We live just across the courtyard from the kennel. Other than a rare Saturday night dinner out or a run to the dump, there is always someone here. The property is NEVER unattended overnight.
Web Cams? can we watch our dog?
We presently have cameras on the dogs at night so we can always take a peek from our bedroom. We gave the public WebCam question a lot of thought when they first became available. On the one hand we understand how much clients enjoy being able to check in on their dogs at any time and on the other hand we understand how uncomfortable it would be for our staff to worry about a film clip of them scratching their posteriors going viral on Facebook! We also couldn't figure out where we'd put the cameras because the dogs are always moving in and out and from one yard to the other. In the end, we decided that we would provide frequent videos and photos to clients instead. Please ask anytime you'd like a video and call anytime for an update. We are more than happy to keep you as much in the loop as you'd like to be.
Our dog is not neutered/spayed. is that OK?
Yes, we accept intact dogs. Some intact dogs have a different social profile than neutered dogs and we will adjust accordingly. Females in season are welcome to join us for an additional $20 fee per day and will be able to partake in all custom care options as usual, but playmates will be limited to females of appropriate temperament. Some days there may not be the right playmate for her. Having a female in season anywhere near other dogs, while we take every precaution to prevent unwanted matings, does carry a risk. Dogs can be cunning and determined when love is in the air!
What if my dog becomes ill or gets injured?
We hate to think it's possible, but sickness and injury can and do sometimes happen. In that event, we will contact you and your vet’s office to determine if the pet should be seen by them. If your vet’s office is not open we will, depending on your dog's status, take your dog to a veterinary emergency clinic or one of several other local vet offices that we have relationships with. If we are unable to reach you or your emergency contact for directives, we will default to taking your dog to a vet as soon as possible. We will continue to leave you messages, emails and texts to keep you updated.
How can i check in on my dog?
Call or email (best!) anytime and we will get back to you as soon as we can. We love sending photos and videos and know they help reassure you. We are frequently outdoors so there may be some lag time between when you reach out and we get back to you. Rest assured that in the kennel world No News is Good News!
What happens if I have an emergency and am unable to pick up my dog before closing time?
No Worries! If you can't get here by the time we are ready to close for the evening, your dog will be fed a gentle Intestinal Care kibble and made comfortable in a kennel for the evening. Your dog will join the boarders for an evening playtime and pre-bed potty break. Overnight fees will be applied. We will take good care of your dog until you can get here!
my dog drinks non-stop when she gets home. why does She come home so thirsty?
This is not uncommon. What often happens is that dogs spend so much time playing with each other that they sometimes forget to stop and take a drink. For those parents that have children, it is similar to a child forgetting to eat lunch because they are so busy playing with their friends. Please know that we offer multiple sources of water in each play area and every dog has a bowl of fresh water in his/her run at all times.
My dog came home footsore after his first visit. What's going on?
This is not uncommon, but we do everything to prevent it once we know your dog is a bit of a tenderfoot. Some dogs never get sore feet, some always would if we didn't limit play periods and others seem to just get tougher pads with repeated exposure. Dogs with a "high octane" play style are most frequently affected. Occasionally old dogs with a bit of dementia will pace when outside and chafe their feet. When they are stimulated they don't seem to notice their feet are getting sore and we don't know they've irritated their feet until AFTER they stop playing. We are careful to monitor the play-style of new dogs, calibrate the rambunctiousness of their friends and provide frequent breaks. We sometimes entirely limit high speed, skidding play with dogs we are concerned could overdo it. Please let us know if your dog might have sensitive feet or be prone to old dog circling and pacing. We'll keep a close eye on those toes!
Can my dog catch a disease by being with other dogs?
Yes. Your dog is more vulnerable to catching communicable diseases and parasites when they are in any social situation, be it the dog park, the kennel or puppy class. In the interest of supporting immune systems, we place a primary focus on maintaining as low stress and calm an environment as possible. We have a rigorous cleaning and disinfection protocol and require veterinarian recommended vaccines and fecal checks are current in order for your dog to attend the Grinning Dog, but those precautions aren't fool proof. It's easy to compare dogs in socially oriented dog care with kids going to school or playgroups - they can (and probably will at some point!) catch what is going around. Dogs do not, however, interact the same way kids do. They swap spit, sniff and lick nether regions, eat disgusting things and engage in behavior humans generally find repugnant. The effects of this unique social behavior may include stomach upset, canine cough (the vaccine is not 100% effective), puppy warts and various and sundry parasites. Those are normally relatively benign (in the scheme of things) illnesses, but we can't rule out scarier diseases (God Forbid) like Canine Influenza, Parvo and other less common viruses. It's important you be fully aware of the risks involved in having your dog engage in a social life. It's not unusual for a newcomer (or infrequent visitor) to socializing to be more vulnerable than a frequent flyer. We will always let you know if there has been communicable illness reported in our community. Please let us know about anything your dogs come down with and do keep them home until they get the all clear from their veterinarians. Communication is key to keeping our entire Grinning Dog community as healthy as possible!
Are there discounts for multiple dogs or days?
Staying small and providing one on one care by mature, experienced handlers does not allow us the financial wiggle room to discount for multiple dogs, nor length of stay.
Can my Dog get hurt at the Grinning Dog?
Yes. While we (yes, me too!) sometimes think of our dogs as little humans, its important to remember that the animals we have decked out in cute collars, sleeping on fuzzy beds and nibbling on organic cookies are, in fact, domesticated canines. And they, in spite of our projections, act that way. Dogs play with their teeth and nails, carry sharp sticks, swallow pebbles, roll in (and eat!) dead animals and generally seem to make it their mission to remind us of how proud they are of their canine heritage - all while sporting the polka dotted bandana we think they look adorable in! We are frequently reminded of the culture clash between their canine proclivities and our human sensibilities. We have an excellent safety record at the Grinning Dog, but have certainly had some dogs become injured while they were staying with us. Injuries have consisted of sore feet (from over doing it on the pea stone), dogs nipping each other, a dog who caught her toenail and tore it out and one dog who poked its sibling in the side with a stick that was being retrieved from the pond. We have had two episodes of dog vs. porcupine out on the trails. All dogs now play "naked" or while wearing breakaway collars after a scary incident many years ago when two dogs playing together got their mouths caught in the others' personal collars (don't let your dogs play with collars on!). My skilled and attentive staff intervened quickly and thankfully both dogs were ok, but it left us shaken for a quite some time.
In the unlikely (but possible) event that your dog does get injured we will call you and, if an emergency, will leave for the emergency veterinary clinic immediately. If there doesn't appear to be an emergency, we will contact you for guidance. We will call your dog's veterinarian if we don't get ahold of you or your emergency contact. Please be aware that we will default to going to the vet if we have any concerns and will instruct the vet to do anything they deem necessary to treat your dog. This could include expensive testing, Xrays and imaging which you will be responsible for paying for. If you have a preference on which life saving measures you would like administered/withheld or a budget you'd like us to adhere to, please give us detailed instructions to keep in your dog's file.
What Our Clients Are Saying
"Alison and her staff provided exceptional care to not only my dog but also to me..." A. B.
"The best. Alison and her staff are terrific. My dog, Rem, hadn't spent any time boarded before we got here and he loved it there. I don't know how the dogs are all so calm, but they are. I'm lucky this is near by me. " Betsy N.
"We miss him, but we never worry about him when he's there. Wonderfully competent crew. Beautiful surroundings." Bruce K.
250 Southampton Rd. Westhampton, Ma. 01027 USA 413 527-3652