Pet mom travels with guilt when leaving pet behind


Pet mom travels with guilt when leaving pet behind

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Teddy (left) and his happy host, Sully. AILEEN GRECH/CONTRIBUTED

Our nephew was getting married, and my husband Ed’s parents were celebrating 70 years of marriage. Both festivities were taking place in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Dampening the family feelings about these happy events was the guilt we felt about leaving Teddy, our lab, and Abby, our cat, behind.

Someone comes to our home every day and tends to Abby’s needs when we go away, but we knew from experience we would hear about it when we returned.

Sure enough, the sassy cat squawked at us on our arrival home. If Abby were human, we’d be washing her mouth out with soap.

But soon all was forgiven as Abby started rubbing and nudging up against us and gobbling up the “we’re feeling guilty for leaving you” treats.

Teddy, the wonder pooch? That was a different matter.

We had only left him once before for a short business trip to Chicago. He stayed at the kennel where he attends a playgroup.

Teddy did fine, but we haven’t left him since. The pooch goes with us on vacations and family visits.

But we couldn’t take the pooch to Cooperstown. Ed, checked with the hotel. It has a no-pet policy.

So what were we to do?

Area trainer Brittany Jones has several suggestions for easing pet parents’ minds when leaving fur babies behind.

Brittany first suggests enlisting a family member or good friend to stay in your home. A pet’s daily routine isn’t disrupted, and the surroundings are familiar.

We didn’t have someone who could stay with Teddy, so we went with Brittany’s second suggestion: Leave your pet with a trusted family member or friend.

Teddy would stay with our friend, Melissa, and her two dogs. We knew our pooch would be in good hands and paws.

We also followed Brittany’s last bit of advice. Keep your pet’s schedule the same as home.

I typed a detailed report of “all things Teddy.” His schedule, vet numbers, medicine instructions and tag numbers. I didn’t write this detailed of a report when our daughter, Jordan, started kindergarten.

In Teddy’s bag, I packed his food and water bowls, food, treats, medicine and his two favorite toys.

I added extra poop bags for walks. I wanted Teddy ready for all situations.

I also tucked in the blanket that he sleeps on.

And while we were gone, Teddy would play at his playgroup. What could be a better setup?

So why were we still concerned about Teddy?

I kept saying to myself, “He’s a dog. He’s just a dog.”

Teddy had better accommodations then we had at the hotel, and he didn’t have to get dressed up, either.

The trip to Cooperstown, depending on the weather, traffic and construction takes about 10 hours from Bellbrook.

On the way, we stopped in Akron and stayed with my mom. It was a nice break and made the trip easier.

During our travels, Melissa sent us photos of Teddy playing with his lab pals, Hank and Sully. And still more photos of him sleeping on her sofa and taking daily walks.

On the way back, we drove straight home.

Why? Even though Teddy loves Melissa and the feeling is mutual, we didn’t want him to have to spend another night away from home.

I know. I know. He’s a dog. He’s just a dog.

Karin Spicer, a magazine writer, has been entertaining families for more than 20 years. She lives in Bellbrook with her family and two furry animals all who provide inspiration for her work. She can be reached at

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