An alternative to boarding your boxer in a kennel is to find a trustworthy pet sitter. You can find a good pet sitter from many of the same sources that you looked into to find a good kennel. Ask your vet, your obedience classmates, and your dog-lover friends. Or you can look pet sitters up on the Internet and find people who have affiliations with various different organizations who might live in your area. Pet Sitters International, online at www.petsit.com, can provide you with links to trustworthy local pet sitters.
Qualifications of Pet Sitters
Many of the qualifications of pet sitters are the same as those you would look for in a good kennel. For instance, ask yourself what your gut instinct tells you about this person. This is even tougher because you are not only leaving your boxer, but you are leaving your home open to a relative stranger. For those reasons, you will want to feel very secure about the person you hire as a pet sitter. Find out the following:
Is she bonded and insured?
Can she provide references (in case you need to interview a stranger, or someone who no one you know knows)?
Does your boxer like her and vice versa?
Does she provide a service contract?
Is she interested, courteous, and informed?
Is she someone you are comfortable having your home?
Is she professional?
Does she have regular office hours, and will she answer any questions promptly?
Does she have access to twenty-four-hour veterinary service?
If you feel good about the person you are considering hiring as a pet sitter, and you find one that you like, you may be very happy with the outcome. Just do your homework so that you do not receive any unpleasant surprises.
Doggy Day Care
Doggy day care is a relatively recent phenomenon in America. The service provides a way to give your boxer some attention and stimulation during the day when you cannot be there with him. In most doggy day care facilities, there are other dogs that your boxer can play with. In this sense, it is much like day care for children.
All the same questions about insurance, experience, and access to veterinary care apply. But if you need to travel, doggy day care might provide a way to care for your boxer in your absence. Some kennel dogs for more than the day, but some do not. Most might be able to accommodate your boxer for a day or two now and then.
In Case of a Disaster
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security, and the Humane Society all agree that in case of any emergency — earthquake, fire, terrorist attack, flood, mud slides, hurricane, or tornado — you need to include your boxer, and every family pet, in your disaster plans.
According to the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, the most important thing to do is to decide what to do in advance — will you stay in your home, or will you travel outside of the area? In each case, you need to devise a plan to deal with the situation should it arise. For your boxer, you need to plan for the following:
A safe place if you stay or if you go
A seven-day supply of food and water
Spare water and food dishes
Pet carriers and leashes
ID, vet records, and medications
Blankets and toys
Litter and waste containers
You also need to arrange for someone to care for your boxer should you be away at the time a disaster strikes. If you have found a kennel, a pet sitter, or a doggy day care center, they may provide the solution that you need. Or you might check with local animal shelters to see if they could care for your boxer. You need to do whatever it takes so that your boxer will not be left behind in the event of a large-scale disaster or emergency.