Don’t Wait Till the Last Minute
As soon as you find out that you have a service commitment that will take you away from the local area, list your pet on Paws Abroad. The more time you have to contact boarders, the more interviews you will be able to conduct, which increases the chance of finding the perfect boarder and allow time for you and your pet to develop a relationship with them before you leave. Waiting till the last minute can be hazardous to you and your pet. It takes time to find the perfect boarder, and the more time you have, the better.
Contacting PA Boarders
Contacting and interviewing potential boarders will be the most time consuming part of preparing your pet for your time away. Do not settle when it comes to who is going to care for your pet. Contact as many boarders that fit your boarding criteria. In your initial email, introduce yourself and your pet. Tell them about your anticipated boarding dates. The more information you provide them upfront, the less questions they’ll need to ask in response.
What to Ask
You will be leaving your pet in the care of someone else; it is important to know the family who will be watching your family. Consider asking the following:
- Who lives in the household?
- Are there other pets? How are those pets with new animals?
- How do they discipline their pets? How will they discipline your pet?
- How many hours a day will your pet be left alone?
- Where will your pet be during the day? Alone? At night?
- Are they planning any long trips during the boarding dates? Where will your pet go if they go out of town?
- And anything that you feel is necessary to make you comfortable leaving your pet with them.
Meet and Greets
Once you’ve talked with a potential boarder over the phone or email and believe they might be a good fit for your pet, schedule your first meet and greet. Do this in a non-threatening environment; a place where your pet will not feel territorial or uncomfortable. Good places are local parks and walking trails. Let the boarder observe your pet. Don’t feel obligated to force your pet to meet the boarder. Perhaps bring some treats for them to give your pet. Allow the pet to come to the boarder, not the other way around. If your boarder has other animals, this would be a good time to meet to check for compatibility.
Next, invite your boarder to your home. Make sure your animal is accepting them into their territory. If your animal is defensive, they might not be comfortable with the boarder and may need more time and meetings. On another date, meet the boarder at their house. This is a great time to allow your animal to explore their new home. If the boarder has other pets, it might be best to keep them in a separate room to avoid territorial problems. Let them get comfortable.
Schedule a weekend for the boarder to watch your pet as a “trial run”. You want to make sure your pet is completely comfortable with this family (and you too). Let them watch your pet for 1-2 nights, this way they can talk to you about any problems they might have encountered. The point of this is to one, get the pet comfortable, but also highlight any problems the boarder might have with your pet. This can also help decrease the chance that the boarder might become overwhelmed with your pet’s behavior AFTER you’re gone, and be stuck with a pet they can’t handle. This is the boarder’s chance to determine if your pet is a good fit in their house.
Screening their Background
At some point, consider asking for the boarder for references. If they have pets, ask for a veterinarian/boarding/groomer reference. If they’re a renter, ask for their landlord’s contact information and check to make sure that having an additional pet at their property will not be a problem. At your discretion, you might even want to ask for a background check.
PA Boarding Contract
Before you leave, ensure you have gone over a Boarding Contract with the boarder, and each of you retains a signed copy. Download a sample Boarding Contract here.
Another consideration might be getting a Power of Attorney for your pet in your absence. This can usually be done for free at the Legal office on base.