Many of us like to include our animal companions when going on vacation. But occasionally it is not possible and we must leave them behind with either a responsible ‘house sitter’ or take them to a kennel or boarding facility.
Our response to the ‘leaving’ is a direct parallel to how our animals respond to this or any situation, so what our energy is saying becomes the single most important quality in as far as how they are going to accept and react to our leaving. It is no secret that our energy is picked up by our companions. Our energy can be less wrought with sadness and guilt at the leaving by doing a little pre-paving of the upcoming event. By doing a little homework.
If we know we are going on a vacation in the near future, we can begin by searching out boarding facilities. Most dog boarder’s, in my opinion, do not always have adequate means of making a cat comfortable, so boarding and experience specific to species is important. Interview the ones that seem to resonate with you, then tour the kennel or ‘kitty house’ in person but hopefully in a spontaneous visit. This pre-paving adventure should help eliminate some ‘prickly’ energy in of itself.
Once a bit of our comfort in the above regard is reached, we can do a short visit or two with or animal companion (s) by dropping them off for a day or overnight well before the vacation. This is a good time to practice our own feelings about the eventual, temporary parting. Make it an adventure! Have some fun with it. Tell the companions they are going to meet other dogs and might make some new friends; impressing upon them that we will be back in one dark or for dinner time so they should enjoy their ‘vacation’ makes a big difference in both our and their energies.
We tend to pre-pave in the opposite direction. We tend to consider all the things that can go awry rather than how they might go right and when we plant that idea in our animal companions we add to their stress. We can unknowingly send the wrong message. Many cats and dogs which are considered to have anxiety separation do in fact not have it- their guardians have anxiety separation and more or less transfer that energy to their companions. (There are very real cases of true separation anxiety syndrome and it is difficult work to help a companion feel comfortable. That is not what I’m considering here.) Make a visit as many times as possible so before the leaving both of you are comfortable.
Most animals do miss their guardians when they are parted from them. Yet the activities in a kennel or boarding facility can be quite a nice distraction for an animal and even a pleasant change of pace rather than being at home alone with a sitter coming in twice a day. Cats generally are curious and sometimes being in different surroundings is beneficial to them though kittens are notorious for not being fans of the ‘new’, which makes them more likely to enjoy someone just dropping in to see if all are well. But several visits by the sitter is a wonderful idea.
None of us like to be away from our companions. I also disliked leaving my girls at the boarding kennel and they were completely in love with the staff and always looked forward to a trip to ‘vacationland’, so the question I had to ask is, ‘Is leaving them bothering me more than them?’
Sometimes we project our desires and concerns onto them, when they never owned it in the first place. Do your homework, project confidence in the situation; expect they will enjoy the different landscape and see what a change it makes. Expect good things to happen and good things generally do.