To begin with I apologize for the abysmal writing at zero-dark-thirty this morning. Having re-read it this afternoon I can only plead the mint julep yesterday (which was VERY good and enjoyed on a true plantation porch), lack of sleep and long hours driving.
I am NOT going to name the Dog Daycare I used. I don’t think it fair as I won’t be coming back to offer them another chance. I won’t be able to determine if the lack of listening, control, stress, and incredible decibel level was a freak situation or a daily dose of stupid.
Today was everything I feared and riddled with additional unexpected shocks.
My dogs entered and lay down while I was regaled by woman’s recounting of how her LABRADOR looked EXACTLY like Niamh, my BORDER COLLIE…except, according to this woman, for the fact that Niamh had more hair, was slightly smaller, had a brockle face, was quiet, and could function off-leash.
Then it was my turn to sign in. I got to listen to the girl behind the counter tell me about her ‘baby’ and how she wished her ‘baby’ would behave as well as my two.
I, by that time, decided it was imperative that I delineate some rules for my dogs and take my own dogs back to the kennel. I proceeded to say the girls didn’t play, didn’t need to play, and I didn’t want them to play with anyone, at any time, under any conditions. I wanted them to stay in the kennel for the full day. I clearly stated that both girls had totally gone to the bathroom and would be just fine for the time I was away. They also didn’t need a walk or be taken from the kennel for anything less than a hurricane or fire. “No problem. We can do that,” was the girl’s answer. I then said I would take them back and put them in the kennel.
During all this the door to the kennel room bulged in and out with the force of the rabid barking taking place behind it. Teige tried to dive under a table, Niamh stared at the door with a kind of horrid fascination. I told both girls to “ignore”. They stared at me as if I’d just taken an overly large hit of crack and was laboring under the delusion that I knew what was what.
The girl opened the kennel room door and we were flattened by a wave of mad barking. She then yelled out at the top of her lungs (which was pretty impressive, let me tell you), “Dog coming in, dog coming in.” I felt like we were walking the green mile and the guard was hollering, “Dead man walking.”
My two dogs stood stock still, stunned, unable to move. It wasn’t that they wouldn’t or didn’t want to, they simply were so overwhelmed they couldn’t. I got them going and we got to the kennel. At that precise moment I was subjected to a face-full of sprayed saliva from a leaping, barking, out-of-control boxer in the adjoining kennel. My girls would NOT enter the kennel. I had to demand they enter. They KNEW they were going to their deaths, the looks they gave me said so. They were entering only because I told them to.
I felt like a first-class sh**&. I actually felt guilty.
We returned about six hours later, the front desk girl was different. I told her who I was there to pick up and she raved about them. Raved about how she and the other girls just loved ON them and loved THEM for how quiet they were, how well-behaved, how tolerant, how well-mannered, how calm, how they had behaved on their walk…..wha?????? I clearly remembered telling the employee ‘no walks’. But, she said, they “didn’t seem to like to play, even though we did everything we could to get them to do it.” Whaaaaaa?????????????? I KNOW I was, without a doubt, VERY clear about the whole NO PLAYING thing.
It was at this point I understood the humans’ hadn’t listened, couldn’t control themselves, that the stress of that environment would leave my dogs fried and while I thought this was normal for Dog Daycare, I couldn’t be certain if I were to be fair. (But, I am certain and I really feel for the dogs subjected to it.)
My girls were in the kennel, laying as if pole-axed. When they saw me Teige actually bounced on her front feet. Niamh crowded into the door. Both had the desperate look of death row inmates reprieved at the last second. They could not wait to get the hell out of there. It took every ounce of self-control to sit in the kennel (and I believe they both thought it only just that I was drenched by a flipped water bowl from behind in the pen of a frenetic dog — probably trying to join the escape) and sit at the kennel room door. They lay down as close to the departure door as physically possible and were exhibiting perfect behavior. This, I’m sure, was so that they weren’t sent back into purgatory.
I paid and was given…..a Report Card on my dogs’ behavior. Oh, yes.
Here is how “we” rated:
At my private playtime:
“We really like people more than play.”
My favorite Friends Were:
“Human: listed three girls
Canine: each other (well duh!!!)”
My Energy Level:
“We were not that energetic and relaxed a lot” (I think that was utter despondency and depression they were seeing from my dogs)
My Behavior Was:
My response to this parent/kennel employee conference and grade is:
No shit, Sherlock.