Never say never

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October 13, 2015 by The Dog Rules

I had intended to publish this earlier and then life happened. Better now than never.

As happens in every family with fur-kids, there comes a time when they must stay with someone while Mom, Dad and other human family members go off together. I never want to leave Dog behind. If it is supposed to be MY vacation, why on earth would I want to leave my doghter (dog daughter) behind? First, I completely enjoy her company. Why would I have adopted her if I had such a busy life that I wouldn’t have time for her?

Vacation is time off to do the things you truly like to do and mine include: canoeing (with Dog wearing her life jacket!), hiking, walking, playing on the beach and finding some lovely little outdoor café for a nosh. These are all activities that can easily include Dog. Throughout all the 15 years we have been together I have tried to circumvent any need to leave her behind. Regrettably I have had some occasions where boarding her has been the best choice for her.

The first time it became clear that it was not in Dog’s best interest to come along I was in a panic. Sure my vet could take her; but, the clinic didn’t have kennels, only crates where the dog is confined until someone can take them outside to relieve themselves or for a brief walk. If something medical happened then she was in the best place, and this was not going to help the mental stimulation required by any dog let alone a Border Collie/Aussie Cattle Dog mix. This is also the reason why I didn’t burden my friends with my OCD dog. Compared with many other breeds, Border Collies need much more “exercise” to keep them happy and non-destructive. By exercise, I mean mental stimulation as well as physical activities. People with couch potato pooches simply have no idea how to keep a BC/ACD appropriately occupied.

I contacted all my dog-owning friends and asked what they did if their dog needed boarding. I checked references like a fiend. If I could, I would have interviewed the dogs! I requested to make a visit to view the facility before agreeing to board and a few places were clearly, if subtly, not interested in spending any time with me until I was a contracted (paying) client. They got crossed of my list double quick! (More on choosing a boarding facility in a future post.)

A couple of years ago we had to leave Dog to visit family. The trip would have been too arduous for a senior dog. We left her in the wonderfully safe care of our favorite kennel. Even though I knew I could telephone them at any time and ask how she was doing, it was very comforting to be able to pop on to Facebook daily and look for photos of my girl.

The summer was a hot one and our vacation was at the beginning of the hottest part. The kennel had placed a kiddie wading pool out in the yard for the dogs enjoyment and to help them keep cool. Dog is not a big fan of bodies of water due to an unfortunate incident when she was a puppy. She usually chooses to avoid water if at all possible – especially if she thinks you might add soap.

Checking the pool...

Checking the pool…

Each day I checked for photos of her. With temps soaring and 7 days left in our vacation I discovered this photo of her checking out the pool. Kennel staff had commented that she was thinking of getting in. I swore that it would never happen given her history.

For several days there were more images showing my cautious gal standing near the pool. Then I began to see images of the canine buddies she was making in the yard. Some of them were definitely water dogs and were in the pool while she stood nearby watching them. I was still quite convinced that she would refuse to enter the pool regardless of how hot it got.

She made it!

She made it!

Six days from the original photo I opened Facebook to find this image. She had made it into the pool with her chum. Now, she doesn’t look entirely comfortable and I suspect that she didn’t stay in too long; however she did go in.

Now she walks through puddles with abandon.

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The Dog Rules

The Dog Rules

Once the proud guardian of a rather cheeky Border Collie/Aussie Cattle Dog mix, may she forever rest in peace, my favourite activities were those things that included my canine friend. Now I have a new canine buddy in my life. He's also a Border Collie and sassy like my girl was. We're in the middle of an adventure; teaching him how to be a good canine citizen I spend my spare time volunteering at the local animal shelter as a dog walker/trainer. You can read all about it @

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