I know it is difficult to go on vacation when you are a responsible and "soft" dog owner.
What I realized was the priority to me was safety of my dogs. I WANTED to believe they would be loved, cuddled and not feel abandoned when I went on a week long trip, but those were my emotions.
Now, remember, I have my son and DIL living in an apt. attached to my home, so wouldn't it seem logical that they could take care of the dogs? Not so much....
Here are some things I have learned:
1) Environmental safety of my dogs is important.
I chose a kennel where the kennels are inside/outside private spaces, 24 hrs w/doggie door. They are up to fire codes with sprinklers. They have shaded overhangs. Climate controlled inside. Kennels are double fenced, so no touching of noses with the dog next to them. There are secure, tall fences everywhere.
2) I trust the owners, who also live on premise.
Don Sterling trained NY police dogs. Only a few of his staff (including his wife) handle the dogs when arriving and leaving. This was important with Lenny, who was biting when I first got him. And Truman can be VERY intimidating with his "Rottie talking/growling" and size.
3) Older dogs DO WELL in kennels.
Bearman, was 10 when he started going to the kennel. Lenny was 11. Harleybird is now 10.5. A few kennels would not take an older dog. Quail Run Kennel had no problems with it.4) Dogs live in the moment and don't realize you are gone "10 days".
The first time I picked Harley up, (and remember, he is attached to my hip), I got on my knees to greet him and he walked right past me.
5) As for Oscar possibly being snarky with others, remember when Lenny went in? I told Don that he is a biter and he said he would be the only one to handle him. When I got back he said he needed to talk to me. Now, he is not a "cuddly guy"...this is his BUSINESS and he doesn't "love" all the guests. That is when he told me that he has never met a dog with a bigger heart. I still cry when I remember that. Good kennel people handle all dogs well.
6) My kennel is very aware of Harley's stomach problems. I cancelled last years vacation (which meant 4 dogs for them) because he was going through a horrible spell. This year, I explained his condition, the meds they will give him, and what to expect symptom wise. They gave ME the confidence that everything will be fine while he is there for a week.