Don't bother me; I'm sleeping


I’ve taken the political term DINO and have decided it serves me well, as my furry friends are really Dogs In Name Only.

This has been brought home to me as I have been searching for a kennel where I can leave them for several days when JM and I head off to visit his parents in Toulon. Not having Mom around does now make it possible for me to go away, but only if we have a good solution for the dogs. I know that French hotels are more accommodating than American ones when it comes to pets, but asking any hotel to take two dogs the size of ours is really not possible.

We have a decent place in Roquefixade where we have left them in the past, but the problem is that Roquefixade is really not near anything. We are taking the train from Carcassonne, and in order to leave the dogs there, we would have to leave them two days ahead of time on Saturday, because the kennel is closed on Sunday and we wouldn’t have time to both go there AND make our train on Monday.

So, we decided to search closer to Limoux or Carcassonne. I discovered that there were actually several possibilities, but I didn’t have any personal recommendations and wasn’t about to make a reservation without checking into the facilities myself.

We visited the first one on Tuesday. If Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme had a “love child,” then this guy would be it. I swear that I have never met anyone less verbal or more scary in my life. Both JM and I were quaking when we left. It’s silly, because I’m sure that he’s a perfectly decent person, but he clearly is lacking in people skills.

Besides that, we clearly had a philosophical difference about how dogs are fed, raised and treated. To him, it was obvious they are animals, to us, they are little people with furry suits. He feeds all the dogs there Royal Canin kibble, I feed mine either home prepared or a very high quality canned brand that is almost all meat, with some vegetables and no grains. He looked at me like there was something wrong with me mentally for doing that, and although he said he would feed them what I brought, I could tell he didn’t like it one bit.

That was clearly NOT going to work out.

I next called a place that just from its name struck me as being more in tune with my philosophy: Les Animaux en Vacance. Yep, clearly not someone who thinks of dogs as farm animals.

We went to check it out yesterday, and I have to say both JM and I felt comfortable right away. The place is basically a large house on several, fenced, hectares of land right in the middle of grape vines. The fence is high enough to keep Shmoo in and has an electric wire running around the base to keep the dogs away from it for digging purposes.

Except for a place we used in L.A. that was more expensive per day than the hotels we stayed in, I haven’t found another facility like this; certainly not since we’ve moved. The dogs are outside, free to run around and play all day, and have the entire basement of the house, filled with beds and cushions for sleeping at night. And, when the weather is cooler so the heat doesn’t get inside, the house is left open all day so the dogs can go inside and hang out there too if they want to.

There were about eight dogs there yesterday when we visited. All of them were happy and friendly. They all got along and there was no growling or fighting. On top of that, leaving both dogs will cost us less per day than just leaving Maggie at the place we used in L.A. And, not only was there no problem about our bringing their food, it is expected.

For the first time since we moved here, I feel that we have an excellent solution for the dogs even if we only want to go away for a day trip. It’s between Limoux and Cepie, so not a problem  to get to, and the young woman who runs it is clearly of the same mindset as us.

Let’s hear it for the DINO lovers!

Ciao for now.


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9 thoughts on “My DINO

  1. I remember that place in L.A. It was super expensive, but at least I felt that Charlie (and later Shadow) would be (relatively) happy. After you left town, they installed web cams throughout the facility, which allowed me to see where Shadow was while I was sitting in a hotel room in NY. That was pretty neat! Everyone in our town in Oregon tends to use house sitters to stay at their place and watch their dogs–which also works out well. We spent ten days away in February and got daily reports and even a few photos sent to our cells. Nice! Glad you found a place.

  2. Shmoo’s mistaken idea that he is the reincarnation of Steve McQueen makes it impossible for us to either have a house sitter or ask someone to take him in. He’s fine 95% of the time, but that last 5% is a worry. I don’t know many people who can handle him when “the black mood” is upon him; he’s just too powerful. I figure that if I get pulled under a truck or am slammed into a stone wall, at least he’s my dog; I don’t want that responsibility for some one else. And, if a friend let’s him escape, that wouldn’t be good in another way.

  3. That place sounds perfect! Assuming you’re taking Beanie to Carcassonne you can drop them off on the way there and pick them up on the way home! Where will you leave Beanie, though? Or is a friend driving you to the station?

    I wish I could find a place that nice for Chouette…

  4. We are driving with Beanie. We can leave her at the underground parking lot outside the train station for 6€ a day, which is a bargain.

    I must say it’s a great find. Although I wish someone even closer provided that kind of service. That would be awesome.

  5. Dear Randy, While reading My DINO entry I came acrosse the words, ‘not having Mom around,’ and I thought of the worst, and sure enough, after going to the older posts I found the entry about your Mom’s passing away. I know it is really late to share my condolences but please accecpt my sympathy for your big loss. I have not been to your site for quite a while because I was going through some challanges of my own. My wife’s health has not been that great; we spent 2011 New Year’s Eve in an ER. She was hospitalized and had to stay at home for months to recoup. She is getting a bit better and is back at work. Hope time is healing your pain of losing your Mom. Take care.

    • Thanks, Gene. I’m so sorry to hear that your wife hasn’t been well. Didn’t she already have some health issues a year or so ago? I’m glad she’s doing better now at least. Hope all is well with you, the children, grandchildren and Furry Child!

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