This is the first of two blogs concerning the plight of man’s best friend. The other when finished, will sit along side this and will focus on a very alarming news report. For now this is today’s tale.
Today I visited a prison for dogs. Yes, that’s right a dog’s prison and battery farm all in one. We have a dilemma with our approaching holiday. What do we do, with our then nine month old labrador puppy, by the time our holiday arrives? Some very dear friends are willing to look after our dog but a near miss-hap with their new cat puts this into question. So we have explored the idea of a dog kennel. There have been already recommendations of this particular place, several miles from where we live. The reports of other owners dogs loving it there and not wanting to come home seemed appealing and eased our conscience.We wanted to take a further look. People can just show up to view, another good sign that this kennel was well run and the animals cared for. Indeed, the website also looked very good and inviting.Our holiday problems were going to be sorted out easily.
Our other dog, who died last year was lucky, she always had a accommodating home to go to. When she became too old to go there, and the lady in question stopped running her service from home, our pet came with us, and holidays were accommodated to her needs too. We are a family and that means the dog was part of that equation. What is right for one , has to be right for all of us and that includes our pet. No questions asked.
With a new puppy young and full of beans a time of re-appraisal was possible. Could our new pet become accustomed to kennel life? And this would solve a lot of headaches with what to do with her for the odd weekend away and any annual holiday. Arriving, we were shown inside the grounds and waited while another couple had come to collect their pet. You know when you and your partner just look at each other, make the connection, speak the same language with out uttering a word. We both shook her heads. No way was our dog coming to town here.
Rows and rows of kennels, lines of animals. The noise, oh the noise. The dogs were making such a row, jumping at the mesh cages, saying “get me out of here”. We imagined our little dog in this sterile, caged concrete environment. We could see her little face, the turned down ears and wanted to walk away there and then. But being polite we didn’t. We inspected the cells, made some kind gestures to the dogs and wanted to take everyone of them home with us. We could have filled our car boot up with them all and sped off.
The people helping to guard the place were lovely and obviously cared for animals. The feeding quarters were clean, it was well-organised, no smells. The kennels were clean, the dogs healthy. There was an organised regime of medication needs; they took dogs in season, families of dogs housed together (Interesting these dogs were quieter because they knew each other). The prices were reasonable and all dogs had to be vaccinated. There was a running area and the dogs were exercised daily. You could not have asked for more. BUT, it was like a battery farm prison, it was not anything like a warm, home routine. How those dogs ever slept I don’t know. Some were left up to a month if their owners were away for long periods. As my husband said to me: “we have to remember a day for us is like a week in a dog’s life”. I can’t believe those dogs could have been happy staying there.
The dogs may not be served porridge but their normal dog food, however, we felt upon leaving that these animals must have felt like they were ” doing time”. I was expecting far less dogs, more separate individual kennels where the animals got some peace and quiet. This was just intensive dog homing and sadly profit has a lot to do of this I feel, though appreciating over heads must be high in running this place 24/7.
We returned to our pet, all eager to see us, saying: “looks like your coming to Somerset after all” and now will be looking at dog friendly hotels, guest houses and cottages. We just have one huge problem with this. We have booked and paid for tickets to attend the rock event T4 on the beach at Weston-Super-Mare and a dog can’t attend such a venue. This is for our teenage daughter to be Incorporated into our holiday. We have considered finding a kennel there, just for the day, and if anyone out there knows where we can find a good one nearby, please do let me know.
Finally, after this experience we said to each other. Why don’t we offer a home for Holiday and over- night service for other dogs. One dog at a time, who likes other dogs, vaccinated and toilet -trained. I am sure we could make an income from the demand which would offer individual home care from committed and loving pet owners.Not that we would do it for the money but for the pet-owners peace of mind and a happier time for the dog separated from its owner. On that note concerning separation, that will lead nicely into my next blog: The Dog is Not for Rent.