For the stay-at-home-pet
Rather leave your pet at home when you have to be out of town?
Bobbie Mason offers an in-home animal care service called Pet Nanny — and she’ll even collect the mail.
Mason, one of several pet sitters in the Valley, has good things to say about boarding facilities, but they’re not for everyone.
“Kennels are good for some dogs,” she said. “We believe that animals are more comfortable, relaxed and not traumatized,” when they’re in their in their home environment.
“It’s each animal by preference,” said Mason, who is certified by the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters and can care for dogs, cats, fish, birds, reptiles and farm animals. “We need all the different services; animals are like people.
“I also provide home security — take the mail in, make sure the lights and blinds are rotated. I even shovel the snow in the winter.”
She said she charges $18 per home visit.
Whether you need to get away for a vacation or due to an emergency, sometimes pets can’t come along.
Still, these little furry children need attention, care and safety. So it’s a good practice to have a local boarding facility in mind and pet vaccinations up to date when planned or sudden absences occur.
All board dogs and cats, some take birds and other animals. Prices vary from facility to facility and also in some cases depending on size, ranging from $19 to $28 a day for basic services for dog. Boarding a cat runs from $12 to $20 a day.
At Haute Dog Pet Resort in Walla Walla, co-owner Pat Hewitt said there are many reasons why a pet may need to be boarded, from vacations to the traumatic and unexpected.
“It could be a personal crisis — you just got your house burned up or some other family emergency. You need to leave town and with two or three dogs it’s hard to find a place to stay,” Hewitt said. “Maybe they are building a house and they are living in a travel trailer and they need to board their dogs.”
Animals spend anywhere from one night to several months at the facility, depending on the owner’s situation. But while the owners are away, the cats and dogs can play and get pampered.
“We offer anything that will make the pets happier,” Hewitt said.
The facility offers 53 individual quarters and a large group playroom, and doggie day care for short stays. Open each day of the year, the busiest times are summers, holidays and weekends. To be accepted at the facility, each pet requires the standard proof of vaccination for distemper, parvo, rabies and bordetella.
Hewitt said an average of 30 to 40 dogs per day are in the facility’s 5,000-square-foot communal day care. It includes four separate areas, all supervised, for dogs with good temperaments and that play well with others.
Along with providing grooming, Haute Dog also is expanding into simple dog training, teaching puppies basic commands.
Animal Clinic of Walla Walla boards dogs, cats and the occasional horse. Guests usually stay the weekend, but during the holiday season and other times some may stay one to two weeks.
“They live the life of their owners,” said Dawn Barer, registered veterinary technician at the clinic.
“The advantage here is that we have medical staff so if the animal has special needs we can give medication,” she said.
“At our facility we need their vaccination history,” Barer said, adding that the bordetella vaccination is more effective if given about a week prior to boarding.
“We check for fleas or anything contagious right when they come in and if we find anything we treat it immediately. If there’s anything going on that the owners didn’t notice, like an ear infection — we wouldn’t want them to be suffering, poor little things.”
People should also bring along their pet’s favorite toy, Barer said. Owners also may provide their animal’s favorite food if they don’t tolerate change well, although the clinic does feed for sensitive tummies.
For arthritic and older pets the clinic provides foam bedding for more comfort, she said. “We don’t give that to puppies, because they’ll just chew it up,” Because Barer is a certified canine massage therapist, pet owners can give their pooches the spa experience, which especially helps arthritic or geriatric dogs.
Animal Clinic East receptionist Jill Thomas said the Walla Walla facility not only boards dogs and cats, but birds and other exotics such as ferrets and guinea pigs, too. Everyone gets their own section, along with tender loving care to accommodate each’s needs.
Because it’s a clinic rather than a dedicated boarding facility they aren’t open on the weekends so pets must be dropped off and picked up on a weekday. However, because they are a clinic they can treat pets needing medical care.
Katy Rodighiero, co-owner of Penrod Kennels in Milton-Freewater, said the facility is designed to pamper the dogs and cats during their stay.
The large facility surrounded by orchards can accommodate more than 120 animals, with indoor-outdoor runs, two huge luxury suites, two private dog park yards and even an in-ground pool with a waterfall.
Dogs also can watch farming activity going on outside the fences as well as see wildlife, so they are kept stimulated and not bored during their time away from home.
And, living up to its billing as more of a “doggie camp” than a traditional boarding facility, Penrod also offers hiking and camping trips for dogs at lakes and parks in the area.
“It’s like when you take your kids to school or day care, you want it to be clean and set up very nice,” said Troy Welk, a pet technician at Penrod. “We treat pets just like our children.”