Tips on Finding a Sitter/Kennel/Boarding during the Holidays!
I'm not one to travel much during the holidays but this year I've been doing a lot of traveling lately. I didn't realize just how hard it was to find boarding and sitting for my two dogs until I actually started the hunt. I will be going away for two weeks at the end of the year and I started to panic. My plane ticket was a but pricey but I had a Southwest Luv coupon of $200 which made it a great deal to fly during the holidays. I started to ask all my friends and family members if they could sit for Bebe and Jolie. Well here's the issue with that, the holidays are busy and everyone is pretty much doing what you're doing, vacationing, spending time with family, and going out. Turns out each and every one of my friends were traveling. Major bummer for me.
My next quest was to search all over DogVacay and try to find a pet sitter. The prices were outrageous. I was quoted for $1000+ dollars for the dogs stay, way more than I even paid for my flight ticket. I contacted over 20 sitters and settled on one that would have done it for $500, still more than my ticket, but better than the $1k price.
This started to make me restless, the sitter had sad she was hosting parties while I would be away and that my dogs would sit in her bedroom with her other dog. I panicked. I lost sleep. I was an anxious disaster. So I kept asking around practically at the point of begging all my friends.
A few weeks prior I had a girls night in with my friends. It was a movie, wine, and puppy pajama party. Yes we are all almost 30 and this is perfectly acceptable behavior for us. My one friend has a long haired Chihuahua and funny enough her name is also Bebe. That Bebe and my Bebe and Jolie all played together and it was all sorts of cute.
I decided to vent with my friend and tell her the predicament I was in, she offered to sit my dogs! Can you believe it? I sure couldn't being that she already had a dog. Imagine that, 3 pups for the holidays.
My advice to you is to check with everyone, and I mean everyone you know. There are people I thought would say yes and who said no. There are people I thought of never asking and they actually said yes, and than there are the people I received price quotes online from who I considered taking out a personal loan for.
I'd also like to mention to research your airlines! I am new to Southwest and have only flown them once before and will be flying them again in 3 weeks and I've got to say they are quickly becoming my favorite. I am a United traveler usually, but more and more I keep running into problems with them. Let's face it, their customer service leaves much to be desired.
Another idea I had was actually traveling with my pets to my destination. Turns out you cannot take two pets on board with you on any other airline besides Southwest. They allow two pets of the same species in the same carrier. No other airline does this. Their prices are also very reasonable - $95 each way. I want to point that out because I have two little dogs, granted Jolie is only 3lbs and shouldn't even count, but she does in the eyes of the TSA.
So there you have it, this is how to prepare to board your dog for the holidays or doing travel times.
In my continued preparation for their stay I am packing all sorts of goodies and necessities that they may need. Think individual zip-lock bags for each day of food, treats, toys, butt wipes, fragrance mist, extra bows, brush, bowls, wee wee pads, sweaters and some dirty laundry with your scent on it.
My next advice, SHOWER the person who agreed to take your pet in for sitting. Remember those numbers that people quoted you? Well take some of that and go shopping for your dog host. Think champagne, wine, cheese platter, gift cards, flowers, and chocolate covered strawberries. You want to treat the person who is treating your fur kids with as much love and respect as possible.
I hope this post helped you and I wish you a very happy holiday!