Reconnecting With Dogs On The Road And At Home

 |  Oct 15th 2010  |   7 Contributions


Although most dog lovers like to go everywhere and do everything with beloved pets (well, almost everywhere, but maybe nothere), it's tough - make that impossible -bringing a four-pack of New York Citydogs on, say,a 10-day business trip to Los Angeles.

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For travel scenarios like this, it helps to have a trusted boarding facility that can accommodate one's K9 family in the comforts-of-home style to which they've become accustomed.

Luckily for me, I found such a facility, but onlyafter years of searching.My dogs' official home-away-from-home isUnleash Brooklyn, one of the country's best boarding facilities. This extraordinary "holistic loft for dogs" is where my dearest dearhearts recentlyhad the pleasure of staying while Itraveled Westwardto do business on theleft coast.

Banish all thoughts of what Unleash's owners shudderingly call "The Kword" (i.e., gasp, kennel). There are no cages anywhere on these premises; check and see for yourself. Dogs enjoy supervised play sessions in spaces designed for maximum K9 comfort, with recycled-rubber floors and other eco-friendly construction materials.

This place is so clean that you'll be struck by how you don't smell anythingwhen you walk through the door. You'll also be impressed by the deluxe decor; I know my dogs are! Guests sleep in suites separated by Dutch doors; the spaces areoutfittedwith designer dog beds,dog paintings, and - no kidding - chandeliers.

OK, so your dogs will barely notice you're gone. But what about the dog person experiencing severe symptoms ofK9 withdrawal? Unleash understands, and will kindly email youcandid shots of your beloved dog enjoying his or her scintillating stay-cation. By the 9th day of my L.A. stay, I started seriously missing my pack. Igot lucky: To get my dailyFido fix, all I had to do was step outside the Hollywood Heightshome where I stayed, and adorable dogsshowed upout of the blue.

Interestingly, they appeared before me in sets of two, as if auditioning forthe Noah's Ark scene in an old-school HollywoodBibleepic. There was the pair of Labs who'd each scored anavocado that had fallen from a nearbytall tree... the adorable Aussie Shepherd duo... the his-and-her set of sweet pit bulls, one bluenosed and one red... thesister act of rescued German Shepherds named Thelma and Louise (we were in Hollywood, after all).

On my last L.A. day, a friendoffered to pick me up andferry me to the airport. En route, she texted me that she was lost. (Actually,her text read that she was "f***ing lost"... ah, driving in Los Angeles.)Just then, apedestrian happened to walk bywith a glamorous Golden Retriever who lookedlike an emissary fromCanine Central Casting.

It's always a good idea to ask the nearest dog personfor directions - even ifs/he doesn't know the way, the dog probably does - so that's exactly whatI did. No sooner did I approach than the Golden, Biscuit by name, flashed me a killer smile.

Biscuit's human is an actor; you may have spotted him in this TV commercial. Immediately after he assured me that the street my friendhad called me fromwasabout aminute away, she appeared withher precious Poodle, Rocky the Rescue. Not surprisingly, Biscuit - like his human - has a handy headshot (see above) to circulate to anyone seeking aHollywood hound.

Meanwhile, back in NYC, I'm pleased to report that, upon collecting my dogs and loading them into my friend's Toyota Scion for the short tripfrom Unleash Brooklynto Manhattan, they expressed the usual joy at seeing me again. But mingled with thatexpected thrillwas somethingperhaps more priceless:A definite sense of "Wish you weren't here!" Were these homesick hounds? Hardly. They were having such a good time, they actually didn't want to leave.

The positive effects ofan Unleash stay are self-evident. As my K9 crewregained their apartment legs and reaccustomed themselves to the home-office routine, ready to resume regular blogging for Dogster, the normally high-energy pit bulls -Lazarusand Cupcake -settled in for a sweet snooze, blissfully baked.

Meanwhile, the usually subdued senior dogs, Tiki and Sheba, have been aerobically romping around the apartment with all the energy and enthusiasm of theirmuch younger days. Sheba, especially, has demonstrated a fetching friskiness I haven't seen in months. Clearly,my dogsbenefited enormously from being... Unleashed.

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