Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Am I Overreacting?

I was a bad momma (not that anyone else in my family helped much!). I waited until almost the last minute to make boarding plans for Buddy, so when I did finally call, my vet's office was full. They recommended I try another place. They were also full. Neither one of them could or would recommend any other specific place.

So I broke out the phone book.  I found a place that charges the same approximate rates as my vet office.  Details include letting them out in the yard 4 times a day. They don't let them out with the other animals so there's no concern about fighting. They'll provide Science Diet for Sensitive stomachs if you don't bring in your own food. I made notes. I scheduled the dates. I wrote down the times for pickup and drop off that I was told. They needed a copy of his records faxed for boarding purposes. Everything seemed okay. Except for me immediately being nervous about boarding him in an unfamiliar place.

A few days later, Megan found out where I was going to be boarding him. She told me a story of someone she knows who "works" there that let a dog out at the wrong time and the dog ran into the road, almost being hit by a car. Suddenly, I'm even less comfortable.

But we get to the place to drop him off at the time discussed and they have an awesome pictorial guide to the staff hanging on the wall, which doesn't include the offender Megan mentioned. Whew!

Seriously though, I included these snacks and food:

And I included these instructions (though I fear you won't be able to read them well):

We also took this chewed up purple blanket that he lays on when Steve is hanging out in the kitchen in the mornings, plus his kong to chew on if he wanted to.  Some comforts of home because we know he has some separation anxiety.
They asked if we wanted him to get bathed or his nail trimmed. We opted for the nail trim but we'll do his bathing at home. We left the facility. I was actually feeling okay by the time we were heading home from dropping him off. Not great, but okay. That was on Wednesday, July 3rd.
Fast forward to Monday, July 8th. As much as I'd love to be there first thing to get him, they open at 9am. We open at 9am. Megan wouldn't be home all day because she's off visiting her military boyfriend and won't get home until late Monday night. Katana has to go into work for scheduling and then has marching band practice in the afternoon. I didn't want to get him and then have everyone abandon him at home in the afternoon. So we were patient. But Steve and I didn't dally about getting the store closed at 5pm to head out there. It's about a 15 minute drive from home.
We arrived by 5:30pm. But no one was there. We tried the door. It was locked. We tried to call. There was a machine with some basic info but no way to leave a message. It gave an emergency contact number that belonged to some on-call vet service based out of who-knows-where. We were so sad we couldn't get our dog. The sign outside the door said they closed at 5pm. But I KNOW that didn't correlate to what I was told on the phone when I made the reservation. And I took notes, which were sitting at my workstation at the store. Plus, they didn't call me, even though I was scheduled to pick him up?  As Steve said on our way home, I would NOT have "forgotten" the pick up time if I had to make arrangements to leave work early. But I was certain they said we had until 6pm to pick him up.
When Megan got home from her long weekend away, one of the first phrases out of her mouth was, "Where's Buddy?" She thought we were joking when we told her he wasn't home yet.
When Katana got home from marching band practice, her first question (after greeting her sister) was, "Where's Buddy?" She was disbelieving and distressed when we told her he wasn't home.
It was a sad Monday night in our household. :-(
Steve had an onsite service at 8:30 Tuesday morning. The minute he got back to the store, I was heading out to get our beloved dog. Still, at 10:30am when he got there, the boarding place had not called me about the fact that I hadn't picked him up yet.
When I arrived to pick him up, I mentioned the time issue, and the person I spoke with was unapologetic and said they've never been open until 6pm on Mondays for pickups, only on Sundays.  But I wrote it down. I had the proof in my hand from the phone call notes. Not like it mattered to her.
I asked why they didn't call when I didn't show up even though I had only scheduled him through Monday. Her response: they don't call. They just assume something came up. Maybe the plane was late. After all, people are on vacation. Stuff happens. (What?!)
She hands me a carbon paper form with test results and said there were no fecal worms found in his test. I asked why they gave him this test. She replied that my vet office didn't fax anything over regarding that test. But he just had one at the end of May (goodness, yes, I actually can tell you when that test was!!).  Am I being charged for this test? Yes, it's $19.50. But wait! Shouldn't someone have SAID something to me about it when we dropped him off so I could have contacted my vet. Oh, well, I'm sorry no one said anything to you.
When they brought Buddy up front, he was uncontrollable. He's always excited when we drop him off at our vet office for boarding. He's always just as excited to see us when we pick him up. He was so out of control that I had difficulty getting his leash connected to his collar. But I did. And we left.
When I drive with Buddy in my car, he tends to stand, a lot, in the center console area between my two front seats. I'll pet his cheek and head with my right hand. I'll pull him over and kiss his cheek. And when I did that on our way home Tuesday, he yelped. That is just more cause for concern to me.
When I got him home, I unpacked his bag. Two of the 5 cans of Alpo are still in the bag. At least half of the dry food is there. Almost all the good potty treats and doggy crack (Milk Bone soft snacks) are still here. All of the "cookies" (Milk Bone crunchy bars) are gone. All but one of the chicken rolls are gone.  Yes, I expected some of those things to come back. I didn't expect any of the canned food back. The stuff we took barely scratched the surface of what he would receive at home. Granted, we don't go through a can of Alpo a day, but that's because he gets a real breakfast (often pancakes or eggs) and he gets real food for dinner, supplemented by the Alpo. So without the breakfast and the other dinner food, he should have gone through the whole 5 cans.
It's possible I'm overreacting, which is why I won't yet mention the name of the place we took him. To me, though, the biggest issue was communication. Yes, Mercury is in Retrograde and can screw up communication, but this is too much of an issue when I'm trusting a loved one to you AND paying you good money to do it! We're disturbed by the inability to leave a message on an answering machine. I'm mad as hell (and Steve says I should have refused but they didn't bring the dog up until the bill was paid) that they performed a test on him without ever mentioning it to me prior to doing it. I'm flabbergasted that someone would tell me pickup hours that don't coincide with the sign.  Oh, and I have to mention here: Katana remembers them SAYING the pick up time when we dropped him off. It was kind of nice to know that we had more than my notes from a phone call to base that pickup time assumption on. I'm flabbergasted that they wouldn't call someone on the next morning if a pet isn't picked up on the scheduled day.
Also, I'd have to add that our dog was a little crazy last night. Not necessarily responding and behaving in the way he has recently. We've worked really hard to get him to be responsive to commands (and we're still working on it). To have him blatantly disregard some of those is crazy! But maybe he was just uber-excited to be home. We'll give that complaint a few days before we consider it valid.
Am I overreacting by saying I would never ever, ever, ever take him there again?


  1. I'd cancel payment on the check/credit card! That's just wrong and I'd report them to the better business bureau!

    1. I disagree with having to pay for a test they didn't tell me about. I also don't think I should necessarily have to pay for the extra night, but I have no issues with the other charges. I think the blog post and Facebook are actually BETTER forms of reporting them than the Better Business Bureau.

      I'll give the kennel manager some credit for doing a follow-up phone call. Unfortunately, he knew nothing about any of my complaints because Vickie (the woman who processed us out) didn't share my complaints and concerns with him. At least he made me feel "heard" which is more than I can say for Vickie.

      I still won't board Buddy there again.