School for Dogs

I never had children. So I never had to worry about schools, tuition, or the scholastic competency of teachers. But, today I had to take my soon-to-be 8 year old Black Lab, to doggie day-care to prepare her for boarding (yes, I said prepare her).  Years ago, when you were planning a trip, you called your Vet, asked if they had boarding services and brought your dog in when you were leaving on your trip. Today, if you are planning on boarding your dog, it is a very different story. You must research, you must do appropriate integration, you must watch your dog on the internet doggie web cam, and ultimately, you must be accepted to the program!

Like any good parent (in Boulder, dog owners are legally called guardians as the term connotes that no one really owns another living being) I decided to check a few places out. I looked for cleanliness of the facility, the caliber of the day care staff, the enrichment programs, disciplinary procedures, quality of the indoor and outdoor areas, the sleeping quarters, the tuition. I drove all over looking at a wide range of facilities and programs. Is this beginning to sound like looking for a child’s boarding school to you? Where did all this come from? Is it a racket, or truly the way we should care for our pets?

One place I nixed because it looked too much like a pound, with dogs spending way to much time in kennels and only getting exercised 10 minutes a day twice a day. Another place I nixed because it was the size of a postage stamp, and with 50 or so dogs in the facility on a daily basis, the dogs were basically on top of one another. Another place I nixed because it smelled like your worst nightmare of a public bathroom.

But I found nirvana about 5 minutes from our home. This facility looked like a white country home with a blue roof and a white picket fence. It

My Mia

had a huge outdoor play area complete with play school equipment, plenty of trees and even strategically placed crates for dogs that want to get away from it all. The indoor area was huge as well, and dogs can romp and play together in a climate controlled environment when the weather is too severe for their comfort. But nirvana is only part of the equation – could Mia cut the mustard, could she behave according to the strict standards of the program, would she be accepted for boarding. The pressure was on. Did I raise her properly?

Mia went there today. Right now she is sound asleep on the carpet in my office and will probably sleep until tomorrow morning.

She passed the entrance exam, she is accepted for boarding privileges. Nothing is too good for my Mia. I thought I never had children?

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