Daycare for dogs??? Why yes!!
I’ve owned a lot of dogs over my lifetime and never ever have I thought or considered taking my dog to doggie daycare. I scoffed at people who said they take their dogs to daycare. I mean, taking a kid to daycare, of course, just about everyone does that, but a dog? I don’t think so. But after seeing how un-socialized (and crazy) the Don was, I thought it was a good option for both of us.
Don’s daycare adventures began at Boarding and Beyond in Aurora, http://www.boardingandbeyond.com. As the Don and I waited in the lobby for our tour, I was surprised at how many people were bringing their dogs into the facility. I saw nurses, construction workers, business professionals, all kinds of people. I asked a few folks why they brought their dog to daycare. The answers varied from dealing with separation anxiety to long working hours. But all of them agreed that they loved the benefits their dog got from being in daycare and the $28 a day was well worth it.
As we were led around the facility by the daycare tech, I was impressed with what I saw. The dogs all looked happy, running around, playing, getting loved on by the staff. The kennels were large, clean, and airy, and there were two playgrounds- one indoor and one outdoor. The dogs were broken up into two groups- large dogs and small dogs. Since the Don hates all sized dogs, I wasn’t sure what group he’d be in.
After the tour, the tech asked if I wanted to leave the Don for half a day so that they could “evaluate” him and see if he was a “good fit” for the daycare and himself. Immediately, I broke out into a sweat and my stomach cramped up. I knew that Don was not open to new people or dogs and this possibly could end with a large liability suit for me. After a lot of assurance from the daycare tech that all would be okay, I agreed to leave him for a try-out.
The rest of the day I was on pins and needles, I couldn’t focus on my work. I was so nervous that Don Luigi would think I just dumped him off and wasn’t coming back, even though I told him several times before leaving that I would for sure, without a doubt, come back to get him. Leaving the Don at daycare was harder than leaving my son at kindergarten for the first time.
Throughout the day, I constantly checked my phone to see if the daycare called to tell me that the Don burned the facility down in an angry rage or that my wolverine of a small dog gnawed the arm off of one of the techs, was holding the entire facility hostage, and I needed to come get him immediately.
No such call came in, which made me even more paranoid. Maybe things were so bad that they needed to talk to me in person. I debated fleeing to Canada. If they couldn’t find me, I would never have to face the fact that my dog was a terror. Denial and avoidance can be a beautiful thing sometimes.
After work I pulled up to the daycare and sat in my car taking deep breaths and asking for God to please, please, please let everything be okay. After having a small nervous breakdown, I opened the door to the daycare, prepared for the news that my dog was a horror and is no longer welcome to attend.
However, quite shockingly, the Don passed the evaluation and while he was a little standoffish towards other dogs and the techs, he did great and was welcome to come back any time.
I just stood there looking at the receptionist.
“Wha? Him?”, I said pointing down to Don Luigi. “This dog here, (more pointing), he did good. This dog right here?” (More aggressive pointing to the Don, who by the way was sitting on the floor licking his hoo-haw).
The receptionist laughed at my shock and awe. Don Luigi did great, she said. He has a long way to go, but bringing him to daycare, even just once a week, will help him become more comfortable with strange people and dogs.
I think my reaction to the Don’s daycare experience was much like my mom’s when my sister’s teachers would tell her what a delight my sister was to have in class- skeptical and pleasantly shocked at the same time. Both my sister and the Don are small, feisty creatures that apparently behave well for others.
Since taking Don Luigi to daycare on a consistent basis, he has become more comfortable with new people and dogs. Don’t get me wrong, he will still get crazy if someone tries to pet him or if a dog he isn’t feeling tries to sniff his rear, but it’s definitely not as often or as spastic.
So, if you are on the fence about taking your dog to daycare, I highly recommend it-even if it is only one day a week. And if the Don can get in, any dog can get into daycare!
Thanks for reading,