A Post for the Holiday Season – How to be a Good Guest


I was looking for somewhere to board my dog for a few nights next month. I came across a groupon type deal for a company that connects people who wish to board dogs in their homes with dog owners.

The idea of my pooch staying with a family is appealing. After culling through several pages of possibilities, I arranged a “meet and greet” with a woman who seemed to be a possible match for us.

My dog and I set off, in rush hour. What should have been a 15 minute car-ride ended up being 45 minutes. Lewey sensed something was amiss – I had to drag him up the stairs to the front door. We were greeted by the nice lady, her husband, and two pugs. At her suggestion, I took off my dog’s leash so he could explore the house.

A meet-and-greet is a nice way of saying that the boarding family wants to make sure my dog is not out-of-control and I want to make sure they are not psychopaths.

The woman and I sat down in the family room. She pulled out her notebook to ask me questions about my dog, who was being adorable and playing with one of the other dogs. As we continued our discussion, I followed her gaze to the left of my chair.

There, in the corner of the room, on the wall-to-wall carpet, my dog was taking a dump.

Really? After I went through all the trouble to find these people and shlep to their home, my dog is going to put the kibosh on the whole thing within the first five minutes by pooping in their house? I was mortified. He never does this, I assured them. It called into question my dog training skills. Maybe I was a terrible dog parent? Oh, the shame.

They were very nice and matter-of-fact about it. I quickly cleaned up the poop and the husband sprayed the anti-smell-please-don’t-poop-here-again-spray. He told me they’ve learned to take their dog guests for a walk as soon as they arrive as they can be agitated and out of sorts. Apparently my dog’s behavior was not as abnormal or abhorrent as I feared.

We finished the interview and talked about the dates I needed the dog to be watched. They seemed like they were actually still willing to watch my dog – I couldn’t believe it. I figured when I got home I would receive a text saying that something had come up for them and they wouldn’t be able to watch Lewey. You know, the doggie version of “it’s not you, it’s me.”

I felt as if I had ruined a first date. We did the walk of shame out to the car. I called my husband and my sister.

“They’re dog people,” my sister reasoned, “they’re used to this stuff.

To my surprise, they accepted my official request through the boarding website to watch my dog. I will plead with him to be a super good boy and do all of his business outside.

I hate to leave him, but sometimes duty calls.

May your Thanksgiving celebrations include only well-behaved guests.