This annual event is held over Memorial Day Weekend, always in Minnesota. People drive or fly in from all over the country. It was canceled last year because of SARS-CoV-2. It wasn’t because the hosts wanted to cancel, but we guests, one by one, found out that the hospitality sector of the economy had been shut down. Even if we could theoretically drive cross-country, there was the risk that some idiot governor would instruct his/her state troopers to blockade the roads into the state, and turn away anyone with out-of-state plates. Flights were being canceled. In our case, I was able to make hotel reservations, but couldn’t find a place to board our dog because of our state restrictions. The restrictions were, um, nucking futs.
But, we’re on again this time around. Our veterinarian has decided that it will no longer board its clients’ pets, but I did get a referral to another chi-chi place a few miles away that will, and is also run by a couple of veterinarians. Holly hell, the prices are absurd, but our dog is probably going to get better accommodations than we’re forking out the bucks for while on the road trip.
The basic fee per day for boarding is almost twice what we were paying, and they keep trying to upsell customers on “activity” and “spa” packages. I declined all but one of them, because our dog is a senior citizen, no longer interested in play time, smoochies, things like bedtime stories, and being tucked into bed. He runs on his stomach. He’s to old, and perhaps a little arthritic, to want to go play with younger dogs. Mostly, he wants food, water, a comfortable place to snooze, and a place to empty his tanks. He’ll get a “suite,” with his own private indoors areas and outdoor dog run.” A 10-15 minute walk per day is included in the basic fee.
Didn’t have to upgrade his amenities, because he’s never had those before, and wouldn’t miss them. Besides, he’s never had separation anxiety when we board him for a few days. The upsell on this place was crazy, though. The one “upgrade” I had to pay another $11 for is the “privilege” of picking him up by 6pm on our day of return, which is ridiculous, because paying another $11 for the exit grooming “bath” was the only way to avoid paying another $45 fee for not picking him up by noon. No fucking way can we get there by noon, with an eight hour drive home from Eastern Ohio, where we typically spend the night on the way back from MN.
That would be per dog, and twice that, if we had to board more than one. I booked hotel rooms in three cities/towns for a total of five nights for two adults over those same five days for roughly the same amount.
I’m not paying the pet spa another $5 to clip our dog’s nails on his way out, along with his bath. Our vet will do it for free when we get him in there for the required kennel cough vax to board him at this “luxury spa,” and get his vax history for rabies and distemper-combo printed out to present when we drop off the guy. We’ll get charged for the kennel cough vax, but not for a nail trimming, and printing out a copy of his vax record.
Can you imagine what it would cost to board three cats there? No fucking way. For five days, they can stay at home with plenty of clean litter boxes, water, and food. Longer than that’s a problem, but five days unattended is fine for vats in perfect health.
I hope to hell my b-i-l and s-i-l still have those quick fill 300 pack of water balloons I sent them for Christmas in 2019. The family reunion that year was the best, with everybody from The Greatest Generation down to Millennials taking aim at targets. At first, the targets were things like bullseyes, big Xes painted on trees, or tin garbage can lids. Nope. It got interesting when we guests volunteered to be the targets. I volunteered. The closest anyone came to me was plopping one down 6″ away from my right foot.
That game better be there again this time. It was the only one that got every generation involved. Sling-shotting small water balloons at family members was the one activity that nobody declined. Alright, if you volunteer to be a target, don’t wear anything that could possibly go transparent when wet. No personal animosity, but it does become a target game for the fun of it. I nailed my b-i-l by dialing it in. No animosity. It was al in good fun, getting sort of doused — if you did