Who Takes Care Of Your Pet When You’re Away?

Eko and I go just about everywhere together but sometimes a guy needs a break.  Eko, that is – I can be a handful.  Every once in a while Eko needs a vacation.  I’m the one with the opposable thumbs and driver’s license, so to give Eko time off I will leave for a wedding or weekend without him.  Although he is quite talented, Eko lacks those thumbs I mentioned and can’t manage things on his own while I’m gone.


Rhodesian Ridgeback, dog adventure

Locking and unlocking the door is a tough gig when you have no thumbs

On a recent weekend I needed to find someone to look after Eko while I’m gone.  My sister moved back to NYC and Emily has an ever changing work schedule, so I had to look for another option.  There is no one-size-fits-all “best” plan when it comes to planning for your pet while you’re away, but for Eko’s weekend vacation my hope was that he could stay at home.  He would be comfortable in a familiar place, he could watch the world go by outside his favorite window and all he really needed was a couple square meals and some playtime in between.  That’s why it’s great to have a friend like Andrew who likes hanging out with man’s best friend.

dog blog, dog adventure

Andrew and me in college outside the main classroom building.  He’s the one holding the miniature horse.  It’s a long story.   The important part is that Andrew is great with all kinds of pets

Before leaving I had Andrew stop by while I was home so that Eko could introduce himself properly.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, dog adventure

Andrew was immediately subjected to a rigorous sniff test

pet blog, pet adventure, pet photo

He passed with flying colors

Eko and Andrew were fast friends, but I still had one concern.  Eko is fine walking on leash with me but I noticed that he can be a butthead when other people walk him.  He thinks since I’m not around that he’s in charge, so it was important to let Andrew know not to take any nonsense from Eko when out for a walk.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, dog blog

Andrew also got a the “hold on tight when Eko sees a squirrel” lesson

Eko had a great weekend with Andrew and I am lucky to have a friend who I knew would take good care of my pup.  However, Andrew won’t always be around so I am in the market for some other options.  There are a number of boarding places in Chicago, but I’m not sure the best way to pick between them.  I recently learned about dogvacay.com which also looks like an appealing option.  Clearly I have my homework cut out for me.

Anyone have any advice, suggestions or recommendations about the best ways to care for your pet when you’re away?

40 thoughts on “Who Takes Care Of Your Pet When You’re Away?”

  1. He’s such a cute pup. We have that problem here as well. You see, I’m a pig. A miniature pot bellied pig. I’m rather on the small size – about 45 pounds – compared to grown full size pigs. Did you know that you can’t ‘board’ pigs. I don’t understand that, not at all. And like you, it is really hard to find a sitter for a slightly spoiled, quick learner, needy pig. Nana has done it in the past but she’s not always available to my demanding schedule. What’s a pig to do? XOXO – Bacon

    • Just when I think I have problems finding a place to board Eko, along comes a pig! I would be clamoring to hang out with a quick-witted pig for a few days, I’m surprised there isn’t a waiting list.

      • aaww you’re good for my ego. Mom says I’m needy. Not really. As long as there is food involved – I’m good! XOXO – Bacon

  2. well i’d say you have a great friend and he looks like he enjoys Eko too -dog vacay looks really nice, i checked into that too – now why don’t the two of you explain the pony – that sounds like a really good story!

    • Haha, the pony story could be a novel in it’s own right! In short, Andrew and I were in charge of the annual regatta on campus. It’s one of the biggest events of the year, but college kids have short attention spans so it is important to remind them. We were promoting the event the day beforehand. A friend lived on a farm nearby and we all agreed that his miniature horse, Elliot, would be a memorable attention grabber. Needless to say, Elliot was a hit and so was the regatta.

  3. I also have this problem, and with 2 dogs it is hard to ask a friend. I am also uneasy about having strangers come into my home when I am not there. I have toured several boarding places and found one that for me is ideal (no cages, lots of individual attendion, but it can get expensive. I would rather pay the money and know they are being cared for, though then be nervious while I am away with another option. I just count it as part of the xcost of having such wonderful companions. Tour failities yourself and ask for recommendations. See also if they belong to any national kennel associations that have quality standards.

    • Couldn’t agree more. If it came down to it, I would happily pay more to know that Eko was happy and healthy while I was away. It would just have to factor into the vacation budget. Dogvacay.com intrigues me because it seems like you can get very reasonable rates and your pet can be in a home. Thanks for the tips, I will be sure to note those points when I’m checking out different places.

  4. Well, we don’t go away much and when we do I prefer that my cat and dog are home TOGETHER. They are super close and separating them (by boarding) would be awful. I have a friend who slept here (I paid her) and she took care of both of them.
    Often it is just me going away and when that happens my husband stays with them.

    • I never thought about that problem – I don’t imagine any places offer combined boarding, that would be tough. I agree, it is definitely easier for pets (and our peace of mind) if they get to stay at home. Although, I do know a few social pups who love boarding because it means lots of playtime with other people/dogs. My hope it to find a place that combines training/day care/boarding that I can use as back up just in case a friend isn’t around.


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