Booker Pet Care
Why is ‘Home from Home Boarding’ Better Than a Kennel?

Why is ‘Home from Home Boarding’ Better Than a Kennel?

Our Experience of Kennels years ago, myself and my husband went to Dublin for a weekend.  It wasn’t actually a full weekend – given that we dropped Maggie off at the kennels at lunchtime on the Saturday, and collected her again on Sunday lunchtime.  In fact, it was just over 24 hours really!!  Maggie wasn’t quite a year old. 

The Kennel Drop

We dropped Maggie off with a very well known, reputable, clean kennels on the Saturday.  Although we’d paid for standard boarding for the time, we’d also elected to pay for additional options for additional fees. In particular, we paid for two additional walks, additional play session with someone to be with her.  Also, we elected for Maggie to have a sofa rather than a hard bed.  Having a TV turned on above her cage was also an option, but we declined.  Maggie was used to a radio being on all the time, and they already had that, so that was ok. 

It’s important to realise that we thought that dogs stayed in kennels. We’d never heard of home boarding.  With this in mind, we thought all would be ok and Maggie would be happy and well looked after.  Surprisingly now we think about it, we had no cause for concern.  The staff were lovely and the establishment was well respected and seemed to meet our needs.Booker Pet Care, Wetherby, Home from Home Dog Boarding, Pet Boarding, Pet and Cat Visiting, 'Bark and Ride' Pet Taxi

The Kennel Collection

When we collected Maggie the next day she was extremely pleased to see us, however, conversely seemed very unhappy, very distressed, and also seemed to have a sore throat.  She seemed nervous and distracted.  She didn’t ‘speak’ to us for over one full week, coupled with being quite ill – very, very worrying at the time.

To the Vets

It was an horrendous time.  In fact, I recently found some emails that my husband and I exchanged at the time.  We were backwards and forwards to the Vets as Maggie refused to eat and was really depressed and subdued.  Consequently, she underwent all kinds of blood tests and general tests as the Vet tried to determine what was wrong with her.  Anyone knowing Labradors knows that loss of appetite is a pretty serious thing!  Labradors simply live to eat!!!  We had to carry her into the Vets as she refused to walk in there, and just seemed to give up on life. 

Henry, Yogi and MaggieNothing wrong?

In spite of Maggie’s symptoms, the Vet could find no abnormalities. The Vet finally determined that it was either a viral infection Maggie had picked up at the kennels, or severe stress from excessive barking and straining of her throat. 

It was like she was punishing us initially and she just wanted to get back at us for leaving her.  Of course, we had badly wronged her, but she was quite ill! 

Common Reaction to Kennels?

It transpired from speaking to other people who used kennels, that Maggie, in common with many other dogs, had been deeply distressed by her stay.  Other people had described similar experiences – we felt so guilty and so stupid for not anticipating how she would cope.  We just hadn’t considered exactly what was going to happen. 

Maggie was used to a family environment.  She was used to sleeping on our leather suite with her legs in the air and having us to herself. Maggie knew that if she wanted a cuddle or some attention, that was exactly what we were there for!  So we put her in a metal cage outside with a concrete floor.  She then shared her 24 hours alongside rows and rows of other cages, all filled with dogs all barking continuously – all as distressed as Maggie! 

Booker Pet Care, Wetherby, Home from Home Dog Boarding, Pet Boarding, Pet and Cat Visiting, 'Bark and Ride' Pet TaxiWhat Happens In a Kennels

Dogs going into kennels are not supervised at all times – as we discovered.  Our experience was that the dogs are left in outside cages with concrete floors, with nothing familiar in their surroundings.  The only familiarity was the toys or blankets that we provided. 

Their cage is amongst rows and rows of other cages, all filled with other dogs – not knowing why they’re there.  They don’t understand where their families are or what they’ve done to deserve such treatment.  They don’t know whether they’ll ever see their owners again. 

All very distressed, confused dogs who spend the entire time barking and barking – calling for the return of their families!   The amount of distress felt by one dog is passed on to the other dogs.  The sense of loss is magnified from cage to cage.  Their belief that they have been deserted.  If they wee or soil in their cage, they’ll have to wait for one of the workers to come and sort it out.  Dogs don’t like to be dirty.  The worker may arrive in a few minutes – or it may be tea time or even several hours away.  Maggie certainly was not at all happy having to live in this environment.

Booker Pet Care, Wetherby, Home from Home Dog Boarding, Pet Boarding, Pet and Cat Visiting, 'Bark and Ride' Pet TaxiHow does Home Boarding Work?

The Home boarding that I offer is ‘private’ – we have up to five dogs within our home with our own dogs. We have plenty of room.  The dogs get all the attention they could possibly want.  We’re there to make sure they’re happy and get cuddles and treats.  Boarding dogs live in our house with us and our dogs as a family – a very calm and happy environment.  I am around all the time – except for when I deliver dog food once or twice a week for a couple of hours. 

Our boarding dogs sleep in their own beds (provided by the owner) or on one of our clean beds, or on our leather suite – also with their legs in the air!  They sleep in our kitchen and have full run of the downstairs of the house with our three dogs when we’re around. We go for at least two walks during the day in our secure 3 acre field.  There is lots of play, and lots of rest and they get treats, and they’re happy – all day!  There’s a radio on most of the time, it’s warm, they get to snuggle up and watch TV with us in the evening! 

Boarding dogs – along with out own dogs, can look out of the window and bark at the pigeons if they want to!  Our garden is totally secure so they can play out.  there’s plenty of room!  We have treats and bones (for those habituated to raw bone) and we have conversation – all the time!  And there is no rationing of cuddles and fun!

How can that compare or compete with a kennels?

By the same token, I’m not at all criticising or judging anyone who uses kennels.  Similarly, I’m not criticising anyone who offers a kennels service.  Some kennels will operate in the way I have described, some may be different.  Of course, as stated, this was our experience, and one that has been described to me by others.  Then again, there may be kennels which operate a far more intimate ‘personal’ service.

I think it’s simply a personal choice – and I know what I choose for my dogs!


  1. Jennifer

    I would jus like to say that i personally agree with everything i have just read here. I left my beloved boxer dog with Lynn recently while my husband and i were away on business at the same time and i simply cannot describe how amazing the home boarding service is! I couldnt bear the thought of leaving my little man in kennels and Lynn’s service seemed like a god send when i discovered it but i was even more overwhelmed by the all the love, care and attention my dog was given during his stay! He really was part of the family and was cared for in exactly the same manner and environment he is used to at home. I didnt feel guilty for leaving him as knew he was having a great time due to the great number of text and email updates Lynn sent me, including photographs! I never worried about his welfare and was able on concentrate on my work fully as i was so confident my dog was in great hands. When i collected my dog he was still his mad bouncy self, full of beans and love and completely happy and secure. After this experience i feel even more strongly that i would never leave my dog in Kennels, a stay with Lynn and her family would be my first choice everytime, the price is nothing in comparison to the service Lynn offers, she really does devote her entire days and attention to our pets and i really dont hink you can put a price on that.

    Jennifer Smith
    Micklefield, Leeds

  2. Jacqui

    I also agree with all of the above!
    Our dog ‘Dexter’ is friends with Maggie & Henry, he loves playing with them and they all get on very well. When we have been on holiday we have left him with my husbands mum as she has a very big enclosed garden and fields around her house for him to play, I would never trust anyone else to have him, if she wasn’t here, it would possibly be the end of holidays abroad! – This was what we said before Lynn started her fantastic business..Dexter stayed just for a day & night recently and had a great time, on the sofa, getting tummy rubbed, treats, sharing a bed with Henry, someone to cuddle!! He really was very well looked after and had some great walks…was worried he wouldn’t want to come home! … Thank you so much Lynn, when we are not taking Dex with us on holidays in this Country, you will definitely be getting a lodger again! x

  3. Jackie (Harry's Mum!!)

    Well – what can we say??? Harry is nearly 11 months and has just spent a week with The Booker’s and right from the start I knew he would be made welcome and make himself at home he certainly did!! He was able to go round first of all to meet them all and loved every minute of the made half hour! Harry was loved and treated as one of the family and it was great to receive daily updates from Lynn with the photos – my girls LOVED just seeing what he’d been up to during the day! I spend a lot of time away during the summer with my girls so it was important for us to find somewhere where he would be home from home and this is just perfect! Once you’ve looked at how your dog will be cared for whilst you’re away – you’ll never want to use another Kennel again!!!!

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