Vacationing without your pets, how do you manage it?

We recently took a vacation with a group of friends, all pet owners.  We each had to find a way to manage our pet family members' care while we were away, as we were going out of the country and it wasn't realistic to take them with us.  So with very different needs, we each made different choices. 

My mom offered to take care of our elderly cat, Ollie.  She loves her grand-cat and I love knowing Ollie is safe and happy while I'm away.  Our newer kitten was placed in the care of my father-in-law.  The kitten, Sir Purrington, is mostly a barn cat, but accustomed to being inside at night.  Dad generously made sure on the cold nights Purrs had a warm and dry spot as one night we suffered with 6" of snow (oh, wait, we were on vacation, we missed the snow!). 

Our friends that have the menagerie, with dogs, cats, barn cats, and horses asked a close family friend to house sit and take care of all the furry critters.  Luckily their sister is a vet so they could rest easy knowing the vet knows all the animals if anything were to happen while they were away.  One of their dogs had an infected toe, so the friend had lots of extra responsibility. 

The third family has 2 dogs that are well-trained, adults and healthy.  Their niece came and stayed with the dogs and kept them company.  The funny thing about going out of the country, you never know till you get there if that app you downloaded on your phone will really work.  Can I call home?  Can I rely on the WiFi to receive an email?  Can I even text?  We finally found ways to reach home and check in. 

Luckily, there were no major issues.  The biggest fur baby problem was one of my friend's mothers has a new dog.  She was recently widowed and thought it would be good company to help her deal with the loneliness.  She called my friend while we were away because the dog was having trouble.  Seemed her little baby was dizzy, favoring one of her legs and as it always seems to happen, it was late Friday night.  We consoled our friend who tried to console her mom, but all felt helpless.  Both due to the distance, the timing and the lack of communication to our dogs.  We know they are in pain sometimes, but can't figure out why they might suddenly be favoring a leg.

Next morning, the dog was fine!  We were relieved and we were headed home that day so all was right with the world.  At least until we saw the customs lines at O'Hare!  We knew we were in danger of missing our connecting flight home.  Our pet sitters had plans to go home, one had already left since we were due to return and the flights were on time.  I don't think I've run that fast since middle school!  We made it by the skin of our teeth and the grace of United holding the plane for the 6 of us. 

I was glad to be reunited with our pets and think they might even have missed me while I was away, but they'll never tell!   


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