My Day as a Kennel Attendant
I’m a Kennel Attendant (aka professional cat and dog lover). You trust your pet to my care for boarding but what does my day with your dog or cat look like? Here’s a typical day in the life of a kennel attendant.
My alarm goes off far before the break of dawn so I can be there for your dogs before they wake up. I get to work when most people are just starting their days. As soon as I turn on the lights, the kennel comes to life! “GOOD MORNING, WE MISSED YOU, WHAT’S FOR BREAKFAST?, LET’S GO-FOR-A-WALK,”–a cacophony of barking voices say to me.
I prepare fresh blankets and clean water to change out bedding and dishes from the night before, as my team works to get every dog out for a walk as quickly as possible. We start in the geriatric ward where our oldest, most honored pups get their own space separated from the rest of the kennel. Each dog is handwalked individually (or with their housemate if they prefer). On a busy morning, you will hear staff shout, “Nobody walk Jake (or their fur buddy’s name). I missed him! I call walking him!” The dogs have their favorite staff, too. You can tell by the way they wiggle and bounce and turn circles when their best special someone walks by.
After walking comes breakfast. The kennel is very loud again as our dogs excitedly wait for me and the other kennel attendants to deliver their food. We custom prepare each dish with love, taking into account special diets, refrigerated foods, and home cooked meals. Some dogs get a special cookie if you allow it. We then feed our cat guests and allow them time out of their condos to climb the cat trees and sit in the window to birdwatch. Some even let me pet them for a relatively quiet moment in my day.
On the Go
Following breakfast, it’s showtime! Each dog has individual activities, just like summer camp, with a schedule for us to manage and follow:
We get most of the dogs off to play in their playgroups on our acre of turf play yards. Dogs are placed in groups based on size, play style, age, and temperament. We have to get to know our dogs very well to appropriately choose groups for play. The daycare and kennel staff know which dogs prefer to be together, and which should be separated. They know which dogs should be in each attendant’s yard, and which pets need extra breaks. We let the dogs play for an appropriate amount of time for that day’s weather, then bring them in for a rest break.
During the day, I may take some of the dogs to our grooming department for baths. They have their hair cut and styled to go home looking and feeling fresh. For baths, I follow a systematic process that includes protecting the pet’s eyes from soap, expressing the anal glands, and lathering, rinsing, repeating, and conditioning. I’ve learned which shampoos and conditioners and grooming supplies are best suited for every type of coat.
I may take other boarders to work with our trainers to learn new things or refresh old skills. We offer customized training programs so that you pick up a better-trained dog. Our programs are tailored to each dog’s needs. This kind of training also helps to engage their brains so they can sleep better away from home.
The Best Part of the Day
My favorite job is playing with the dogs who are signed up for individual, one-on-one playtimes. Depending on what each dog likes, we find a place that we want to hang out inside or out. Some dogs just want to sit in my lap while I pet them or brush their hair. Others like massages, especially on their neck and back. Younger and more rambunctious dogs like to play fetch or play with the many toys we have to keep them busy and happy. Personal playtime is a great way to bond with and comfort dogs when they’re away from home–the extra TLC makes each of us feel good.
My day also includes serving lunch, as well as dinner and bedtime treats. I send video emails to parents who have requested one. During the day, there are more walks, more play, and more rest. In between, I do LOTS of cleaning and maintenance! I know that the cleaner our facility is, the healthier and happier everyone is–including you. Finally, it’s time for me to go home and rest up for another day of being paid to play with pets at Union Lake Pet Services!