I'm going out of town this weekend and for the first time in my life, I'm boarding my dogs at an actual facility. No leaving them with their grandmother, or shacking them with a friend. They're getting the boneified drop-off at the daycare.
What the hell am I supposed to tell these people?
Tuck likes to chew hard plastics and swallow the small pieces. He also rises at 6:30 every damn morning.
Skye has a WILL BITE sticker in her folder at the vet. She should be kept far away from baby deer, sheep and kittens. You can pet her head, just not her body.
But first, let's just get them there.
Because I'm a bit obsessive, I called the boarding place yesterday to find out exactly what I needed to bring with them. I'd made the reservation a month ago, but I have a problem with short-term memory loss and I hadn't written anything down from that first conversation.
Dog food and vaccine records. OK. I can handle that.
Two hours later, the owner of the place calls me and says he doesn't have a reservation on file for my dogs. First words out of my mouth: "WHAT? Nooooooo...." because a lot of people board their dogs and getting last minute reservations is like impossible. But he graciously finagled it for me and squeezed us (well, them) in. And then the housekeeping items:
"Do you want to keep them together or separate?"
"Separate, please." Tuck gets too rough with Skye and without supervision, they're liable to be at each other's throats all day.
"If you want to bring any bedding with them, you can."
"It's OK...they rough it." Ha, yeah right! They have the entire life of one human that revolves around them.
"You can bring any toys that they might like to have."
"OK." Do dustpans, tupperware containers, tote bags and sticks count? Because, really, those are the most favorite toys around here.
"The kennels are five-feet high and we've never had a dog jump them."
"Hmmm...well, that's good." At what point do I warn you about my dogs? That when they're determined to do something, they're going to do it?
I've never done this before. Does a dog boarder want your dog's life story, because I'm tempted to give it? Is it like leaving your kid with a babysitter?
Tuck gets up at 6:30 every morning and prefers to be let outside for approximately 15 minutes. But then he gets bored and starts barking, so you need to bring him back inside and re-crate him, OR at this point you can take them for their 1.5 mile walk. Skye can either go out at 6:30, but she's used to sleeping a bit later, so she can wait till you want to get out of bed at like 8 or something. If they both go stand at the farm gate after your evening walk, that means they want to go to the river. Feel free to take them, but keep Skye on a leash until you know no one else is at the river. Tuck doesn't need to be leashed, because he'll stay with you and if he runs ahead a bit, he'll listen and come back. When you get to the river and if no one is there, you can let them loose and throw rocks in the water to let them swim. Just don't throw sticks because they'll both want to retrieve it and they'll fight in the water over it. They might drown. When you're ready to leave, say "Let's go home," and they should go home, no leashes necessary. Tie them up outside so they'll dry off. Tuck will dry off much faster; it takes Skye hours.
They speak German, have I told you that? Am I supposed to leave a list of their German commands? And warn you they're probably not going to listen to you anyway?
Do I mention that Tuck gets bored easily and WILL find something to chew, and that neither of them are going to eat very much and will probably look like shit when I pick them up? Do I talk about the fact that Skye likes to jump on you and put her paws on your shoulders, while Tuck will just leeeeaaaaannnn into the front of your legs with no concern at all if you're mid-step, just so you can pet him? And that when you scratch his ears and head, he'll leave his mouth open and you'll be covered in slobber? Do I need to talk about bloodlines and pedigree and their intelligence levels, training schedules?
When should I mention that my world revolves around them, that they're my dream dogs, my friends, my roommates, my protectors, my investments, my incentives to exercise?
Maybe I don't talk about any of that. Maybe I'm just supposed to kiss their foreheads, scratch their ears and say, "Momma loves you...I'll be home soon," just like I do every morning.
There's no manual for life, is there? Not even for dumping your dogs.