanksgiving holiday.

"We still have some spaces," Kooney said. "I suggest reserving a space at least two to three weeks in advance on major holidays and that goes for every kennel in this whole area."