TheLabrador Maja and her canine friend Emma frolic in the meadow. Like nearly a dozen other four-legged friends, the two have moved into a log cabin at the Hundelandhotel in Schluechtern and spend time there until the owners return. Twice a day eating, sleeping, playing in small groups and going for long walks with the staff are all part of the animals’ daily life here – both on a daily basis and for a longer period of time. Right now, ahead of the holiday season, inquiries about animal pensions are piling up, operators Frank Kern and Patrick Winkler report.
The Hundelandhotel still has free summer weeks capacity at the facility, where a total of 28 animals can find a temporary home. The animals are housed here individually or – if they come from the same house – in pairs in log cabins with exercise areas. The fodder is brought by the master or the mistress, and your own basket is allowed in the hut to make it easier for the animals to get used to it.
Only this spring Kern and Winkler took over the kennel from their ancestors and reopened it. As an extension, an adjoining property should be added, which Kern wants to equip, among other things, with a doggie bath. The magnitude of the need can also be seen from the reactions of their predecessors to the closing of the company in the meantime. This was a huge problem because people were so desperately looking for places for their dogs, Kern says. The large gathering area with inquiries from Fulda to the Rhine-Main region also shows that customers are willing to travel long distances knowing that their animals are in good hands.
More pet owners after Corona, lower pensions
This also has to do with the epidemic. Many people have had dogs in the past two years, and only a few have worked in the office or travelled, says Danny Muller of the Hesse State Animal Welfare Association, which itself runs an animal home. As a result, some companies lost their businesses, and many had to give up. Now it’s the other way around — and there’s a lot of demand from far fewer providers, Mueller says. This year, for the first time in eleven years of the existence of her institution, she herself had to announce a ban on new customers and for a long time could not offer any free places for summer holidays – this is by no means accepting every potential client in a friendly way. “You have to hear insults sometimes.”
New dog owners in particular should be aware that they should start looking for housing early – and not just when vacation is already booked and imminent. Many animal shelters are recording increased numbers of donations at this time of year, even if the trend is currently tilting toward a slight downward trend. However, it remains to be seen how the numbers will actually develop this summer.
Meanwhile, the dog boarding facility at Frankfurt Airport has long been fully booked. As a special service, the team takes the animals directly from the owners at the respective departure lounge at the airport and returns them there when their mistress or master lands again. Principal Florian Vogel also sees a growing need for animal care options, which are also attracting new providers to the market. However, love of animals alone is not enough for the job; A combination of “heart, soul and qualifications” is necessary, says Vogel. This is only necessary because dogs are becoming more and more difficult. Many people are no longer properly aware of the needs of their animals, and do not devote much time to them or dedicate much to them.
The problems can then also be felt in the animal houses. However, Vogel and his six staff do not pre-select their limits. Even dogs who are not socially compatible or completely incompatible with society will find a place here – if the person is still free. However, not every owner accepts the refusal right away – and then some somehow try to accommodate their four-legged friends with phrases such as “I will pay double or triple” or “He is just a very cute little dog”.
House and zoo
Villa Hundebunt in Kassel is much quieter. Raimund Stellpflug looks after four of his own dogs as well as eight client dogs at a suburban pet hosting facility. Animals live with him in the house and garden, and there are no houses. Stellpflug can hardly save himself from inquiries at the moment, since all places for summer vacation have already been filled. He not only receives his four-legged guests during vacation times, but also takes care of them during the day when their owners do not have time for animals. “It’s like a kindergarten here” – including long walks in the woods.
Stellpflug says he inherited his love of dogs from his parents, who also sampled problematic animal care. The slightly more anxious dogs are also allowed to come to his pet house, which sometimes suddenly melts away in his care. An overly dominant male, which could be a danger to other four-legged or two-legged guests, says Stellpflug, had to refuse. Precisely because dogs can move freely in the house and garden, animals must live well together.