When Phil suggested a two-week holiday in Scandinavia, a tight little ball of panic formed in the pit of my stomach.  Lila had only just reached her first birthday and had yet to experience the stark confines of a boarding kennel.  The prospect of leaving my baby dog (and one so accustomed to her creature comforts) was unbearable.  I wondered if I could find a way to express my reluctance without appearing deranged.  I couldn’t.

Instead I called Rilten Kennels where our border collie Rosie had happily spent time in years past.   I figured a chat with Philippa (who runs Rilten) might improve my outlook.   Certain that I’d sound overprotective and neurotic, I tentatively explained that Lila had never been boarded, but before I could move on to the next thought, Philippa read my mind:   “Why don’t you bring her here for a day?  That way she’ll understand the routine…that you’re coming back.”   [read more below]

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As the day approached, I started scrolling through all the disasters that might befall Lila during her stay.  Maybe she’d contract some dread disease.  What if she escaped and got run over by a car?!?  How would she manage with other dogs without me there to referee?  What if she got too pushy and someone bit her???

Pushy she wasn’t.  When we arrived, she was clearly overwhelmed.  So many unfamiliar dogs.  All barking.  Loudly and simultaneously.  Nevertheless, I turned my back on her and pretended to casually stroll away.  Until a terrible sound came from behind.   A sound  I imagined coming from a Lila so distressed as to be unrecognisable.  I had to ask, “Was that Lila?!?”  “Noooo, a staffie yodeling,” replied Philippa, wryly adding, “She couldn’t have produced a sound like that even if she’d tried.”  Oh.

Even though Lila’s initiation was to last a mere eight hours, I couldn’t help phoning after four (not that I was counting).   She was fine.   And by the time I collected her at the end of day, she looked like she owned the place.  Head up tail wagging.  Not the least bit worried.  Pleased to see me but not desperately so.  And I had a chance to meet some of her new friends (and one enemy).   When I suggested we go home for dinner, Lila pretended not to hear.  She had better things to do.  A few more scents to sniff. 

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