Frequently Asked Questions
Do you offer day care?
No, we do not offer day care, only overnight boarding.
What do I need to bring for my dog’s stay?
You will need to bring your dog’s food and medication(s), if applicable. We provide a variety of sizes of raised beds with plush toppers, but you are welcome to bring additional bedding. Please note that the bedding may get dirty, wet, or ripped during your dog’s stay, so we may refresh the bedding with our clean blankets. You can also bring toys and treats, but we ask that you leave the meaty bones or rawhides at home. We do not feel comfortable giving them to dogs when we cannot monitor them, for safety reasons. We have plenty of food bowls so unless your dog uses a special bowl, you can leave those at home as well.
How many kennels do you have? What are the sizes? How much are they?
We have 12 total kennels (7 regular and 5 larger kennels of varying sizes):
6 Regular kennels: 6x4’ inside/10x4’ outside
4 Large kennels: 6x8’ inside/10x8’ outside
1 dog / Regular Kennel $35 1 dog / Large Kennel $40
2 dog / Regular Kennel (both must be <40 lbs) $45 2 dogs / Large Kennel $50
3 dogs / Regular Kennel (all must be <25 lbs) $55 3 dogs / Large Kennel $65
What is included in the overnight boarding fee?
Your overnight fee includes:
5 times a day – potty/play time in the play yard (100 ft x 40 ft) with other dogs (if social) or with just us. Play time is always supervised and interactive.
Secure kennel with indoor/outdoor access (and refrigerator flaps on the guillotine door to control temperature in winter). The entire outside kennel is covered from the elements. Kennel sizes are listed on the Services page.
Raised bed (Kuranda Beds) with plush topper and additional blankets, as needed.
Stainless steel water pail with the water changed, pail washed and re-filled at least twice a day. Stainless steel feeding bowls of all sizes.
Photos and/or videos of your dog during their stay, texted to your cel phone or email.
Some extras as needed: we provide jackets during cold weather, individual space heater for those dogs that need extra warmth, crates/dens for nervous dogs, individual fans in summer to certain dogs, Kong's.
What form of payment(s) do you take?
We prefer personal check but also take Venmo (and cash, if needed).
Where do I drop off or pick up my dog?
Our address is 372 Sabin Rd Spencer. It’s hard to miss our yellow house and garage; GPS will bring your right to us. Pull in and park in the driveway and either James or I will meet you there and take your dog(s) to the play yard. We ask that clients do not go to the barn or kennel area as it can be very stressful on the dogs already in our care. And we appreciate clients not disturbing our house, as we have dogs of our own who don’t need the added stress of frequent doorbells.
If we do not meet you within a couple minutes, please call our cel phone, 607-351-0405.
For pick up, if you can text us when you are 5 minutes out, we will meet you in the driveway with your dog(s). Otherwise, when you pull in, we will acknowledge you and go and get your dog for you.
Why do you need a specific time for drop off or pick up time?
We have many pick-ups and drop offs each day, as well as offsite training sessions (Jen), onsite training classes, and personal commitments so we need to make sure we are not double booking. Often, we have a dog leave in the morning and schedule another dog to occupy that same kennel later in the afternoon, after cleaning.
We will confirm a time with you the day prior for drop off and pick up. Often, for pick up, if you cannot pinpoint a time, we just ask that you give us a time range and then text us with travel updates throughout the day of pick up.
What are your pick up and drop off times?
Winter Hours Summer Hours
Nov 1st – March 31st April 1st to Oct 31st
Pick up/Drop off: 8am to 4pm Pick up/Drop off: 8am to 7pm
Early drop/pickup: 7-8am $10 Early drop/pickup: 6-8am $10
Late pickup only: 4-6pm $10 Late pickup only: 7-8pm $10
Are the kennels heated or cooled?
The kennels are heated on the inside in winter, and we have installed “flaps” like a commercial refrigerator to maintain the temperature inside. The kennels are not air conditioned indoors, but the dogs always have indoor and outdoor access during the warmer months and the flaps are removed to allow for greater air flow. We also have a number of fans and windows that we open to allow for cooler air to come in. For senior dogs, or those that are heavily furred, we often give them a personal fan by their kennel when it’s very hot. In general, the concrete kennel floors keep it fairly cool inside during the summer months.
Do the dogs always have indoor/outdoor access?
Most of the time during the day, yes, they have indoor/outdoor access. An exception is when it is extremely cold (below 20 degrees), we will take the dogs out to play, but close them in at other times.
We also close most of the dogs in for the night year-round. Because there are a lot of critters abound at night in the farm fields that surround us, they can keep dogs awake that are typically in their homes at night. We want all the dogs to get good night’s sleep here together so unless it is very hot or a dog can enjoy the night air and nocturnal animal action without barking or stressing, we typically close them in. In addition, if there are thunderstorms/fireworks we will close the dogs inside until it passes. Because we live on site, if there is an overnight thunderstorm, we will go and check on the dogs and do what is needed.
What if my dog doesn’t get along with other dogs?
That’s ok! We prefer dogs have companions they can play with because it helps them expend extra energy, keeping them fulfilled and producing a calm and relaxed boarding experience for all the dogs. But some dogs are older and may have health issues, some dogs only like very specific dogs, and some just prefer to be with people. For any dogs that need solo playtime, we can accommodate them as long as they aren’t overly reactive to seeing other dogs in our care. We are always with the dogs while they are in the play yard and have plenty of toys (and ourselves) to play with. We engage the dogs and that may mean we just sit on the bench and snuggle/sunbathe, or we play tug o war, chase, or fetch is always a favorite game.
I don’t know if my dog likes other dogs. Can you socialize her?
Often (especially during COVID) dogs have grown up just with their human family and haven’t had a chance to meet any other dogs, so owners just don’t know if their dog likes other dogs. How dogs react to each other on leash does not correlate to how they are off leash in a neutral space. Staying with us is a good place for them to try. Both James and I have decades of experience working with dogs and for the last 8.5 years we have run a dog boarding business, both in CA (cage-free) and here in NY. We have worked with packs of dogs up to 25 at a time in a house, so we consider ourselves experts at matching dogs and making play groups. We manage the dogs play with each other to ensure that it’s appropriate and always try to be proactive to prevent any negative interactions. If your dog can play with others we will send you photos, videos, and an update on how it went. Some times we do not have a good match on site, or do not feel comfortable trying a dog with others, so we will provide as much social stimulation as we can in our one-on-one interactions.
What happens if my dog gets hurt or sick while in your care?
It’s rare, but this can happen. I (Jen) have been the supervisor for many veterinarians and vet techs during my career in animal welfare and have amassed a wealth of knowledge about canine medical care. Both James and I are very astute and observant to even the slightest difference in the behavior of the dogs in our care. And we handle them multiple times a day, so we notice most physical ailments or injuries. In addition, a great indicator of health are dog feces, and we dispose of a lot of it and learn a lot about each of the dogs in our care.
We will take care of minor issues ourselves, such as cleaning and treating cuts or scrapes. And we will contact you as soon as we see anything unusual or if something happens to make sure you are comfortable with what’s going on. We will communicate with you about any extra treatment needed, and can take the dog to the Spencer Animal Hospital during normal business hours.
In your documentation, we ask for an emergency contact so that this person can be contacted if your dog needs to be taken to an emergency vet (Cornell University).
Can I check in on my dog during her stay?
Absolutely. But we’ll probably contact you first! You’ll receive pictures and videos of your dog multiple times a day texted to your cel phone. And you can always text, call, or email us at any time as we keep our business phone (607-351-0405) on us most of the time (although phone calls are often difficult when we are working with dogs).
Can I come and see your place before we board?
Yes, we always welcome new clients but will schedule a time with you that works for a visit. And we ask that just humans come for the visit, leaving the pup at home. Typically meet n’ greets are scheduled late morning on weekdays when the dogs in our care have had their morning exercise and are generally in a resting stage. It is stimulating for them to have “strangers” visit, but we also want to make sure that clients feel comfortable boarding with us. We completely understand wanting to see the space your dog will be staying in and will accommodate as we can.
My dog is not fixed (spayed/neutered); can you still board her?
Yes, but not if she is in heat. We cannot board dogs coming in to, in heat, or within 2 weeks of finishing “heat” because it is upsetting to the other dogs we have in our care.
Intact dogs of either sex do impact the “vibe” of the pack/kennel, so no matter how lovely your dog may be with other dogs in your experience, some other dogs just can’t adjust to intact dogs, and it can upset the ebb and flow of playtime and rest time that we seek to achieve daily. Even if dogs don’t play together, it’s amazing how much dogs in the area can affect another dog’s mental state.
In general, we strongly recommend spaying/neutering all dogs 6 months and older. Both James and I (Jen) have spent our careers working with/for animal shelters and nonprofit organizations and have seen and experienced the heartbreak of careless breeding. It’s overall healthier physically and mentally, in our opinion, to spay/neuter companion dogs around that age.
Stray Haven Humane Society and SPCA, in Waverly, NY, Ithaca’s Tompkins County SPCA, and the Chemung SPCA will alter female and male dogs at a discounted rate, and sooner than your personal vet.
My dog is a climber and/or escape artist. Are your kennels covered?
Yes, some of our kennels are fully covered inside and outside so those dogs that try, will be fully contained. We also have latches with a secondary hook on each kennel doors for those that might be crafty. As another layer of safety, the kennel doors open to the enclosed kennel space, which then opens to the office space, so escape is almost impossible. From our outer kennel doors, the dogs enter in to an enclosed “buffer area” before entering the fenced play yard. When dogs are in the play yard area, we are with them, and our fencing is 7 feet tall. If you have a known climber, please let us know.
My dog is fearful or has a history of taking his time to warm up to people. Can you board a dog with behavioral concerns?
Yes, if we can handle your dog safely, we can work with most dogs. Often dogs are “diagnosed” at a day care, a vet clinic, by a friend, but only when a problem occurs, like the dog lunged at someone or growled at a child. Owners are rightfully concerned and as a result, often limit their dogs’ exposure to people and other dogs out of fear the dog might “act out” again. We have boarded many nervous, shy, timid, untrusting dogs here and we know how to give them their space. We manage them without having to physically manipulate them and they tell us when they are ready for affection. What we can’t have here is a dog that has a propensity to bite when scared or in a forward behavior. If you are unsure about your dog, it’s best to contact us and we can talk more.