My mom has always owned cats: first, Aspasia; now, Patema. She loves her cats. She might like me more if I were a cat (I kid).
The thing about cats and all pets, really, is that someone has to take care of them. There's not much to it—a little food, a little water, a little love. But the fact remains, somebody has got to do it every single day.
So, what happens when you have to leave town? The answer for my mom and me is a pet sitter. They're (usually) inexpensive. The cat is always there when we return. All is good, great, and grand.
My neighbors, on the other hand, often choose to board their beloved pets, sometimes paying upwards of $50 a night for "resort" boarding. Why would they do that, I wonder, when I'm right here, ready to help (and also to make a quick buck).
I decided to investivate, eager to uncover the true reason my neighbors refuse to pay me for my expert petsitting services. Instead of just one, I found five reasons at the upscale Rover Oaks Pet Resort, which is south of 610, just a few blocks from Reliant Stadium, where prices for lodging start at $30.95 for dogs and $18 for cats but can go way up for VIP packages.
1. Resorts are reliable. A couple of years ago, my mom nearly refused to go to Italy when a pet sitter backed out at the last minute. That will never happen at a pet resort. No one will call in sick, and if they do, Rover Oaks employs an army of staff members, each as eager and able as the next to care for your pet.
2. Resorts are safe. Pets are protected from every threat imaginable, starting with themselves. Dogs are separated by size, and cats only interact if their owners allow them to. Pets are also taught to tone down their aggressive nature with the encouragement of a variety of treats.
3. Your pet won't pick up bad habits. After one trip, and probably an overly involved sitter, we returned to a cat who refused (and still refuses) to use the litter without someone forcing her to at 7 p.m. sharp every night. Sigh. At Rover Oaks, I got the feeling that although pets are coddled, they are never spoiled. I bounded toward a huge, hairy beast (under the hair I found a dog) only to be warded off by its caretaker’s hand. I hung around until the dog finally sat down, and we were both rewarded—he with a treat; I with the pleasure of petting him.
4. Your pet will come back exhausted (the good I-just-got-back-from-summer-camp exhausted, not the bad I-didn't-get-a-wink-of-sleep-all-week exhausted). Every time I go on vacation, I come back expecting my cat to greet me warmly, which she does. And then she starts wanting to be fed, scratched, let outside, played with, etc. And I do it because I love her. But after a long airplane trip, I'd much rather fall into bed than play with a pushy cat. Leaving Patema at a pet resort seems like a good way of circumventing the problem. Not all resorts will offer the opportunity to spend vast amounts of time outside, but it does seem like a worthwhile cost.
5. Your pet will probably have a nicer room than you. Rover Oaks has two forms of accommodations: the Bunkhouse Suites, which are most like a kennel but still spacious and air conditioned (not always standard abroad), and the Luxury Suites, which are state-of-the-art lodgings, a.k.a. fancy! Each one is equipped with a sliding plastic door, sofas, rugs, and yes, a TV. So while you may have missed the last episode of House, your dog did not.
The bottom line is, Rover Oaks, and many other pet resorts, is run by people who went to school to study animals—everything about them, both emotionally and physically. They are great caregivers, and just really love animals. Leaving your pet with a pet sitter may be the most convenient and cheapest option for you, but if you really want to pamper your pet, a resort is the way to go.
Oh, and at Rover Oaks, you'll get a pet report card detailing how your pet ate, rested, interacted, etc. after his/her stay. Wait—that's six reasons!