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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Vacation? Tips for the Pet Owners

"Vacation? Are you crazy? What about the bunnies? What about the cats and dogs? What about the degu? Have you even thought of the chinchillas, the rats and the turtle?"

It's that time of year again! Oh yes, Spring Fever has HIT! Tim & I will be winging our way to Colorado for our anniversary trip. But how does a pet owner really go on vacation? We usually sneak by with a day or so out of the house, if we're lucky.

Here's how we're doing it!

Tim's sister Stephanie is coming up from Western Carolina University. She'll spend 3 fun filled nights here, taking care of the creatures. On the 4th day, she and the two female dogs are heading up to Mitchell County to live with my in laws. The boys are going home with a local friend.

The local friend, Deb, will be coming out every day to feed the rabbits and other animals, as well as give nestboxes. This is the unfortunate part, the day we get back I have 5-6 does due, all of whom I forgot to palpate, so we'll see how that goes lol.

Tips for helping things go smoothly with pet sitters!

1.) Divide and Conquer
We have a huge menagerie. Huge! I accept that. So we're splitting them up and we split the vacation time up, so no one person has to care for them the entire time we're gone, making it a less pain in the butt task.

2.) Write a list!
I have a list of the animals (excluding the rabbits) on what to feed, how much to feed, etc. The list is on the fridge and their food is in front of the cage!

3.) Clean up!
The litterboxes are being cleaned, cages are being dumped- no cleaning required on the part of the caretakers, which cuts down on their work and time spent here!

4.) Don't be picky.
I know you like that one special rabbit to get those lovingly hand counted oats in their food. If you have 1 animal, that works great. When you have enough for an Ark, it's crazy to ask someone to do that! My instructions for the rabbits look like this:

"Big ones get 1 full measuring cup, Small ones get 1 half measuring cup. Ones with babies get full bowls". That's it! No "Latte gets this, Morning Mist gets that, Future likes Burger King, Joe wants Taco Bell." Nope, they get two choices, end of story.

Notice they are divided in to "big ones" and "little ones"? That way they don't have to distinguish between mini lop and holland, show doe and brood, etc.

5.) Get supplies together!
I already mentioned the animals have food in front of their cages (in the house). The cats are having their bowls moved to the living room so they can be included in the rotation and not easily forgotten.

Everyone has enough food to last them until we get home, and we're stockpiling rabbit food as well. There should be no cause for Deb or Stephanie to have to scrabble for food for anyone.

Nestboxes will be assigned before I leave, and left sitting on top of the cage or in front of it. Notecards will note when the doe should get her box, and I am showing them what "stuffed full of hay" means. Don't leave anything to chance!

6.) Share tricks of the trade!

Tim & I recently decided to use the hose pipe directly to water. This is achieved with a 96 cents Walmart funnel and a little bit of skill lol. Don't be stingy, share that tip! It saves walking back and forth to fill up jugs! Same with my feed tin, I have a small bucket I carry with me full of feed. Why make her scoop out half a cup, feed the rabbit on the end of the row, then come back to the bag and try again?

7.) Leave contact numbers!

Don't scare the pet sitters in to not calling you! Yes, my preference is not to be bothered with stupid questions like "It's out of water, should I give it more?" Then again, someone that would ask that question shouldn't be in charge of your animals! If an emergency comes up and they need you, let them call! Everyone knows the numbers to the vets as well, and Stephanie has Deb's information as her local contact person, should she need anything.

8.) Don't forget the keys!

We'd look like fools if we ran off to the airport and found out as we touch down in Denver "Uh, I can't get in to the rabbitry, you didn't leave a key!" If you have a spare, make sure they know where it is, even if you have to move it from the usual place. If you don't have a spare, get one made!

It's a lot of work, making sure it's not a lot of work for the folks taking care of the animals. But without them, there would only be 2 options- don't have animals (unthinkable) or don't go on vacation (noooooooo).

So I think the extra effort is worth it :).

Keep's Rabbitry


Susie said...

I'm CRACKING up on the burger king and taco bell part. haha, good thing everyones asleep and don't think I'm crazy laughing at the computer. LOL.

Too great... :P

Tru-Luv Rabbitry said...

thanks for the great tips. i've got quite a few pets here and my wife is a little disappointed when we can't plan for holidays thinking of them.

we usually have 1 day trips leaving late afternoons and coming back early next day to feed the furkids.

I am sure we could use some of your tips to go on a vacation.

Robert said...

I just love my pet & would like to enjoy his company on my holiday trip also.