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Latest health and behavior news and advice from the veterinarians at Tufts University.

News & Views November 2015 Issue

Leaving the Dog When Leaving Town

Less guilt-inducing solutions are a click away.

Carla Barlow and Rosie. Enough said.

I’m quite sure Rosie would throw us over for Carla Barlow in a heartbeat. Rosie loves us, no doubt. But on some level, Carla is her true love. She starts doing her weird, longing bark that sounds like a bumble bee buzzing whenever she sees Carla coming — or sees Carla’s Weimaraner Willow, which means Carla can’t be far behind. She jumps all over Carla and licks her face when Carla bends down to her. I can even drop the leash and let Rosie sprint to Carla from a distance, knowing that she won’t do her usual thing and just run off, leaving me in a panic.

I don’t know what it is about Carla, but I have often thought how great it would be if she and I could drop our dogs off at each other’s house when going out of town. I just know that Rosie would be in good hands at Carla’s place, which isn’t even a half mile up the road from ours. And she would be walked in all the same parks, by all the same familiar trees, that I take her to, making her feel more comfortable still about being left. Willow, for her part, while kind of aloof, is certainly friendly enough and doesn’t cause a drop of trouble. Franklin, our bigger dog, likes her, too.

Therein lies the rub. Franklin is too much of a handful for most people. Lovable, sweet, irascible, incorrigible….those are the terms that describe him — and make him easy to love and hard to dog sit for. Even now, while I write this, he is downstairs, filthy, having just run through some marsh cavorting joyously with another dog that he met while we were out walking. And that doesn’t even begin to get at his penchant for running after joggers, chasing bicycles, begging for treats from strangers….

What he needs while we’re away is a wide open space to run off his considerable energy safely, and neither Carla’s yard, nor that of the dog sitter where I usually leave him and Rosie when we travel, offers that feature. But it turns out there are a number of organizations that facilitate dog swaps for vacationers and business travelers, not just within the same area but even from city to city — and country to country. I bet with a little homework I can find Franklin and Rosie a warmer, more accommodating set-up than the one I’ve been taking them to when we have to leave them — someone’s home, perhaps with a large fenced-in yard and lots of love and special attention just waiting for them.

You can, too. Check out the possibilities in the story that starts on page 4.

Happy tails to you,

Lawrence Lindner
Executive Editor

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