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Published: Monday, 5/15/2006

Pets: Range of pet-care facilities accommodates vacationers

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Sheri Plocek of Rover Come Over Doggy Daycare gets up close and personal with one of the affectionate, four-legged customers at her Monclova Township day-care and boarding facility.

Sheri Plocek of Rover Come Over Doggy Daycare gets up close and personal with one of the affectionate, four-legged customers at her Monclova Township day-care and boarding facility.
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Sheri Plocek knows that pets aren t always welcome on family vacations so she created a camp just for dogs.

There is a side for the big dogs to romp around and another for the more petite breeds. There are indoor play areas and outdoor yards.

And for those owners who can t seem to let go of the leash, there are multiple Web cams set up throughout the facility that can be viewed from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.

The cameras won t change life for the dog, but it sure does make a difference to the owner, Ms. Plocek said.

Rover Come Over Doggy Daycare is just one area facility that caters to four-legged clientele. Pet owners forced to leave Fluffy or Fido for the weekend or longer can choose from cage-free boarding facilities or kennels on a veterinarian s premises, or they simply can leave the pet home where a hired sitter will check on it.

There are so many options and so many opinions on what s best for the animal. Some animal lovers say leaving a pet at home and hiring someone to come by is ideal, while others believe that boarding the pet where it can interact with others is best.

Animal experts do agree that the best way to find temporary care for your furry family member is to gather recommendations from those you trust and to ask a lot of questions.

Here, it s like going to a fun camp, Ms. Plocek said of her Monclova Township day-care and boarding facility. We play all day long, or they get to lounge around in the sun.

Rover Come Over (www.rovercomeoverdoggydaycare.com or 419-861-9100) charges $30 a night for boarding.

In the local phone book, pet boarding facilities can be found under kennels, pet boarding, and pet sitting services.

As more and more people treat their pets as members of the family, more facilities have opened for business far too many to highlight in a single article. They vary by price and services offered. Many accept cats or are feline only boarding facilities.

Richard Eppstein, president of the local Better Business Bureau, said most complaints about pet-boarding facilities deal with cleanliness. He suggested pet owners ask for a tour of the facility before leaving their animal.

And to help ease a nervous pet into the idea of a few days away from home, pet experts suggest conditioning the animal by bringing it to the facility for only a few hours the first time.

Other suggestions for those planning to leave a pet include asking what veterinarian is associated with the facility, leaving both local and vacation numbers in case of an emergency, and learning the hours of operation.

People are spending far, far more on our pets than would have been imagined years ago, Mr. Eppstein said. The place to drop off a pet is far more important than it used to be. If people have the money to spend on their pets, they expect to get good service.

While Rover Come Over is one example of cage-free boarding, Karnik Pet Lodges is an example of facilities that keep dogs separated in their own areas.

With locations in West Toledo and near Maumee, Karnik has been a doggy hotel for the past 34 years and offers boarding, bathing, and day care for dogs.

While there, dogs can see each other but cannot interact, a precaution against aggressive animals. With both an indoor area to the kennel runs as well as an outdoor atrium-like setting, dogs are able to enjoy life on their own terms.

Office manager Pam Bauman said each guest is given individual play time with staff each day. But it is the dog bath, an extra if owners choose to spend more than the $20 to $22 boarding fee per night, that really makes the stay special, she said.

We re a spa for dogs, Ms. Bauman said. Any dog that comes in here to get a bath, they love it.

For more information on Karnik Pet Lodges, go online at www.karnikpetlodges.com or call 419-841-6621 (West Toledo) or 419-878-9796 (near Maumee).

Several area veterinarians also offer boarding facilities, including the Sylvania Veterinary Hospital on Holland-Sylvania Road. The hospital was designed with a boarding facility that caters to the animals needs and not with all the flash that plays to the emotions of pet owners, said Bob Esplin, chief veterinarian.

The facility was designed with a ventilation system that changes air every five minutes. The floors in each of the dog runs are partially heated. And a staff member is on hand 24 hours a day.

In a separate part of the building, cats are housed in the hospital s cataminiums. The multi-level cages have windows that overlook a bird garden, and cats are brought into a secured area where they receive attention from a staff member once a day.

Each pet is also given a free physical during his or her visit, Dr. Esplin said.

What we think we ve done is created an environment that is very animal friendly, that s good for the animal, he said. It may not have a lot of flash and dash for the client, but what s most important is that the animal is getting plenty of attention.

A night s stay at the Sylvania Veterinary Hospital, www.sylvaniavet.com or 419-885-4421, is $26. There are additional charges for bathing and day-care services.

The at-home services of Pampered Paws Professional Pet Sitting of Toledo began when a nursing agency for the elderly saw a need for pet visits as well. The result was a daily visit from trained staff to give pets some human companionship while their owners are gone. In addition to offering outside time, play time, and even cuddle time with an animal as long as the animal has a good temperament the visiting pet sitter will leave detailed notes for every day the pet owner is gone. The service price starts at $17 for a once daily visit and goes up.

It gives people a peace of mind, said service coordinator Angela Burke. For more information, contact the pet sitting agency at pawspampered1@aol.com or call 419-578-5832.

Of course, most pet owners would love to bring their whole family while vacationing. That s the thought process behind Pet Chek at Cedar Point. For $15 per day, amusement park visitors can leave their pet in the caged pet check area for the day where they will be fed and watered but where they will not receive any special attention or care.

All breeds are accepted at Pet Chek if they are under control, and shot records are not required.

That s not the case for most boarding facilities, which require vaccination records that show that the animal has updated rabies shots and, for dogs, the Bordatella, or kennel cough, vaccination.

Of course, the best vacation that your pawed companion could ask for is one to the Ohio state parks where pets are welcomed as long as they are on a leash.

For more information about kenneling or for suggestions, contact your local veterinarian.

Contact Erica Blake at: eblake@theblade.com or 419-724-6076.



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