We live overseas and brought our 8-year-old rescue dog across from the States with us. She's done really well adjusting to apartment life (with LOTS of walks) and has been going to the same kennel while we're on vacation for the last two years. She is just ok with other dogs, sometimes acts skittish or nervously aggressive but generally is fine. She's a rescue so she's got her issues, but as long as we keep her routine and comfort zone she's fine.
The kennel is run by a nice family, it's on a farm, and they have a ton of other animals around (horses, geese, chickens, alpacas, etc) - some rescues, some 'kenneled' there long and short term. All cared for quite well by my estimation. They have a separate building for dogs with a bunch of nice clean enclosures and a big shared outdoor space. I know that some people bring their dogs just for the day and others for longer holidays. Long story short, we love the place but don't know the owners very well because of the language barrier. I looked long and hard for a kennel and this was the best one I could find by far. It's priced reasonably as well. She comes home from the kennel skinny but even at home she'll only eat when we're here, so it's never really concerned me.
Now I just received an e-mail through a group of expats living in our area that their dog was attacked and KILLED at our kennel. And that the kennel owner just told them that the dog went to sleep and didn't wake up. The dog's owners went to pick up the dog's remains from the kennel and it was obvious that the dog had been attacked. So they took the dog's remains to the vet and he agreed and said that it was fatal injuries that killed the dog. The dog owners went back to the kennel and spoke to the kennel owner, who said he knew nothing about it. Now the dog owners have seen a lawyer and have filed a report with the police - but nothing has come of it.
My question is: What do we do now???
The dog owners seem like reasonable people based on our e-mail conversation, so I do believe their story. On the other hand, I quite like the kennel owner and feel that some of what the dog owners perceived as lies or rudeness (that the just dog went to sleep and didn't wake up, that he didn't know what happened) could be partially language problem. The dog area is at one end of the farm so it's possible that he really didn't see it happen. He could also have been embarrassed and not gone into a long conversation with them - I don't know. It's a small community here, so maybe he knows the owners of the "attacker" very well and didn't want to out them. I have no idea. I just don't see him being negligent because every single time I've met him he's been working hard on the farm with his family.
This is all coming to a head right now because I'm 35 weeks pregnant and we will be staying at the birthing center for five days, so we'll need our dog to go to the kennel sometime in the next six weeks or so. We don't have the friends or family around to look after her while we're gone and it's way too near for her to get used to another kennel.
I've considered going in and talking to the guy, except that it's a working farm, not the kind of place you make an appointment and go in for a chat - there's no office or anything, he's usually in the field when I bring the dog in. It also seems weird to just show up. He speaks some English, so we can probably make the conversation happen but it'll be awkward. I would just like to ask him what happened and make sure that something has been done to prevent it happening again. My fear is that he doesn't know what dog it was who attacked and therefore that dog could still be there when ours goes in. I doubt our dog will get killed at this place, but she's a nervous type and I don't want her to be miserable there. Especially while we're having the baby, I want to have everything in order and not have this kind of stress over my head at the time. I also need to speak to him about DH dropping the dog at a random time of day if need be when I go into labor. But obviously don't want to plan that before deciding whether our dog will be going back there!!!
*I also feel like taking her to another kennel (aren't many/any around that are good) is also a risk, she might do terribly there and you never know if the same thing has happened at some other kennel or worse. It's a big unknown. Having someone come to our place to look after her won't work, she's too unreliable with strangers coming to our house.
Any advice for approaching this man? Talking points? Opinions / Advice please!! Would you run from this place? Give them a chance? Thanks.
Miranda, 27, wife to DH, 38, and brand new mama to DS!
I'm not sure I'd address the incident directly with the owner but I would suggest reviewing the points of care, where the dogs are kept, if they are allowed to roam, and so on.
You could do more research to see if anything else similar has happened. If this has happened before, then I'd probably change my advice.
Who is your vet? Ask him/her if they do boarding. If so, leave your pup with them.
I guess I can understand why you have to be at a birthing center for 5 days (are you anticipating problems?), but your husband doesn't. Plan on leaving the dog with either the vet or this same kennel for just the time of your labor. Your dh can then come get the pup and take it home. Can he bring the dog to the birthing center for his visits to you?
Thank you for the great advice everyone. Grahamsmom, where we live it's normal to stay at the birthing center for up to five days, once the baby's born you move to a 'guest room' and live there for a few days, it's set up like a bed & breakfast and DH will stay there with me. It's a nice perk for us because we don't have friends or family around so it takes a lot of pressure of DH to have meals, medical care, nursing help, and cleaning all taken care of for a few days so that we can just relax and nestle in with our little guy.
It'd be great if we could bring our pooch home but the birthing center is 40 minutes from our apartment and she requires several walks a day to go potty (I'm usually at home). And of course our vet is actually a 'flying vet', she does house calls and doesn't have an office and doesn't do boarding. That would have been perfect otherwise because the dog LOVES her. It just a million small things that make the situation difficult :(
Thanks again for your input, very much appreciated.
Miranda, 27, wife to DH, 38, and brand new mama to DS!
It would be very reasonable for you to speak with the owner well in advance (I know he's busy but if he has time to run a kennel, then he has time to speak with you briefly) and request that your dog be kept away from the other dogs during her stay. This may be more inconvenient for him, he may charge you more, but if your dog is kept way from the others and walked separately then she can not get mauled. The fact that he was not aware that a dog had been mauled to death speaks volumes about how apparently unsupervised the dogs are.
If he can not keep your dog separate from the others (and you need to let him know why you are making this request, that the aggressive dog is unknown and so this puts your dog at risk) then it's time to find another kennel or ask your vet to board. If he still tries to act like the dead dog was not attacked at all then that is a huge red flag.