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Our First Boarding Experience

The boyfriend and I are going on a mini-vacation to San Francisco, which means we have to board the dogs. This is the first time we've ever had to do that. I'm already anxious as it is, but leaving my dogs behind for three days to be locked in a cage while I galavant in California drives my nervousness up to neurotic levels. I wanted to find a place that would actually be fun for them and not stressful, so I lucked into finding Almost Home Pet Farm by doing a simple Google search. I read about their facility--no kennels, mountainside to roam, sleep where ever they want, romp with 15 or more dogs--it all sounded like a dream doggie vacation.

I called Friday night to schedule our audition for the mutts. You have to drive down with your pets for an initial visit to see if they will get along with the rest of the pups, and to make sure they are not manic or aggressive or otherwise risky to take on. There are no kennels or runs at Almost Home Pet Farm, so they have to make sure your dog is well socialized and adjusted. Tootie took a large dump in the driveway and Cooper drooled everywhere, so obviously they passed with flying colors. The place is great--really remote (an hour drive away in Carthage!) with tons of room for them to run and jump and hump and play. There are large leather couches and big comfy beds for sleeping. They also get homemade organic treats.

Oh, and that's another thing. The Almost Home Pet Farm is a hippy sort of place that requires, unless under special circumstances, that your pets be fed holistic foods. Holistic meaning all natural, no fillers like corn or other empty carbs, with most of the product being animal protein. The owner of the Pet Farm likens it to not allowing the children in her day care to gorge on candy all day. Once she requested that all dogs switch to the higher protein foods she saw behavioral changes in the animals that convinced her never to go back to Pedigree or even the "premium" brands like Eukeneuba. Tootie and Cooper are both overweight, with the blonde one being heavy enough for the vet to call her a 7 on a scale of 1-10 fatness. So, we decided to give the holistic food a shot. It's a little more than twice as expensive, but they don't need to eat as much, since they feel satiated longer due to the high protein content. It supposedly reduces shedding and barking and overexcitability, so I was willing to try it out. And besides, the owner of the Pet Farm wasn't selling these products, I had to go make a special trip out to Berry Hill to get the stuff. No commission at stake in this case.

The dogs seem to love it. I chose the Azmira brand, Classic Formula, because it has 8% fat whereas other brands had 11% or more. They don't usually get excited by dry food, but this stuff they gobble right up. And if the benefits are a less barky dog who doesn't shed like it's going out of style, I'm all for it.

We'll be gone for just three days. The dogs will be blissed out at The Farm. I doubt they'll miss us a bit.

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Not this week.

We went that route for awhile on the advice of a dog trainer but against the advice of our vet. He said that more than half of the stomach and intestinal disorders he treats are from the organic foods.

Nellie never had serious problems with it, but prepare for the possibility of the worst dog farts you can ever imagine. I'm talking mustard gas. We had to finally give in and switch back to Iams after a month-long case of the runs. I hope you all have better luck.

I got to go out with the owners of the establishment you are writing about one night a few months ago (friends of neighbors). They are quite passionate about their work and about 'their' pets (are they 'in loco petintis'?).

I'm glad you found em'. You dogs will be in more than good hands.

Like there aren't more great restaurants than you could visit in a lifetime, from my recent SF trip, I highly recommend these.

http://www.two-sf.com/home.html
http://www.trattoriacontadina.com/

They ain't exactly vegan, but damn they were good!

Oh, by the way... hope everything goes well for you out there. (wink wink)

I hope you bought some carbon offsets as well to compensate Mother Earth for all that driving of your Hitler-mobile.

I always wanted to board the kids there, but they insist that all males be neutered. Casey isn't neutered because several studies show that neutering increases the risk of cancer in his breed.

So we've resorted to keeping the kiddos at home and having a housesitter come stay with them. That seems to work pretty well, too.

Short of keeping them at home, "Almost Home" is where I would want them to be. I'm sure C&T will have a wonderful time.

I hope you have a wonderful time too.

if you needed an "at home" care sometime i have a good person to recommend. nothing beats good food.

Sounds like the kids are going to have a great experience. I'll have to go check the place out. Keep us posted on how the holistic feeding goes. I just might have to give it a try.

OOH! Almost Home! That lady is a sweetheart and my boss sends her pups there when she's out of town too. They seem to be VERY happy when they return and also, very relaxed since they have all that land to play about on.

Enjoy San Francisco!!!!!

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