So now that we’re in prime summer vacation season, I’ll have you know that I’ve been besieged with requests for more pet sitters and boarding kennel references than I possibly know what to do with. I don’t know about your locale, but Miami is a slummy place for kenneling your pet.

The pet sitter turnover here is higher than at your local Starbucks and the kennels in my immediate area are tick-polluted and kennel cough-ridden. I’d rather leave my dogs home alone for four days with the AC full-blast, the back door thrown open, a running hose in the back yard and a huge pile of food on hand than leave them at one of my nearby boarding facilities.

Says a lot, don’t it?

But my clients still beg and plead as if I’m holding out on them. “No, look, really…I just don’t know.” I send them to neighboring counties, Miami Beach, anywhere… Even then, I worry that my recommendation might be grounds for their future dissatisfaction. After all, I’m not in control of these places and, somehow, something always seems to go wrong in my local kennels.

Just how hard is it to run a really good boarding facility? I mean, my clients are willing to pay [very] well for good care. Why is it that my patients invariably come home with the nasties crawling all over them and a honking cough that won’t quit—or worse?

How about modern air handling, kennels that don’t face one another (or communicate) and a decent going-over before and after their stay (to ensure ectoparasites don’t suck them dry)? Screw the bone-shaped pool and the pillowed, televised suites. If they’re coming home sick and infested I could care less whether it’s the W they’re bunking at.

For the record, I advise my clients to find trusted friends and family to care for their pets if they can’t take them with them. I recommend they seek reliable neighbors for “even exchanges” on pet care. Well-referenced sitters would be ideal but why is it that there are so few of the “good ones”?

I’d understand if money were the issue. But some of these people are going to Marbella for two weeks! I’d think they could handle even the loftiest pet sitter or boarding facility’s requirements.

Now I think I know why so many vets are willing to do their own boarding. It’s just too big a stress to have to hand off your patients to a facility capable of undoing all the work you’ve done—with disgusting flourish. In fact, had we more room at our place we might even be persuaded to take on some extra anxiety. Well…maybe not…but God bless those who do and do it well.

At least I have you, my trusted readers, to guide me in your own local solutions to this seemingly universal problem.

Fire away…please…