GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- Summertime means vacation, weekend travel and road trips for many families, but when you leave home, what happens to man's best friend?
A Denver dog owner is warning others after his beloved Shih Tzu died in the hands of a doggie daycare. It's every pet owner's worst nightmare, but experts say you can take the necessary steps to make sure your pet is safe when you're away, especially during the warmer months when many are traveling.
Traveling with your other children can be difficult, but for dog mother Diane Lyons, taking her pooches on the road is a no brainer.
"They've got a diaper bag -- it's a backpack, but it's got biscuits and stuff in it," she said about traveling with her two dogs. "You don't think about, 'Oh, is she going to overfeed them? Is she going to take them for a walk, or if they're actually going to get out?'"
Whether it's across the state or on the other side of the world, pet parents have different options when it comes to leaving their furry friends behind.
"Pet sitters, friends or families or professionals run into situations that were unplanned for," Mesa County Animal Services director Penny McCarty said.
Mesa County Animal Services has seen dogs run free countless times while under the watch of a petsitter. It encourages owners to leave a contact list with important numbers and to check in frequently, just as you would when leaving a child with a babysitter.
"[You should have a number] for the veterinarian, for us, leave their license, their rabies vaccination number," McCarty said.
Others looking to take longer vacations may turn to a kennel instead.
"We’ve kept them for a month or two while they're gone. Most of the time it's a week or two max," Pet Particulars owner Jamie Jacobs said of her kennel.
Every kennel across the state is monitored yearly by the department of agriculture. Experts say doing your homework on these places before dropping a pet off may put your family at ease, and ensure your pet's safety and well-being.
"They come by yearly; we have to pay licensing fees for boarding and grooming," Jacobs said. "When you meet someone you know, you can tell if they're an animal lover or not."
Whether a 15-hour drive or three hour flight, ultimately there are some pets that will go for the ride. For those left behind, they'll be waiting for you to return.
"They’re with you and they're happy to be with you because you love them and they love you," Lyons said.
There are different requirements for dogs dropped off at kennels. State law says pets must have up-to-date rabies, distemper and bordetella vaccinations.