Vacations: where do i leave my Pets?

I have just arrived from vacations with my 4 pets and these were the best holidays ever.
I have 3 dogs (2 of them elderly) and 1 turtle and each year it is the same old thing: where to leave them this vacation? It is always uncomfortable to leave them and while on vacations we always think on them a lot.

I have been in several Countries and there was never a Pet Hotel good enough for them: the installations wouldn’t t be the best, they would not have as much attention as we would like them to, walks would be too short or almost null, staff would not be enough, they would tell us they aren't eating and so on.

While in Portugal we left them in several places but none that I would special recommend. In the Netherlands it was a nightmare because most kennels place the dogs on a dark box and leave them for the vacations period. They feed them but don t walk them or sometimes just let them go to the front patio, they say that at least they are safe. After a long search I found The Ark, the only place I would recommend. They have some youth who works there on summer who do long walks in group with the dogs and play with them.

Last year I moved to England and I promised myself I would only leave them in the best place of the UK no matter what. So I started searching and found this Luxury Pet Hotel in London which accordingly to them was one of the most prestigious pet hotels in the UK. The description of the services and guest suites was amazing and we were impressed with the website. We visited their installations and immediately noticed their lack of staff for those many dogs, the installations were very good but the dogs looked like they were “behind bars” for a long time. They were worried about cleaning a lot but not paying much attention to the dogs which were on their kennels and one left in the patio by himself. For the time we were there no one left with them for a walk or came to pick them up. The attendance wasn't one of a luxury hotel either. A few women gathered at the reception talking but no work, staring at us when we arrived and while we were leaving, had no manners. I was reluctant but we had already put a lot of effort on it and we have asked for the online pet watch service so we were very positive it was going to be ok. We were wrong. 

When we left our dogs we left specific notes about each one of them regarding their characteristics, medication, diet and special cares. They weren’t happy with that and as we were leaving they placed our dogs in a patio right in front of our car where they could hear us leave and they were barking. It broke our hearts. Then they placed them inside and for 3 hours we watched our pets looking outside willing to go for a walk just for them to finally sat down and look sad. We were travelling and we got quite upset, we called the hotel and they went to walk them. Then as we were watching a woman giving them a treat, one of our dogs didn’t trust her at all and didn’t t accept it, she just made a face to our dog and threw it to the floor with our dog going back quite scared. The site said they would walk them for 20 minutes four times a day and they were walking them for 10 minutes. We had to phone them again regarding that issue. Then, one of our dogs disappeared from our sight in the camera, he wasn’t in the kennel. We sent them an email asking what was happening as we specifically told them not to separate them at any time. They said they placed him aside so he could eat, we replied we did t want to and they were very rude and ask us what we wanted them to do with several exclamation points. All this time we were at the restaurant, at the beach, in the shower, it just didn’t t stop. 

The next day regardless our will they did that again and placed another of our dogs even more time aside. We could see through the webcam two of our dogs scratching the gate as the other one remained outside from it. We didn’t communicate more with them as they weren’t replying to our questions, just saying “don’t worry, we’re giving a lot of attention to your pets”. I can only imagine how the other dogs were with that little attention focused all on our dogs, the ones with the camera. They ruined our vacations. Two of our dogs have a special diet, they can’t put weight and they arrived fat. They did all we asked them not to.
This was the service in the most prestigious pet hotel in the UK so I can only imagine how it is on others.

That is why we decided to go on vacations all together as a family. We rented a cottage near the beach, we walked them as usual and sometimes on the beach by the end of the day. We would come at lunch time to feed them and our vacations were absolutely amazing. We all loved them and had lots of fun. For the first time in many years we weren’t worried at all because they were with us. I saw them running through fields, chasing the waves, playing in the sand, it was absolutely magic.

In fact I am planning to do all my vacations with my pets by car throughout Europe. I wouldn’t place them in a plane unless extremely necessary and only through two companies: KLM and Iberia.

I don’t put aside the idea of once in a while leaving them on a Pet hotel but not in the UK. And I have to know the people, know they are committed with caring for them and especially I have to know and watch them having a hell of a time!

Hope you all had great vacations!
Have a fun, cruelty-free life!