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What do you say???

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  • What do you say???

    Those of you that own a boarding kennel besides grooming: I need a creative response to people that question why we don't ever take a vacation. Maybe I'm venting, but my sister-in-law has been on our case about telling clients that we can't take a vacation because of our business (we all know boarding is 24/7). We would lose quite a bit of income if we took any time off. In our almost 35 years of marriage we have only taken one vacation - and that was for only a few days.Time and money have never been on our side, we just make the best of it and are grateful that we are working - it could be so much worse. She says that I shouldn't be proud of the fact that we never take a "real" vacation. I'm not, nor do I intend to be, that's just the way it is. We have bills to pay and our goal is to retire when we're in our late 70's (health permitting) and taking time off with no income isn't any way to reach that goal. Any body have any ideas on what we say to people when they ask why we never take any time off (without out sounding proud about it)?

    Oh, and my sister-in-law and hubby are very financially comfortable and are able to take numerous vacations, as well as having a cabin on a lake. They've worked hard for it and they deserve everything they have.

  • #2
    Just tell them that spending time caring for their pup is vacation enough
    Mandy, Birdie, Evie, Willie and The Woo
    Check out my Blog at


    • #3
      For us here...we have taken vacations.. only to find myself surrounded by people.... I prefer animals....LOL. Besides, the last time we went anywhere.. I spent my time worrying about what was going on at home anyhow.

      I completely understand what you are saying... if you feel like you are lacking in some way, then maybe you could find a day or so here or there. If you are not feeling like you are lacking then (well I do at least) look at them, ask "when was the last time you had a really grateful face lick?" and I walk away....

      Dog & God are spelled the same for a reason.. it is the only total unconditional love you will receive after you are able to walk & talk. (IMHO)


      • #4
        My first response would be its none of your business.but most people arent lippy like me.
        So I imagine youd like something nice to say like "0h taking care of dogs isnt really work so what do do I need to take a vacation from? when you work doing what you love you dont NEED to get away from it!


        • #5
          What is she REALLY saying?

          Does she want you to go on a vacation with her? Does she feel badly because you work all the time? I wonder what her real point is.

          Too bad you don't have a trusted person who can oversee the place - OR - maybe once a year you have a couple of weeks where you do not book dogs in. Either of those things would allow you to have a vacation, and if you really want one, that's what you should do.

          If you DON'T want one, then you can tell your sister that you don't feel bad about not getting vacations.


          • #6
            We go on vacation

            But I feel like I have to ... it is my carrot for working hard. I don't have to go far or spend a lot of money, I just want to sit on a beach, read a magazine or book, be in a cabin, lay on a couch and do anything I want. Yes, it is hard to get away. In the beginning we would close down for a week and tell our clients when, they booked around us. Now we are too big to do that but we have employees we trust (except w/the grooming).

            We don't take vacations like the rest of our family but that's okay. We also always have to do holidays at our place so we can do dogs of course but everyone is use to that by now. Most of our family just have fun around our schedule and they don't complain ... its nice.

            I think its awesome that you don't feel like you need a vacation. I get my crabby pants on and can't seem to get them off ... then I know its time for a vacation.


            • #7
              What I get from your post.

              Your a hard worker and don't mind putting your desires aside for a while to reach a goal and while that is an admirable trait, playing it up, can come across as a play for sympathy (poor me, I work so hard, I can never take a vacay). Not that that's what your doing by any means, but hopefully you can see what I'm trying to say. Some people, might take it that way when you are "proud" because you *can't* go off for a few days.

              I find your dedication amazing and admire that you've put off taking time for yourselves, but if you plan on being in this business til your late 70's, you need to learn how to take some time for YOU! I know it's hard to get away, but you can plan for it. You don't have to be spontaneous or be gone for weeks at a time, but you should be planning at least a couple of days a year to renew and refresh. It's only going to make you a very bitter person, seeing your SIL and others' being able to go off and ENJOY things THEY'VE worked hard for (house at the lake, vacays a couple times a year, etc) while your stuck at home working 24/7/365. You won't be able to enjoy the fruits of all your labor and that will suck and you will end up resenting all those people that are enjoying their lives.

              Now look, I'm speaking from personal experience! I'm GUILTY as charged and not passing judgement without merit. Coming from one workaholic to another, please make time for you and your husband NOW, while you can still enjoy a quiet moment TOGETHER! You never know when this year may be the last. Believe me, you'll feel a whole lot better if you plan for a bit (even a small bit) of together time.

              As for what to say to others about taking time off, why bring it up at all. If someone ask's, just laugh and say "I get time off" with a smile. Some people may feel guilty that they are leaving while you stay behind and slave away.


              • #8
                Tell her you'd be happy to take a vacation at her lake house...while she stays behind to oversee the kennel operations.


                • #9
                  If you don't take it you don't make it

                  Dear Petekids,

                  What are you waiting for that big vacation in the sky? Life is short and you need to rejuvenate. You need time off. You need to enjoy your life. You need to take it or it will pass you by.

                  A week away will not put you into bankruptcy and you still will reach retirement age and retire. All the excuses in the world still do not make it easier. 35 years locked to a business is like a self appointed prison. Break Out! If your partner doesn’t want to go find another to share your adventure.

                  You do not have to go far away just someplace free of work and responsibility where you are catered to and pampered where you can laugh and enjoy yourself for just a very short time. We all need a break. [b]You need a creative response to yourself why you deny yourself this simple hiatus.[/b] A vacation is almost medicinal.

                  " Oh, and my sister-in-law and hubby are very financially comfortable and are able to take numerous vacations, as well as having a cabin on a lake. They've worked hard for it and they deserve everything they have."

                  And you don't? Why does your sister-in-law deserve better then you? Go for it. You worked for it and you deserve it. Tell your jailer, I am out of here! The kennel will be there when you return.

                  What do you tell your clients? I had a wonderful vacation and can't wait till the next one. If you are not good to yourself who else will be?

                  Good Luck and Godspeed,



                  • #10
                    I do take vacations -

                    just not when normal people do! I tell family that if they want to go with me, they have to go off-season! I have to take time off - even if it is for 2 or 3 days! We HAVE to to preserve our sanity!!


                    • #11
                      I typically have 1 to 4 dogs I'm watching here at my home, along w/ my gang.
                      The ones I watch are pretty high maintenance, and prolly wouldn't do well in our local kennels.

                      My stock answer (and I get the question alot, mostly from clients) is I point to my ceiling/roof and tell them I love "that" almost as much as I love my dogs, but the bank wants alot of money once a month to keep it over my head.

                      The irony is...when I managed a boarding kennel...I DID get vacations. Had a really cool thing called "staff".

                      I actually tried to have someone stay here about 6 years ago when I went to the Outer Banks for a week.
                      While I was gone, my septic got clogged, my well was run dry and burned up a pump, the fire dept. was called for a "smokey smell" (I have a woodstove that does smell a bit "smokey" in very humid weather), a tree crashed onto the fence on my "dog 1/2 acre.
                      And I returned to a dying kitty I had to put to sleep that day...he was very old.

                      My $2000.00 "vacation" set me back about $4500.00. Took me a year to finally pay off that "special" memory. I get a panic attack when I even hear the word "vacation" now.

                      My life IS a vacation. I work from home grooming and taking care of dogs, messing around in my gardens, do what I want, when I want, I am my own boss, making money while I sleep!
                      Doesn't get much better than that!
                      Last edited by 4Sibes; 02-03-10, 07:35 AM.
                      Often it's not what you say, but how you say it.


                      • #12
                        When you are in the boarding kennel business, there is no real reason that you can't have a vacation. However, you do schedule those vacations for times that are not common travel times. Of course, you don't vacation at the holidays, as those are your high income times, and you probably don't vacation during the summer either. But, you can indeed schedule a vacation for the off times. The cool thing is that you can get some really good deals that way! Hotel rooms are cheaper on Tues and Weds than on the weekend, virtually everything is cheaper in the off season.

                        You've been in the business for a while, so looking at your yearly schedule you should know when you are the slowest. If you don't have staff you can leave in charge, then you should check with your trusted vet. He may have a vet tech that is happy to work your kennel for a few days (and many would take vacation days in order to do it) or there may also be a trusted pet-sitter in your area.

                        You have not been on a vacation for a while, so start slow! You will be a wreck if you plan a week off. So, start with a couple days and build up. After being home-bodies for so long, you may never want to take a full week. You don't have to.

                        One of the best things you can tell the sister-in-law is that you would like to borrow the use of their cabin for a couple days. Odds are they are not going on a Tues/Weds, and chances are they would be shocked and thrilled to be able to help. Schedule it, get the kennel covered for those two days, take your hubby and just go. Not only do you get the family off your back, you make them feel useful, and you are not out much money. Borrow some of their lake gear and just go have fun. You don't really have to do anything more than just go, hang out, relax, enjoy the lake, maybe do some fishing, etc.

                        If your financials don't allow you to make even that type of trip, you've got to take a look at your bottom line and get that problem solved!


                        • #13
                          Thanks for all the replies. Lots of great ideas, but a vacation just seems like such a luxury.

                          Couple of clarifications: We've only owned the kennel for 4.5 years, before that we worked in different careers (graphic arts and teaching). I have always been the main wage earner - husband was a teacher. The company I worked for was sold and all the oldest, highest paid in employees were let go and we figured it was time to start our own business. We were in our early 50's when this happened and jobs for people our age are few and far between.

                          bnI've shown my own dogs for 25 years. In order to do that I needed a second job, so I've done free-lance graphics forever as well as working full time. I still do our breed club's magazine (full color glossy quarterly pub, usually close to 100 pages). I groom 3-4 days a week, 10+ hours a day and the rest of time goes to the magazine and care of our own dogs. Hubby and 1 very part-time employee take care of the boarding end of the business and help me with bathing. One of the reasons we can't pick up and go is because we still haven't found someone that we can trust completely with our 14 dogs, but we're working on it.

                          Hubby is not one to travel, he prefers to stay put, so that's kind of a problem, too. He always takes care of dogs when I go to shows, which unfortunately are few and far between now. Sometimes I think we probably should take some time off, but then both of us (we've talked about this) feel guilty if we take any extra time off. I truly don't think we would enjoy it.

                          I'm just grasping for logical answers to people that think we're critical of them because they take vacations. That's their choice and their life style, to each his own. Hey, if people didn't take vacations we wouldn't have a job!! We're not asking for sympathy because we work hard!! Guess I'm completely clueless on this...


                          • #14

                            I believe the reason we started our pet lodge is so we can close any darn time we want.
                            Ofcourse its only vagas 2 times a year instead of 4 but im very selfish..
                            Yea we go during slow times Feb-march.If its going to be a week or longer we post it and tell our real regs well be closing and we have not had one complaint.But i am the type of person that can NOT work all the time Id drive my ADD self Nuts.well i do anywho so Oh Yea hey look at that shinny thing>>>Oh yea we do have a family member stay at the house just incase we couldnt say no and to answer the phone,we taughter her the very very basics (feed potty run)oh yea take money.ya know the real important stuff,and the rest well wing it Ill deal with it if--oops when we get back..I only want the dog taken very good care of the rest well what do ya do.I like to take off if only a couple booked ....
                            so i make it as easy as i can .. and i dont want to scare her away.hehe besides my poodles could not possibly go to a KENNEL after all thay all have their own twin size beds and i havent found a place that offers that kind of comfort,,go figure,,,,,,

                            One day i woke up and really realized just how precious and short life
                            is I can only hope i live to my 70's no one has lived past 55 in my family
                            Take time for yourselves and enjoy eachother NOW theres not
                            always a wishes.... sorry for all that rambling on&on&on
                            Ill blame it on ADD Heheooooopretttty,


                            • #15
                              oh i forgot the question

                              Tell them you are on vacation,,,I always say this is my retirement hobbie.