Double check, before you check in your pet

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, September 19, 2009

Have you ever thought about taking your four legged family member on vacation?

There are several options to consider before heading out. There are, of course, pet friendly hotels, condos, and other rentals.

Another option that we recently tried was finding a pet boarding facility in the area we were going to be visiting.

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We just returned from a vacation on the beach. We decided that we would take our giant schnauzer, Boaz, with us, because he loves the water and loves to swim.

He is a large dog so we knew it would not be easy to find a large-pet friendly hotel. We researched kennels in the area and found the website of a local “bed and biscuit.” We called them and explained that we would like to board Boaz, but pick him up and take him to the beach and then bring him back.

We looked up Myrtle Beach law and discovered that dogs are only allowed on the beach between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. during the peak season. We wanted to have everything lined out before we left.

They quickly told us that this would not be a problem.

We arrived at the kennel and it was a great place. It was clean, fresh, and the owner seemed to take pride in his facility. We got Boaz all settled and was ready to head to our hotel.

We told the owner that we would be back the next day and pick him up about 4:30 p.m., so he could romp on the beach. He told us that this would not be possible because they close at 6 p.m.

This was not the news we wanted to hear because the only reason we took Boaz was so he could enjoy the beach. We explained to the owner that when we made his reservations we specifically asked if this would be a problem. He said there must be a misunderstanding and his wife would call us when she got in.

We talked to her several times before booking Boaz there.

She called us later that night. She told us that when we talked about picking him up and taking him to the beach, that she never thought about us not being able to take him out on the beach until 5:00 p.m.

We assumed she knew the laws, which she did, but she never thought about it when making the reservations.

We were able to make arrangements to get him a couple of evenings. But if the owners would not have been flexible we would have been out of luck.

Don’t make the same mistake we made. Check, check, and then double check? If you use a kennel, confirm your plans.

If you are booking a pet friendly hotel, double check their rules. Do they have a size limit? Do they require the dog to be crated when you are not present? Will you be required to pay a large deposit? What happens if your dog is a barker? Will you need to find a place to wash your dog after a day on the beach?

By planning ahead and double checking everything, a trip with your extended furry family can be fun for everyone.

Remember, every dog deserves to be treated like a show dog.

Tony Barker, The BARKer Shop