How Can I Convince My Mother to Leave Her Pets at Home and Travel?

Woman and suitcase

Q. My mother is very attached to her pets and doesn’t want to leave home for even an overnight stay because she is worried about having someone else take care of them. Is there anything I can tell her to make her feel better?

A. I love traveling, and I’m lucky I do because I am always on the road for conferences and media appearances. Many times my wife, Teresa, is with me, and that means our animals need to be taken care of by people other than ourselves. Fortunately, we have people who are like family to us and who consider our dogs, cats and horses as family, too. If we had to worry about our animals when we traveled, it would be very hard for us to leave.

Boarding vs. Pet-Sitting

Knowing your pets are in good hands is the most important part of being able to leave them behind. Start by figuring out whether your mother's pets would be better off cared for in her home or would enjoy being boarded. In general, cats are better off being cared for in the home while you’re away. Healthy young dogs who like other dogs and new people may be happy in a boarding situation, while shy, elderly and chronically ill dogs are less likely to want to leave home.

In my family, our small dogs, Quixote and Quora, are boarded, while our large dogs, Gracie and Shakira, are cared for at our Almost Heaven Ranch, along with the cats and the horses. Probably all four of our healthy, well-socialized dogs would be happy either being boarded or having a pet sitter, but this is just the way we’ve worked it out. And since it works so well, we haven’t changed it.

A Luxury Vacation for Your Pet

Both boarding and pet-sitting offer a range of options that were unimaginable a few years ago. Boarding now includes deluxe accommodations such as suites with real furniture, a choice of music or TV and even swimming pools. I visited one day care/boarding facility in Southern California that allowed you to pay for your dog to sleep on a person’s bed at night — talk about all the comforts of home!


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