About a month back, both partner & I had to be away for a week. Our son was also away. It was not a sudden trip either. This trip was on the calendar for nearly a year. For months together we were thinking about where we could possibly leave Magic & Mia during our absence. I was also looking for a bit of time away from them….call it a break or whatever.
What were the options we had :
First option: To find a reliable dog walker who could win the confidence of Magic & Mia & request partner’s elderly uncle to be in our home.
Second option: To leave Magic & Mia at a friend’s place.
Third option: To ask a couple of friends to come & stay in our house and expect them to do the walking & off leash duties with Magic & Mia (along with a dog walker).
Fourth option: To find a friend who could stay on the farm for a week & keep M & M company.
Fifth option: It’s an option which i now dread to even think of. However if none of the above worked out then we’ve no choice but to leave them in a kennel.
Kennel owners assure us the heaven & even swear to us that dogs are so happy in the kennel that some don’t want to go back to their homes. Well, this may be true. I’ve a friend who was given a royal ignore by her own dog when she eagerly went to pick her up. Some dogs are left in kennels for months together because of all sorts of reasons. I know of a dog which goes to the kennel & back everyday because his human companions are working. Labradors, St Bernards, Rottweilers, Pugs, Shih tzus, German shepherds, Retrievers, Boxers, Beagles, Mutts….. name it, they are all there & all look seemingly happy in the kennel.
However try & put a sight hound in a kennel here in India…. it’s a recipe for disaster. A sight hound needs space to move around & more importantly they need kennel owners who are willing to try to understand the mind of a sight hound.
As we were driving to the kennel, Magic & Mia knew exactly where we are heading. They had noticed us packing our bags so they knew something was on. Even if we wear a mask of a cool demeanour, they will still pick up vibes from us & they knew very well that for some reason we were anxious. At the entrance of the Kennel Mia did not want to enter, whereas Magic was curious to go in & check the scene.
What happened to them over their 5 day stay we will never come to know, nor will the kennel owners reveal to us. I guess no one in the kennel had an idea how to handle a sight hound. The only report we got was that Magic was very aggressive to all the other dogs & Mia was sticking next to Magic all the time. So probably they were kept tied up all the time & the kennel owners (in fact Magic is very fond of them & very friendly with) didn’t think much on how to make their stay a bit more comfortable.
When we came back we were recipients to an out pouring of grief, relief, sadness, happiness, continuous howling for more than a couple of hours by Magic & Mia. It was unbearable even for someone who is stoic like us. Even though they were given tick shots the day before they left for the kennel, Magic had so many ticks on him & it was obvious to any naked eye that he was in enormous discomfort. Imagine if we were forced to be in a hotel for five days, in a room full of ticks …. its mental & physical torture. In fact this issue with ticks & a horrible smell of phenyl emanating from them has happened before. These repeated issues convinces us that in case we’ve to go anywhere we have to explore other options & kennel is not an option. Kennel is an option to kill the spirit of a sight hound, kennel is an option to convert an even-tempered sight hound into a hyper-neurotic one.
Mia recovered in a couple of days, however Magic took a long time to come back to his normal self.
Peace, love & sorry.