When I was younger, my parents owned a boarding kennel. They had purchased it along with our childhood home and 100 acres of forest. We had 15 kennels for dogs, and about 5 for cats. Small, but big enough for rural NS. Since we already had a client list from the previous owner, we never experienced a lull in business really.
At the time, there were four of us kids living at home. Ranging somewhere from about 6-14. We didn’t have a dog of our own, so every dog that came into our kennel got treated like royalty. I would like to dedicate this post to all of the animals that stayed with us and helped us to learn about life, pets, responsibility, compassion, and understanding.
Piasso: He was a large border collie. We never ever left him in his kennel because he was so good. During the day, he would frolic in the yard with us, follow us through the woods, and doze on the lawn. At night, he slept in the house with us. He was such a sir; always crossing his front legs when laying. He had strange curly fur, and was looked a bit silly. He was never far from us kids, always watching to make sure that we were being good. We became good friends with his family, and they had no problem with our casual treatment of him. We loved having him stay.
Tiny husky pup: I can’t remember her name, but she was a girl. Brand spanking new. Her family was going away for Christmas and had to leave her with us over the holidays. We couldn’t imagine having such a tiny pup stay all alone with the big dogs in the kennel, so she spent Christmas with us. She participated in all of our family traditions, and was the sweetest little pup ever. She made Christmas even more magical that year.
Corky: He was a corgi and my older brother’s favorite. Corky’s favorite toy was an empty pop bottle, and he loved that thing more than life itself. Corky did sleep in the kennel, but during the day he wasn’t in there at all. He was my brother’s little buddy, and followed him wherever he went.
Blind Dog (Boo?): He was my favorite. A giant, white, northern-looking dog. He was blind in both eyes, so he had to be on a leash. I spent hours and hours walking him. Holding flowers to his nose for him to smell, talking to him about all my problems, guiding him away from potholes and obstructions. He was a calm, sweet, gentle soul, and I did everything I could think of to not have him feel left out. I think his owners were even from the prairies, but loved our kennel so much that they would drop him with us on their way to wherever they were going. He taught me an awful lot about life.
Coo: Coo was a border collie that stayed with us often. The poor little thing had been abused by previous owners, so she was a bit flighty. She was scared of staying in the kennel, so she stayed in our house, too. She would growl and snap and grumble. She was scared of quick movement. She always had her tail between her legs. We did our best, and eventually she warmed up a bit, but not much. Whenever I think about her, it makes me sad. My mom did everything she could to make Coo comfortable with us. And even though she was scared and timid and distrusting, her owners kept coming back because they said she did better with us than anyone else.
Goldens: There were two goldens (sisters I think) that stayed with us a few times. They were hilarious. Full of energy and life. They saw my brother and I bouncing on the trampoline one summer afternoon and decided to join us. Of course, we were careful. I think that, like most goldens, they really just wanted to be part of whatever we were doing. They definitely had an impact on my need to get Mylo.
Husky siblings: These two were a source of unending entertainment for my brother and I. We happened to have them with us during the winter, and NS gets A LOT of snow. So, on a snow day, we were at home, bored and sick of the cold when my mom said we had to go walk the dogs. My little brother was too young to handle a dog alone, so we put him in the sled and grabbed the huskies. Then, we got an idea. These were actual sled dogs, so maybe they would pull us in the sled. My mom hitched the sled up to their harnesses, and we were off. Those dogs had a blast tearing up and down the driveway with us. We still have a video of it. They were doing what they loved and also providing entertainment for two small kids.
These certainly are not the only dogs that we formed bonds with, they are just the only ones that I can remember at this exact minute. We only had the kennel for a few years as eventually the hours became too open with four kids and their after school activities. Remember, we lived in the middle of nowhere, nothing was within walking distance, and none of our friends lived all that close. I remember the kennel as one of my favorite things about childhood. It was idyllic to me. Since we’ve had dogs, I have always tried to find a boarding kennel that meets those personal standards to take my boys to. But, it hasn’t happened yet. Too many focus too much on the business side, and not the individual side. After all, with exceptional treatment comes full bookings, right?