Wednesday, April 13, 2011

You Can’t Put a Price on Dog Ownership, or Why Don’t I Take the Dog to Atlanta and Board the Kids?

So a couple of you astute readers noticed that I slipped that “Oh yeah, we got a dog” reference into my last post. If you are wondering why I haven’t been in the blogging saddle for two months, that’s why. Jack is wonderful and loving and devoted to us, but he is also an 11-month old black lab who has a lot of energy. A LOT of energy. Power-New-York-City single-handedly amounts of energy. The upside is that between our twice-a-day jogs (did I mention his energy?) and a particularly nasty bout with a GI bug, I am wearing jeans I haven’t worn since my wedding. But back to my story…

It’s not like I’ve never owned a dog. I grew up with dogs, but childhood for me was a while ago. Apparently things have changed in the dog-owning world in the last twenty years. Perhaps it was because we grew up in a more rural area, but when we went out of town, I suppose we paid a neighbor kid to throw some kibble over the fence and make sure our dogs had water every couple of days. It was a different time, a simpler time.

Flash-forward to last week, when Scott and I sat down and look at our calendars. We remembered that we have a trip to Atlanta coming up. This will be our first family trip since the acquisition of our four-legged friend. Would we find a neighbor kid to throw some kibble over the fence? The answer was a resounding NO since Jack’s barks can be heard from space, and he tends to bark a lot when he is feeling lonely. (Jack’s definition of lonely is any time someone is not actively petting him, feeding him, or throwing something into the air for him to retrieve.) We decided that boarding was the way to go. But not something frilly, fancy, or stupid. No pet spas. Jack is a manly dog, and just the basics would do fine. We laughed at the type of people that would actually spend good money to board their dog at a facility with pet-cams, doggie cots, and a turn-down service. “Suburban Yuppie Twits,” we scoffed, smug in our complete superiority as down-to-earth dog owners.

Oh, hi. Let me introduce myself. I am Vaiden, the Suburban Yuppie Twit and this is Jack, my Suburban Yuppie Twit dog.

As we entered the doggie hotel, which will now on be referred to as “S.Y.T. Boarding”, I knew that I wasn’t in proverbial Kansas any more. I asked the receptionists (yes, there were three) if I could have a tour, as I had a new dog and would be leaving him for the weekend. I was shown the luxury suites, the VIP suites, the executive suites, the geriatric suites, and the adventure suites. The hospitality specialist giving me the tour must have thought I was out of my mind, because I could not stop laughing. I really lost it when she explained the aromatherapy baths and the organic peanut butter treats. I told her that Jack was really just a good old-fashioned family dog, and that he was not used to a lot of pampering. With a withering look down her nose at me, we continued our tour.

When we were finished, I was handed my list of services, a second-mortgage application, and a SEVENTEEN (17) page application packet. Please understand that when I sent my human children to preschool, a five-page application was probably average. Basic questions, attach a health form, and we were good to go. Not so with S.Y.T. Boarding! I would like to share with you some of the application and screening questions:

On a scale of 1 to 5, where would you rate your dog’s intelligence?
Although Jack has mastered long division and enjoys Russian literature, he still likes sniffing poop, so I’ll go with a solid 3.

Does your dog require anything special to feel secure and at home?
Um, no. He’s a Black Lab, not Kim Kardashian.

How many times a day does your dog eliminate?
Eliminate what? Bad thoughts? Carbs? OH, that. 5.6 times during the colder months, and 7.1 during the summer, as his fluid intake is increased… I DON’T KNOW, friends. I have a life, and I try to spend as little of it as possible watching my dog’s rear end for activity.

Are there any animals or breeds of dog that your dog is afraid of?
None that he has mentioned to me.

Are there any breeds of dog that you are afraid of?
I do not like Pit Bulls, and Chihuahuas really freak me out. Clowns and spiders also freak me out. Please don’t have any of those in the executive suite.

This went on for seventeen pages. I had to fill out boarding contracts, grooming contracts, day-camp contracts, special activities contracts, and occasional treat contracts. I kept expecting someone to jump out and yell, “Gotcha, Stupid Yuppie Sucker!” but it appeared that everyone was very serious. So I said goodbye to my dignity, signed the reservation form, and can leave for Atlanta with the knowledge that my furry friend Jack will be cared for by an excellent staff at a state-of-the-art facility. I just hope the downtown Hilton has a turn-down service and a gourmet organic peanut butter treat on my pillow, too.


  1. LOL! And since I have witnessed it, I would like to add that Jack enjoys a chaser of dog poop after he scarfs down his kibble. Yeah I don't think the downtown hilton has turn down service, but did I mention you and I are staying at the Ritz in Bulkhead while Scott and Howie take on the kids at their hotel ;-).

  2. LOL how funny!!! But I have to say. A new dog on your new hardwood floors that you just put in OH MY!!!

  3. Wow. So I guess 'Beverly Hills Chihuahua' was a real nightmare for you? (Much as it was for the rest of us?) :-)

  4. Please send me the number for S.Y.T. Boarding...this place sounds great. The next time I need to just "get away", I'm going to call them. For me...we don't have a dog.