Thursday, December 31, 2009


When You Just Can't Take Them With You

Posted: 30 Dec 2009 12:24 PM PST

Miles-and-DrLarry-relax Most of us travel. Whether we do it for work or pleasure there are times when we just can't take our pets with us. Chris and I are planning a trip to Chile this spring and there's no way Miles is going with us. We'll miss him, of course, but we'll have to leave him behind. For lot's of us that's tough to do. It's like leaving little kids in the care of someone else.

There are lots of kennels and cat boarding places out there and we never know what happens once we drive out of the parking lot. That can make for a less than satisfying vacation or business trip.
So how can you put your mind at ease? How can you be assured that your dog or cat will be treated well and will stay healthy and safe while you are gone?
When folks ask me to recommend a veterinarian and I don't personally know any in their town, I always revert to recommending an American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) member hospital. That, along with references from friends and neighbors, has always been my standard line. AAHA has a set of standards and practices that go a long way towards ensuring that your dog or cat will get top notch care. I have several friends that are AAHA members and I've known the Executive Director and other staff at the AAHA for years. You can't go wrong there.Pet-care-services-association
There is a similar group that governs over 3000 boarding and animal daycare centers in the US. The Pet Care Services Association, formerly the American Boarding Kennel Association has been around since 1977 and they seem to set the standard. In fact, they have a very comprehensive Standards and Practices document that all members have to comply with as of January 1, 2009. I looked it over and I have to say it appears very comprehensive. 
This along with the Pet Owners Bill of Rights, which must be on display at member facilities, should give you a really good feel about the care your pet will receive. The Bill of Rights covers everything I'd be concerned about and includes safety, health, sanitation, diet, exercise, human interaction and creature comfort. I don't remember seeing anything this reassuring at the last Marriott Resort I stayed at.
Of course, I'd want to visit the place before I left my precious Miles in their care. I'd want to see where he'd be staying, where he'd be exercised and get a sense for the people in charge. It would help to have recommendations from people I trust that had left their pets in the facility in question.
In our case, we have all that and more. Our local boarding and daycare facility is called Mis Amigos Pet Care Center. Phil and Martha have left Alice there a number of times. Mile's good buddy Riley is a frequent guest and even Prince Tyrone finds the place suitable according to Steve and Alexandra. Besides that, they are members of the Pet Care Services Association and abide by the high standards of that organization. Not bad for our little town.
I'm sure we'll miss Miles for the three weeks we're in Chile this spring. Hopefully the remarkable beauty of Patagonia and the huge Browns and Rainbows thrashing around on the end of my fly line will keep me occupied. Considering how much I'm laying out for this trip, I sure hope so. 


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