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Discussion Starter #1
*deep breath*

well... as some of you may know I grew up in South Africa and moved back to the Netherlands with my boyfriend in the hope that in about three years we shall be moving away from the Netherlands as I am very much attached to the beautiful South African landscapes and animals. I have not seen my family in over a year, and the last time I was there me and my boyfriend (I should say fiance, but it sounds so strange) gave out a few ribs and a lung for a measly week in South Africa... it was really short.

My father has now had a huge change on the farm and has invited us and surprised us with two paid-tickets to South Africa. YAY. (Really - I was ecstatic to hear that!) Until I realized... what are we going to do with 4 month old Luna? The ticket is booked from the 23rd of July-19 Aug.

So we researched if we could take her with us. Yes - but she may be subjected to quarantine for 14 days. I am not willing to take that risk.

Family? No... my parents would do it but they're in South Africa.

Friends? Nope... I don't trust the ones that have time and the other ones simply do not have time.

So, I've phoned her breeder (a very nice lady who lives on a farm but also works) who may be willing to take her in - depending on her husband. She owns Luna's mom Noah, who is a great dog. I would trust her with the dog but I feel uncertain because she has a job.

Now we've found a pension called Eskes. It's... like a fancy kennel. Kennels with floor heating and full ventilation at all times with cimate control, a raised sleeping platform, blankets and baskets, they get to stay with a partner (if personality permits), all animals are vaccinated, there's a vet on site at all times, the dogs are let out 3x a day onto an open play field on the beautiful farm... you do pay 9 euro's a day (which is actually cheap) but their primary goal is the dogs every day. They also are certified dog-handlers, and have been working with German Shepherds since 1972...

It all sounds good and Luna and we are going to check it out this afternoon to see if it clicks. I have NEVER had to leave a dog in a kennel (growing up in South Africa) and I haven't got any experience with it - which made me very skeptical and doubtful. I love Luna and I have put so much effort into her raising so far (and she's doing so well) that I fear that I'll come back to a spoiled dog - that they won't treat her right. Also, she will have gained a few kg's and have changed a lot to when we left. I am sorry, but it's so emotional for me to have to do this I even contemplated canceling the ticket but I also miss my family tremendously and this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance... :(

Does anyone here have experience with this?
 

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The pension sounds like your best option. Check it out and see how you feel. I would guess that you will come home to a slightly different dog. She's going to be in a very different atmosphere for 3 weeks so she'll grow & develop while you're away and it may take her a little time to reacquaint herself to you. I would also be a wreck if I was considering leaving my girl for that long. Bottom line, however, if the pension is reputable & you're comfortable, your pup will likely be fine. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I find myself getting all maternal about leaving her here. I care more about her than I can verbalize - but I think the Pension is also the best thing, depending on our impression this afternoon. I mean, their job is to care for the dogs... I suppose that is what you'd want for your dog, right?
 

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I've kenneled my dogs many times over the years. The people working there know dogs, they work with dogs all day, every day, and I'm sure they've seen it all. If you have specific concerns, just ask them.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sounds like a good idea... do you know if it is good to make some notes for them of what I usually do with Luna? e.g. sitting before eating etc?
 

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Oh god, when I drop my dogs off at the kennel I leave a typed out page of instructions. Maybe they're just rolling their eyes at me after I leave, but it makes me feel better and I've never had any of my dogs' training or manners "ruined" by staying at a kennel.
 

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I find myself getting all maternal about leaving her here. I care more about her than I can verbalize - but I think the Pension is also the best thing, depending on our impression this afternoon. I mean, their job is to care for the dogs... I suppose that is what you'd want for your dog, right?
Oh, believe me, I understand. My girl is my heart. I think I'd personally be most worried about what she'd be thinking or if she'd feel abandoned. I'm probably anthropomorphizing a bit but they do miss us when we're not around. The pension sounds lovely and I bet the people working there love dogs & will take excellent care of her. She'll probably have a blast playing with all the other dogs.
 

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Sounds like a good idea... do you know if it is good to make some notes for them of what I usually do with Luna? e.g. sitting before eating etc?
Reputable kennels will do anything you say as long as you inform them and write everything down for them. They have to watch your dog and any special needs your dog has, they have to fulfill those needs.
 

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I really hope so... and yes, I was thinking about typing out something myself, the only thing holding me back the idea of them rolling their eyes at me after I leave. But it's my dog... I mean, if I ran a pension I'd actually approve of people going the extra mile to take care of their dog's welfare and not just dumping them... right? Anyway, I think I am just going to do it. It's not just a sofa we are talking about here. It's a big deal.

I just feel so guilty for leaving her! I don't want her to feel abandoned or something.
 

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I really hope so... and yes, I was thinking about typing out something myself, the only thing holding me back the idea of them rolling their eyes at me after I leave. But it's my dog... I mean, if I ran a pension I'd actually approve of people going the extra mile to take care of their dog's welfare and not just dumping them... right? Anyway, I think I am just going to do it. It's not just a sofa we are talking about here. It's a big deal.

I just feel so guilty for leaving her! I don't want her to feel abandoned or something.
I don't think you should care what they think of you. You are bringing your dog there so your dog will be safe, you aren't looking for other people's approval. You are paying for their services, and I'm pretty sure they have had their fair share of dogs with special needs if they've been at this business as long as it seems they have.

Don't worry about your dog, your dog will be very happy to see you when you get back but probably won't miss you while your gone. There's a reason dogs and cats can be re-homed so often, they live in the moment, they don't constantly think about the past or the future like we do. If you've done your research on the place then you have nothing to worry about. Good luck!
 

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Oh god, when I drop my dogs off at the kennel I leave a typed out page of instructions. Maybe they're just rolling their eyes at me after I leave, but it makes me feel better and I've never had any of my dogs' training or manners "ruined" by staying at a kennel.
I had to leave Muggsy once in 12 years for a wedding. I paid a friend (who loved Muggsy and whom Muggsy loved) to stay in my home for the entire time and I handed him a book of instructions, then I called him every hour, including once when he was in the bathroom and I completely freaked and thought my dog was dying and that's why he couldn't answer the phone.

Yeah, I'm not the calmest person ever.
 

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I had to leave Muggsy once in 12 years for a wedding. I paid a friend (who loved Muggsy and whom Muggsy loved) to stay in my home for the entire time and I handed him a book of instructions, then I called him every hour, including once when he was in the bathroom and I completely freaked and thought my dog was dying and that's why he couldn't answer the phone.

Yeah, I'm not the calmest person ever.
LOL! I got to your last sentence and just cracked up because you described me to a tee. That is exactly what I'd do and panic would definitely set in if I couldn't get through to my sitter.
 

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I had to leave Muggsy once in 12 years for a wedding. I paid a friend (who loved Muggsy and whom Muggsy loved) to stay in my home for the entire time and I handed him a book of instructions, then I called him every hour, including once when he was in the bathroom and I completely freaked and thought my dog was dying and that's why he couldn't answer the phone.

Yeah, I'm not the calmest person ever.
Sounds like me. If the phone rings after 9pm I answer with "what's wrong?" or, if I'm feeling especially pessimistic, "who died?"

To the OP: What a difficult decision, but it does sound as though the boarding facility you found is good. Can you ask them for references or ask friends / neighbors with dogs / vet if they've ever used that facility or any others? Not that I have a ton of experience, but I don't think 3 weeks at a kennel will undo all your hard work. Good luck, I know what a hard decision this is.
 

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Oh if I have a house sitter, I practically write an instruction manual. But I rarely call... writing the instructions assuages my anxiety, and then once I'm out the door they're someone else's problem! :p
 

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I would find it very tough to leave Chester in a boarding facility but at least with 3 pages of instructions, I was able to leave him with my father for my vacation last year and will again this fall do the same thing. Part of that is me and being protective of him but part of it is that he can't be crated or kenneled so finding a suitable boarding location would be very difficult. I suggest making notes NOW about your dog's daily routine and quirks and that way when you think of things, you can add them to the list. For example, my dog hates being petted or touched on the rump, he will tolerate it now but I would want to warn a stranger not to pet or scratch him there (since many dogs do like that, most people wouldn't think twice about it).

But the rescue I work with does board dogs regularly (between fosters, new dogs they don't yet have a foster for, medical cases etc) and overall, those dogs do very well and don't pick up any bad habits or lose training (if they had training going in). The foster I just took in spent 2 months in boarding and while he's a quite a sensitive dog and was stressed there (lost some weight), he also is falling right into a household routine and hadn't forgotten his basic obedience (sit/stay/down, leash walking).

The place you are looking at sounds good, the only thing that raised a question to me was this:
the dogs are let out 3x a day onto an open play field on the beautiful farm
Is it fully fenced? How many dogs and how many people to watch them? I wouldn't allow my dog to be off-leash outside of an unfenced area (without me around) and I would want to know they had a good ratio of people to dogs in case of rough play or fights. I'll assume they temperament test but even friendly dogs can get going too rough in a big group.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
I'll just respond in one message, thank you for all of the feedback. After an initially good impression from their website we visited the pension this afternoon. It was indeed an old farm... with a shed at the back with rows of kennels. Barking met us from all sides. A caged german shephard jumped at the bars from another shed. We were lead inside and met by yelping dogs with a badly ventilated kennel room - a passage behind a solid door with kennels. The stench of urine and poo was nasty. The dogs looked ecstatic to see us, and I felt sorry for them.

We got into the car, and both sighed. "So... Who are we phoning next?" was Peter's first question.

So, the pension is a no go... I wouldn't survive knowing little Luna is in such a place. On the upside, however: I phoned a good friend of the family whom I had already assumed had no time. Surprisingly, he responded with: "sure, we have time." He really is the perfect guy for the job and I was very surprised, but he co incidentally does have time around that time - and him and his girlfriend are brilliant with dogs!

So as unlikely as it seemed two hours ago we have had a fruitful day. Thanks everyone! :)
 

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I just feel so guilty for leaving her! I don't want her to feel abandoned or something.
Just a thought, do you have a friend or someone else that Luna knows well that you could ask to go and visit her?

I've never kenneled my pets for that long, and I can understand why you're worried.

ETA: Oops, ignore! I didn't see the last posts.
 

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Yikes, scary boarding place.

ETA: hmm, I looked up their website and while my Dutch is pretty bad, it didn't impress me; mostly because of the lack of photos and the one photo of the kennel aisle looked dirty and dark. Also, fancy descriptions but really limited details is a red flag to me in general. Like, if they say "dogs will play in nature daily" I want to know things like fencing, group size, supervision, time outside etc.

Good to hear that your friend can watch her. A suggestion would be to still find a boarding backup, someplace suitable for a day or two even if its just the vet's office, in case your friend becomes ill or has an emergency. While not ideal to board a dog for a long time at a vet's office (since they usually are kennel the majority of the day with leashed potty breaks) it would at least be a safe option.
I would also contact my vet and let them know that my dog was going to be staying with someone else, that they had permission to treat emergency conditions up to whatever specific amount of money, put a credit card on file, and to contact me otherwise. Here in the US, dogs have medical privacy rights also and a vet can't answer questions about your dog or give out his medical records without written authorization from the owner. So it is good to give that ahead of time, even just if your friend needs to call with a question or a minor injury like a cut.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Don't worry, the breeder is still an option and we are visiting her tomorrow with Luna to see how things go just in case our friend has something else going on. We will leave him all the other details, of course, including my parents-in-law's number in case anything were to happen to us. If anything WERE to happen to us I'd haunt good people in the afterlife to take my dog! I actually fear something happening to us in fear of Luna's wellbeing and fate. I am not paranoid at all... :redface:
 
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