Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Doggy Day Care



On Fridays, Mila Grey goes to a place called Club Fido in Porirua - a Doggy Day Care where dogs of all different shapes and sizes go to socialise, exercise and have a great time. In my mind, it is a place straight out of the Hairy Maclary books, except with fences and human supervision.

Bitzer Maloney, all skinny and boney - from Lynley Dodd's Hairy Maclary
I have to admit that I initially really struggled with the idea of being the sort of owner that sends her dog to Day Care. I already have a reputation amongst my family and friends as a Crazy Greyhound lady and, rightly or wrongly, this seemed like a bit of a tipping point to me. I resisted for a while, citing monetary and time constraints as reasons not to go down that path, when really I just didn’t want to do it. You see, MY dog is just FINE at home without that sort of thing - thank you very much! She would go along to something like that just to curl up in the corner and sleep all day – right?!?!

But then a friend of mine told me about how Club Fido had done wonders for her dog’s social issues and had made interactions with other dogs at the park enjoyable, rather than stressful. Her dog had been a few times and would recognise the man who came to get her every week – wagging her tail enthusiastically and leaving without so much as a goodbye – to return that evening completely shattered and totally relaxed. ‘Well worth the money!’ she told me ‘You’d be mad not to’. Mila wasn’t getting a lot of exposure to other breeds (mostly due to the severe shortage of fenced dog parks in our area) – and even though she is a Greyhound, I always felt a little bad about leaving her by herself 5 days a week without more to do, so I decided to take the plunge.

I emailed the owner, Paul, and discovered that he was a Greyhound person too – owning a few himself and knowing all about their mannerisms and tendencies. He confirmed that they had an opening the following Friday and we were all booked in.

Friday morning rolled around, and the van arrived to pick Mila up and take her off on her new adventure. The van itself was a sight to behold. I don’t know what I was expecting but it was like a school bus for dogs…little caged compartments to different sizes so that the dogs could all enjoy the ride out to Porirua. Mila was bundled into the Greyhound-sized compartment at the back and off they went.

Upside down on the couch after our first visit to Club Fido - a sign of true relaxation!

When I got home after work, Mila had been dropped off and was sound asleep on the couch. I could see remnants of sand and dirt in her coat and on her paws which told me that she had at least been busy exploring. A report from Club Fido confirmed that she had taken to the new environment like a duck to water, played nicely and was particularly interested in her new Greyhound mates – just the kind of thing you want to hear when your child dog goes somewhere new without you.

The true test came the following Friday when the van arrived again. Mila was UP, helicopter tail going full force, doing a little dance around the room. When she saw the man at the door, she was ready to go, without even a look back to see if I was okay. We were on a winner, alright.
So, my dog probably IS fine at home without that sort of thing (thank you very much) but it is SO much more fun that what she would otherwise be doing on a Friday. And if that makes me a Crazy Greyhound lady, so be it.

11 comments:

  1. wow Rachel this is SO wonderful to read! And you are SO right -althought greyhounds are perfectly fine lazing the days away at home, they do enjoy an outing sometimes, a change, a social day.
    We know Paul Hendrikse very well -he owns a few GAP greyhounds himself. :) He is a great greyhound (and dog) lover and an awesome trainer. I am sure Mila will have many more fun Fridays at Club Fido! :)

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  2. Also -i dont think you are a 'crazy greyhound lady ' at all :)Doggie daycare is very popular overseas and is FINALLY becoming popular in NZ too. Dogs are social creatures and enjoy mixing with their own kind :)
    Overseas, people who work full time and like to own dogs from high-exercise breeds like Waimaranas, Viszlas, foxies, JRs , huskies etc use day care EVERY day when they are at work. It is only fair to dogs of those breeds - a young Waimarana for example needs to GO all day long in order to be content at night. Sadly, in NZ , this concept is still a bit new :( but slowly, I think we are getting there :)
    OH and for a greyhound of ANY age, one day a week daycare is PLENTY! :)

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    1. Thanks Fatima! Definitely glad we did it and I'm glad she is in good hands with Paul :) - I can see why it is a MUST for high-exercise breeds!

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  3. Glad to read that Mila is enjoying her day care experience and that it's a success:) If the kids are happy then we're happy, right;) And if they're tired as well that's a bonus! Seeing as Frankie isn't a Greyhound I'm just a crazy dog lady.

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    1. Haha - having a tired dog definitely gives me an excuse to be lazy for a little bit longer!! I was a Crazy Greyhound Lady before we even got Mila...just ask my husband - it took me at least a year of pleading before I was finally allowed to get one!

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  4. Hi Rachel
    This was so interesting to read; definitely something I'll consider for George and Mynx, though maybe once the kids (18 and 21) leave home, as they create outings and company most days. Would you mind if I mentioned this posting in my next Wellington GAP email? I am sure other owners would be interested to read it too. kind regards
    Sally

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    1. Hi Sally - you're more than welcome to give it a mention in your email!! It really is a great option for full-time workers who can't have someone to pop-in during the day - and as Fatima says, once a week seems to be plenty for a greyhound.

      We have been meaning to make it out to the GAP runs at Mana to meet some of the other hounds in the area - but every time they come around we seem to have a conflict!! From the FB photos, it looks like good fun though - we can't make the March one but will definitely try to make it to the next couple.

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  5. Hi Rachel,

    Love the blog! i'm interested in finding out about this a bit more myself - do you have contact details for Club Fido? I just did a google search, but can't seem to find anything that includes a phone number and/or website.

    We had our first greyhound for about six months before we got a second for company during the day. But even though they've got that company now, it would also be great for them to work on their social skills with other breeds.

    I've looked into daycare before, but I often prefer to go on referrals, especially when other greys have used the service with success!

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    1. Hey Falyn - thanks for your message! I contacted Club Fido by email: Paul@clubfido.co.nz. I don't think they have a website at the moment but Paul sent me through some information and a contact form to fill out before Mila was booked in. The cost is $35 per day - which includes pick up and drop off - and the info says that they collect from all round the Wellington region (so hopefully that includes out where you guys are).

      We are thinking about a second greyhound at the moment - or maybe signing up to do some fostering (which I can see is just going to end up with us keeping one anyway). We need a bigger car!!

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    2. Don't be suprised at the small space two hounds can fit into - we only have a sedan and can fit both boys on the back seat (with loads of blankets etc plugging up the foot wells)! It was a temporary solution to the two-hound problem while we were fostering, but has now become permanent since it works so well - and of course means we don't need a bigger car (yet)! Thanks for the contact info for club fido - I'll get in touch with Paul and find out more.

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  6. Hi, great post. I'm thinking of enrolling Olive in doggie day care once a week. We have looked at one place and didn't think it would suit a greyhound -- no soft places to sleep! I will get in touch with Club Fido too :-)

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