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Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Home from home

Dear Dogs Today,

We've just taken on a rescue crossbreed and are after some advice.

We're thinking ahead to next year when we go on holiday as we will be visiting friends in the US for two weeks, which we booked a while ago. We're not sure about putting Rusty into kennels when we go away, or whether it'd be better to have someone look after him at their home. We don't want him to think we're taking him back to kennels.

Can anyone advise of our options?

Many thanks,

Mr and Mrs Port, by email

 Alison Logan, vet, advises...

This is a difficult decision to make. Your holiday is not until next year so Rusty’s memories of being at the rescue kennels should have faded. Visit several kennels and go with your instinct – a small homely kennel with friendly and experienced staff would be a great find. A trial one or two night stay would be worth considering. 

The alternative is to find someone who will look after Rusty in their own home. Obviously, you need Rusty to be happy in the person’s company. Another option would be for someone to move into your home to care for your dog in his usual environment, whilst coincidentally looking after your house. It goes without saying that in both situations you need to trust the person implicitly.

The advantage of kennelling is that your dog will be monitored and secure. I always worry that a dog being cared for at home or in someone else’s home might escape and go off to look for his or her owners, with the attendant risks of accidents, being impounded for straying… The flip side is how a rescue dog will cope with being kennelled once more. You have wisely given yourself plenty of time to decide.

I would certainly put a pheromone collar on him before kennelling, in fact in all situations when leaving him to go on holiday, whatever you decide.


  1. Check out Home from home dog boarding agency. If you live I north london I am one of the registered dog carers. Your dog will stay in a home which has been checked personally by Home from Home Dog Boarding Agency. No multiple dogs allowed just your own. Book up as soon as you know your dates and go visit the dog host witj your pet. Best to you Clare

  2. OH yes definately let him stay with someone in their home. We use a company called Barking Mad, and they will match the host as closely to your family as they can, so if no kids in your home, they go with a home with no kids. We have two whippets who are not good in kennels, and since we discovered Barking Mad, they go to a lovely lady, and get completely spoilt (as they are at home) and they come home happy!

  3. We've used a home boarding service in the past - experienced carers take your dog to live in their home as part of the family. My dog loved his time there, I would just recommend planning well in advance and maybe having some "practice" days first,before you go away for real. I think most of these services are regional - I live in Northamptonshire, so if you are interested and anywhere near me, I'll be happy to give you the details of the company we used - I would recommend them. Otherwise, maybe ask your vet or local APDT for a recommendation? Hope this helps, enjoy your holiday!

  4. Hello! I have an elderly Jack Russell Terrier who I inherited from my mum. Mum was her 3rd home - that we know of. I had to put Judy into kennels not long after having her for Mum's funeral - like you I was really worried that she might think I was 'returning her'. I asked advice from my vet who actually recommended the kennels (he uses them too). I needn't have worried - madam (aka Judy) goes off without a glance but is always quite pleased (in a relaxed way) to see us again when we collect her!
    Hope this helps!
    Ellen Boylin

  5. Just to throw into the mix - another alternative is to have someone come and stay in your home to look after your house and pets. I did this when I was living in Devon as my BSD doesn't get on with other dogs and all the pet sitters I contacted who take your dog into their home couldn't guarantee no other dogs. It is expensive, but it means the dog stays in familiar surroundings and if you also have cats, as I do, they get looked after too (as do your home and plants)! I used a local organisation near Exeter called Paws and Hooves, but one of the national ones you could try is Animal Angels - (My dog is also a rescue and quite highly strung so I would never put him back in kennels as I'm sure he would think he'd been abandoned again).

  6. Hi Mandy, Thanks for mentioning Pet- Sitters. Perhaps you would like to remembe rus when friends ask you if you know of Pet-Sitters.
    We advertise in Dogs Today, just after the holiday ads.
    We are a retired couple and have years of experience of caring for pets and their owners houses.
    Our rates are competitive with those other agencies who advertise. We have excellent references and many happy clients. Contact us on

  7. Rosemary

    As a professional PET SITTER/HOUSE SITTER I would like to point out that I hold full advanced Criminal Records Bureau clearance, I am fully insured and have experience caring for many, many pets particularly those with escapist tendencies, and Jack Russels who build scaffold towers in order to reach the neighbourhood bitch which is on heat, AND NEVER ONCE, Alison, have I been so irresponsible as to have a dog go walk-about without me.

    Please when you are giving advise do not make off the cuff remarks that are not backed up with statistics.
    It is very irresponsible and can damage the publics' perception of the service I offer

    Luckily I have many satisfied clients who are loyal to me and happy with the service I offer.

    Your thoughtless comments however have probably made it difficult for me to get any response from the advert for my services which I have had in Dogs Today for the past six months.
    I will be pleased to receive your comments.

    Incidentally every Vet in my area carries my advertisement and have endorsed my service without my asking. They are impressed with the care I have for those in my charge.

    Could you provide instances where there have been such cases.?

    I am extremely professional in what I do and I do take offence at the implied lack of care
    I would be pleased to receive your explanation for your unsubstantiated views

    Rosemary Fisher-Crewe

  8. There are lots of 'paid' facilities for dog care whilst your away; we have a very reliable friend with whom we exchange pet-lodging. On the back of this idea, I'm just setting up PetLodger to connect pet-owners across the UK who can lodge each other's pets for short periods. Using PetLodgers is free, it's just a network but it needs pet owners to spread the word and build the community for it to work. Check it out ( and please spread the word (it's only a few days old), it may yet be the answer to your problem.

  9. There are lots of paid dog-sitting/boarding services available as mentioned above, and they can be a great way of making sure you're dog is well looked after but I think you're like me in that I wouldn't want to put my dog in kennels for the week and the paid services cost a small fortune, on top of the price of your holiday. There are also those times when people need a pet looking after for just a few hours, overnight, or for a day or two, or during illness.
    Blatant plug, but I'm trying to answer this need by setting up a free website ( pet owners and people willing to look after other people's pets can register and be put in touch; there's no charge and the intention is to simply connect pet-owners and potential pet-lodgers in their local area, what they do with the subsequent connection is up to them but I'd hope people find new friends and build a community - it's The Big Society in action as opposed to the political rhetoric we get so much of. This idea is literally in its infancy and I'm just starting up but you're more than welcome to visit the site, register if you wish (there's no commitment)and maybe by the time of your holiday we'll have been able to put you in touch with someone suitable locally. Please help me to spread the word - tell your friends as this works better the more people we have. Regards, Mike Potts

  10. Sorry for the double-posting folks, but the first 2 efforts didn't go on...although one of them clearly did in the end, along with my third attempt! Technology eh?!