Friday, July 17, 2009

A Dog Boarding Nightmare

"My Gidgie Girl"

For the third time in 12 years, my husband and I were off to vacation with the kids. This year it was a week at Lake Raystown, a place we go often for extended weekends. We love it there...the girls (our dogs, Lily, a boxer, and Gidget, a mix from the SPCA) were headed to a kennel that came as a highly recommended spot by a friend that boarded their dog there. They stayed there once for a weekend and it seemed like all was well. This was their second trip...which included a very unhappy ending.

On Wednesday (more than halfway through our trip), the kennel called to say that Gidget had a swollen paw. We had Gidget to the vet about two months prior for the same issue and the vet could find nothing wrong. So we told the kennel since it was only two more days we'd take her to the vet on Friday as soon as we got back but to please keep an eye on it. They asked if we wanted her to see a vet, but given the past blip we declined because the swelling we'd seen in her paw previously was minor. We called Thursday to check on her, but there was no answer.

Thursday night, I packed as much as I could...and Friday morning, Robert got up early and finished the packing to head home. On our ride home, the kennel called. They said that her foot had split to a fifty-cent piece size opening. Since we were already on our way, we told them we would be picking her up and taking to the vet anyway. They said that was fine, and that they had separated the girls because Lily was licking Gidgets wound, which supposedly appeared that morning. I honestly didn't expect anything major but a minor scrape...when I arrived the woman asked where I parked, to which I replied the parking lot. Then said she thought I should drive all the way around to the back of the kennel to get Gidget (which was not where customers normally pick up dogs).
I became increasingly concerned as the woman told me Gidget had not been eating so she gave her a bunch of dog bones and how Gidget had a "black" line on her paw yesterday. We finally walked in to get Gidget...and as I entered the kennel she didn't do anything but look at me. She didn't move at all. I felt like her face said, why did you leave me here? My heart sank as I'm used to what you'd expect from a 9-month old puppy...her usual springs of happiness to see her pseudo-Mommy, and what I saw was a puppy that could barely get up.
When I walked into the kennel and knelt down to look at her, I saw this...


And this...

In the moment...I was so upset I could only think of getting her and Lily out of there and getting Gidget to the vet. I left without so much as a receipt...and went straight to the vet almost 2 hours before our appointment because clearly she needed medical treatment right away.

When I arrived at the vet, I was all but in tears of relief to be there with her finally. I told the receptionists she needed to be seen right away, and they saw her pretty much immediately. The vet tech shared some words of wisdom with me during this time where I wasn't thinking clearly. She and the vet both said that this wound was definitely there for a few days...about 3...because the wound had started granulating. The vet also said the wound was due to trauma...not split open because of swelling. Furthermore, Gidget lost 4 pounds in less than a week of being there (she weighed 44lbs when we had her at the vet 2 days prior to the kennel!!). I will never take my girls back to Locust Run Kennels and will share this experience with whoever will listen because maybe it will help you avoid this issue. Until these last two trips, I've always boarded my dogs with the vet or had a trusted friend care for them while we're away...and I'll always regret leaving them at the kennel.

I'd like to say all is well, but we won't know a 100% for sure until this is healed. The vet said this kind of wound could cost her that leg...she has to be confined to the crate until Monday's follow-up vet visit...when she'll be rebandaged, stitches will be checked, etc. Lily (our boxer) was also traumatized and an emotional wreck because she had no idea what was going on and where her sister was. We are fighting the kennel for the cost of the vet visit on principle that this injury happened on their watch, and they NEGLECTED to inform us of the real injury or seek proper care for her. I asked the guy if he would want his dog to be neglected treatment with that kind of wound...cost of the vet visit: $659 for xrays, sedatives, pain killers, antibiotics, etc...the cost of my baby home safe is invaluable.

Be sure to Google kennels and do your research...nothing can replace a trusted friend or a caring vet...OR a very precious non-human member of the family, like Gidget.


Jill said...

Just so that you know, I have 2 dogs that go there on a regular basis, one for 6 years and the other for the last 3 and they love going there. When we come over the hill toward the kennel before we have even gotten there they are wagging their tails and happy as can be. Our dogs are high spirited and can test your patience and yet they have never been treated poorly. Your one time experience should not taint their reputation

Aleash said...

Hi Jill -

Thank you for your comment. I am happy for you that your experience has been a good one. Unfortunately ours was not and I know of two other people who had similar issues.

Even though you are a happy customer, as a fellow dog owner, I'm sure you would have been upset if you were in our situation and had our experience. I will say they did make good and reimburse us for our expenses.

That said, I still would not take my dogs to this kennel again, nor recommend it based on my own experience and good conscience. What others decide is up to them.