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. That’s so cool you had a friend who could come stay with Eko while you were gone. Before I got married I did a few housesitting/petsitting gigs and thought it was pretty fun.

    We usually board Boomer and Dottie, we’ve got a good kennel where they can be together in a run with two beds that’s indoor/outdoor, climate controlled and has a video camera so I can check in and see what they are up to. Ideally we’d like them to stay at home because Dottie doesn’t do very well in boarding even with Boomer with her but we can’t find someone to stay.

    • That’s great you found a place where they can be together (and you can keep an eye on them!). A lot of people want pets, but can’t have one for various reasons, so pet-sitting is kind of a nice “rent-a-dog” situation for them.

  2. We have been lucky enough to stay with mom’s cousin when mom takes off on us which isn’t often but we wish we didn’t have to bother her. In Germany we watched friends dogs and they watched us but no one in this country wants to take us on even though we watch dogs for others all the time. If you lived in the Twin Cities we would be set because we would love to hang out with Eko. Otherwise mom has contemplated a dog walking service but we don’t trust just anyone and boarding is so expensive for 2 of us but it would be an option – only at the top places that we know of, of course. It is a difficult problem!

    • Sounds like we have all the same issues – except you have them double! Friends and family are always a great choice, but like you said, things can be pricey at nicer boarding places. It seems like services like dogvacay.com might offer a solution, but I would have to find the right person for it to work well.

  3. The best way is word of mouth. We have the best pet sitter we drop the girls off at. She even removed some baby quills from a porcupine from Lacey’s muzzle on her last stay. Good luck with the search.

  4. Good luck! How much do you think I would have to pay someone to come to my house and take care of 7 dogs, a mini pig, a horse, 2 goats, and a barn cat?

    I don’t think I’ll be taking a vacation… ever lol

    • Oh man, forget about other people taking care of your mini-zoo, how do YOU even have the time to do it! I definitely won’t complain next time Eko is bothering me for a walk.

      • haha I know, right? I drive 40 minutes to work, work 40 hours a week away from home, at least another 20 a week at home on my products, and in between I go out to the barn, feed the horse and goats, let the dogs and the mini pig out, get to work, start dinner, feed the dogs and pig, have a minute with my husband, then go to bed.

        He at least takes care of everyone in the morning and a lot of times helps feed 1/2 the critters in the evening. Somehow we get it all done 🙂 The weekends are nice!

        The house is never super clean and there are often times dishes in the sink. I wouldn’t have it any other way though because the animals make our life whole 🙂

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