A friend (and client) asked me recently if our team here at the House of Mutt might be getting too ‘big and business-like’ compared to the bucolic home-y set up she’d always pictured. My (over-wrought, for which apologies….) response makes me think this is a sensitive subject that could do with an airing …
Sensitive because I spend so much time and energy making sure the ’business’ and ‘home’ sides of the House of Mutt match up – and took her innocent question as sharp criticism that I’d got that balance wrong.
‘Home Boarding’ sounds like you plonk visiting dogs into your own dog’s bed under the kitchen table and crack on as if they weren’t really there. But that just doesn’t work. Not when the visiting dogs are the precious beloveds of someone who is paying you to look after them.
However well you get on with the owner, however much you both love their dog, and however much you’ve discussed the risks accompanying ‘family life freedom’, you are being entrusted to look after a member of their family – and with that you take on a massive responsibility.
That level of responsibility, in my view, demands team support!
Our support system here includes various amounts of time from:
- David (vet stuff, general sanity, Rex, a healthy sense of perspective)
- Cally (training, dog know-how, life)
- Ella (office, taxi organising, checking-in, invoicing, grooming, bed-mending, everything)
- Peter, Ray or Jerry (taxi trips and bonhonmie)
- Teeny (international travel, wit, charm)
- Jenny (obsessive vacuuming of carpets and pouffing of cushions)
- Vicky (photography, and dog back-up when Cally is away); and, last but not least,
- our Teens who cuddle, fluff, walk, play with and generally love the house guests.
A HoM support team like that enables myself (at the Old Rectory) and Jo (at Merton Hall) to DO DOGS PROPERLY - which is what the House of Mutt is all about.
Home Boarding is Lovely (note the capital L) for us, for the dogs and (hopefully) for their owners. But it’s not without its stresses and responsibilities. I feel (quite strongly, obviously!) that for it to work safely, happily and well, it needs a team. It’s only with adequate support and vaguely business-like levels of efficiency that both dogs and owners can be looked after to the standard that makes sleeping well at night – in both our and our owners’ houses – possible.
Bucolic? Yes. But part-time? No. This Home Boarding malarkey is a job for professionals; and who, if they think about it, would have it any other way?
My splurge is finished…. Comments / disagreements / assurances welcome!