Service Review: Ocean Sands K-9 Resort

Dexter awaiting puzzle-time
I have never boarded a dog in my life.  As mentioned previously, our new addition, Dexter, was just too much of a handful to leave behind with my 3 more aged dogs and my son who was busy with both work and school.  Because Dexter was a foundling (e.g.  he was dumped and we found him with bloodied paws from running on the road after whomever dumped him), and because I had been working so hard with him (to cure him of the behaviors that likely led to his being dumped--but behaviors that his owners allowed to develop), I did not want one week away to undo all the good work that we've accomplished in these past two months.  Therefore, I resolved to find a place down in Nags Head area to board him.  Dexter is 9 months old.

I let my fingers do the Googling, and I found Ocean Sands K-9 Resort.  Pam Warner, owner, made me immediately feel at ease about her facility and the care that Dexter would receive.  The pricing was reasonable, and from our one-on-one conversation I knew that Dexter would be in a place where he would be happy and comfortable, and we would feel assured of his wellbeing.

Upon arriving at the facility, Dexter was greeted by name by Pam and her husband, Paul.  Dexter responded to this personal welcome by giving kisses to both of them (ignoring Mark and I).    We were escorted back to Dexter's kennel by Allen.  He has 4 pitbulls.  Bless him.  One's enough for us. The facility was cleaner than my house.

As we walked down the center aisle, there were kennels on either side.  Shepherd, Irish Setter, Corgie, Boston Terrier, Otterhound, Sheltie....were among a few of the boarders.  They were all eager to be heard, though prior to seeing us it was very quiet inside. They were all in clean kennels, and they looked relaxed and happy.  That was a good sign.

Dexter's kennel was was beside the Otterhound.  We put his bedding down, one of Mark's worn shirts (that could be dispensed with if it were shredded by the end of the week), and said our goodbyes. At the desk I asked, "Have you ever had to call the owners of a dog and say that you were unable to keep a dog due to their behavior."  Pam proceeded to tell me a story which gave me comfort that there was nothing that Dexter could do that would cause them to call me and say, "Pick him up now!"  Phew!

At Ocean Sands, during office hours, your pup can be taken in and out for as long as you like, as often as you like. You can also pay an up-charge for outside of normal business hours needs. Parents of pups are welcome to see the entire operation.  Nothing to hide here.  All transparent.  This place was as quiet as a cave--until one walks down the center aisle!  [I truly expected a yappy, barky place because my vet's office always sounds that way, and I have no experience otherwise.] But once back through the door to the front...quiet.  I feared that Dexter was going to be a serial disturber of the peace.  As it turned out, he was not.

The next day (and each day thereafter) we went to go get Dexter. We were given a placard to take back to put on his kennel to let balance of the staff know that he was out on a field trip.  We spied Dexter before he spied us.  While the dogs who saw us first welcomed us, we found Dexter sitting quietly and contentedly on his bed.    Once he spied us, of course he was happy to see us.  However, on the way out the door, he stopped to give Pam kisses, and anyone else along the way.  He is a love-bug.

Each time we returned to the facility, Dexter was eager to go up the ramp to see Pam and company.  He was not eager the second day to go back in his kennel, as by that time he figured out that we would be leaving him.  Nevertheless, a few liver treats tossed in changed his mind quickly.  He did not make much of a racket when we left.  That speaks volumes to his level of comfort--physically and mentally.

Dexter destroying puzzle to get treats.
If you are thinking about going to the Nags Head area and typically board your pup at home, please consider this wonderful facility and the caring owners and staff as an option so long as your pet travels well. Plus, there are lots of great places to take your pup at Nags Head.  We visited the Wright Memorial, Jockey's Ridge State Park as well as the oceanside where we were staying.  I used my 50ft lead in tandem with my 6 ft lead.  Because we were at the end of September, the beach was sparsely used.  But there were many opportunities to go past other pups and people to solidify manners. Naturally we ratcheted Dexter in to a short radius when proximate to other 2 legged and 4 legged beach goers.  We used our visits to further Dexter's training; specifically to
  1. give him exposure to other dogs and people
  2. give him the opportunity to learn that our leaving him also meant returning to him--trust building.
I will definitely take Dexter back next year.  Since we have been back home (all of a day!), we can see an improvement in Dexter's overall development.  Also, feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions (see my profile).  I cannot recommend this facility highly enough.

Special note:  I did not receive any considerations for this post other than the excellent service that I was promised for my boarding dollars!


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