Doggy Daycare

I have been debating whether or not, and then how, to go about writing this post for a few weeks now. I want to express a special thanks to my friend Juliana at Peace, Love and Fostering for her encouragement on the subject.

Some of you long-time readers may be aware that a big part of the reason I decided to quit my job last fall was to begin fostering. I wanted to take on a dog that perhaps wasn’t a huge challenge, but who would have some special behavioral and training needs that might require more time and attention than the average foster. Now that Georgia has become an amazingly confident and secure member of our family, I have found myself to be a bit bored without a career and unfulfilled without clear goals.

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A key challenge in the job search, is our location. I graduated from Penn State University in 2011 with a degree in Animal Sciences, and was very proud to complete this in only three years. My plan was to pursue a career in pharmaceutical sales for animal products. I was blessed with a few appealing job offers in various locations throughout the country, but life had other plans for me… I met Jonathan, who would be moving back home to the Pittsburgh, PA area to work for his family’s business. This location has proven to severely limit my career search. We are just far enough outside of the city that for me to commute that distance would require a fairly high salary, in order to justify the time spent away from our home, the fuel, and the wear and tear on my vehicle, to name a few.

While it has become clear that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to find an actual career in this area in the animal industry, I made the decision to at least find a job that could keep me busy and allow me to be around animals. With my extensive management experience, I began looking for a job managing a doggy-daycare facility. Unfortunately, in this job climate, eve management jobs proved to be difficult to find. However, many places offered the opportunity for advancement, and so I decided to interview for an entry-level position at a well-known doggy-daycare chain. While I had anticipated my interview here with excitement, I was so upset and disappointed with my experiences that I felt the need to share those events with all of you, in an honest way.

When I first entered their facility, I was greeted by a reception area that was visually pleasing and welcoming. It was beautifully decorated and appointed, and conveyed a sense of the rugged outdoors with a log cabin design.  Soft, natural lighting, large windows, bright photos, and cheerful music brought a ‘homey’ feel to the space. With large screen televisions and marketing posters, it was clear that no expenses were spared in the design of this area. As I waited for the employee who would be conducting my interview, I watched owners bring in their dogs, and got to interact with a few of them. I felt extremely confident that this was the type of job I was meant to have! What dog lover wouldn’t love coming to work in an environment like this??

Fast forward to my tour of the rest of the facility. As I crossed from the reception area into the back of the building, I was greeted by dogs barking at such a loud volume, that the employee conducting the tour had to yell to be heard. The ceilings were quite high, and this area was dimly lit by fluorescent bulbs. It gave a dark, dingy feel to the environment. The dogs (up to 100 at any given time) were housed in metal cages, with one of those PVC/nylon beds that sat up off of the floor, and a blanket or two. The walls were a thick concrete, and very little natural light came into this half of the building.

Once our tour of the kennels was complete, the manager began to discuss with me their philosophies. I was barely able to veil my cringing when she dropped words like; “Ceasar,” “dominance,” and “discipline”. While I became quickly aware that their philosophies were so obviously not in line with my own, I was still prepared to give them a chance. Perhaps when I got out to the play yard, what I saw would be different than the words she conveyed. She then went on to explain that dogs were separated by size (not play style or age) into designated play areas, and that each play yard would hold up to 75 dogs at a time. While they preferred two employees to supervise at this number, they only required one. For the record, each play yard had an indoor and an outdoor area, each of which was only visible from that location. This meant that if the supervisor was indoors, they could not see the dogs that had chosen to go to the outdoor space, and vice versa. Each supervisor was required to carry a squirt bottle full of water, which was used to ‘discipline’ the dogs. She claimed that the water bottles were never to be squirted more than 3 times in an hour, and were used to break up fights, discourage rough play, and quell ‘dominant’ behavior. Ugh. Although one of the ‘claims to fame’ on their website, is that they don’t charge you for play time like most boarding kennels, she also made it clear that we were not to play with the dogs, pet them, or give them any attention, as this could lead to fights. Conversely, she told me to be sure to treat all of the dogs like I would my own…

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It was now time for me to go out into the play yard, where approximately 50 dogs were congregating. I was told to make a lap around the perimeter of the play area, in order to ‘establish dominance’. Of course, this made little sense to me, but as I was being evaluated, I did as I was told. I then watched in frustration as the ‘Assistant Manger’ (second in command for the whole facility) sprayed the dogs in the face so many times within an hour that I lost count, for transgressions that ran the gammet from barking to bumping into her to nipping to humping. Of course, with that many dogs in the space, even this aggressive form of punishment was used ineffectively, as she was rarely able to correct the dogs while they were in the act, and would then spray them in punishment after they had already stopped. As I spoke with her, she told me that she had only been working there for 6 months, and had already been promoted to this position. In addition, she had never had or been given any training in animal behavior, aside from the same diatribe I’d heard during the aforementioned interview with the manager.

In all (3) of the play yards I entered, I gently pointed out that there was no fresh water, as the bowls were empty, and so it was then filled by the assistant manager. Wouldn’t something such as competition for meager necessities contribute to fighting? Furthermore, in the same play yards I saw dogs that were seniors, arthritic and hard of hearing, being jostled around by juvenile great danes and lab mixes who were tumbling and wrestling.

I will say that the majority (though certainly not all) of the dogs I saw, seemed reasonably content. Some even seemed to enjoy the chaos, in a frantic sort of way. But the most traumatizing to me throughout my experiences that day, was yet to come.

According to corporate policy, for a dog to be admitted to the doggy day care program at this facility, they must go through an ‘interview’ process. I imagined this to be something similar to the behavior evaluations we hear about in shelters across the country. This particular facility even had a whole room designated for such a purpose! Their website claims that before new dogs enter the play yard, they are introduced to two congenial dogs one-on-one. However, the manager at this particular location told me that they found this to be too ‘time-consuming’ and a ‘waste of time’ and so they just didn’t do it. At all.

I watched as a dog who was there for his first day, whose owner had been told that he would receive an ‘interview,’ was introduced. And by introduced, I mean he was propelled into an environment that even our Wonderdog Tonka would probably not have been physically able to handle well. This dog was a male german shepherd, probably right around one year old. He was brought up to the gate of the largest and most crowded play area, on a leash. I then watched as one worker physically pulled him into the play area from the end of the leash, while the leash/collar combo tightened in a noose around his neck. Another worker was literally pushing him from behind, to the point that his haunches were up underneath him. The employees regarded this situation without concern, as if it were a daily occurrence… forcing a dog into an uncomfortable situation was obviously not out of the norm.

This dog very clearly wanted nothing to do with the play area… why, you might ask? Perhaps it had something to do with the 40+ dogs swarming around his face, biting and barking and displaying all manner of inappropriate and overbearing greeting behavior. As this poor dog was physically forced into an uncomfortable and intimidating environment, no attempt was made to reassure him, or even to encourage the other dogs to back off of the new visitor. It was almost as if these people had no ideas about body language or dog behavior… oh wait. Maybe it’s because they don’t. They had no training in dog behavior or body language, and had been instructed this way by their own supervisors.

To me, it is only a matter of time, if repeatedly exposed to uncomfortable situations such as this, before this dog becomes reactive and aggressive towards other dogs. And I can’t say that I would blame him in the slightest. But you can bet that some of the employees probably would… and who knows what forms of correction punishment they would consider reasonable. Who knows if his breed would get brought into the equation should something happen that was altogether preventable…

As though the issues with the facility, philosophies, and protocol itself were not enough, the way they treated their employees is not conducive to a pleasant working environment. And you can bet that dissatisfied employees are going to be more likely to take their frustrations out on the dogs, or at the very least, not fulfill their job requirements thoroughly. As an interviewer, I was kept there for 3 hours without pay. I was required to scrub kennels with a toothbrush and cold water while being ‘supervised’ by yet another assistant manager who was clearly barely out of high school, as she gossiped with another employee. I was told that call-offs for any reason could result in termination, unless accompanied by not a Doctor’s excuse, but an emergency room excuse. Being even three minutes late would earn a demerit, regardless of the circumstances, three of which would result in termination. All employees were required to work nights, mornings, weekends, and holidays, and it was made clear to me that requests for time off were not guaranteed. Scheduling was never consistent, and so it was not likely that you could rely on a regular weekly schedule, nor guaranteed that any employee would hit a set minimum of hours. On top of all of this, there were no benefits offered to employees, and the rate of pay was between $8 and $9 per hour. Yes, it was the same for someone with a GED and dog experience limited to pet ownership, as it was for someone with a college diploma and advanced dog handling and training experience. The bottom line is, I worry about the quality of the employees that would accept a position in such an environment.

They were surprised when I turned down the job offer (of course I cited the commute, and not all of these reasons I have shared here) but hopefully all of you readers are not.

I do not know exactly why I am choosing to share this story with you. It certainly is not to garner sympathy for my job search. While I would love to get a job that will enable me to feel like a more productive member of my family, and of society as a whole, I am lucky to be married to a man that works incredibly hard to provide for us and supports me in all of my dreams and goals… even when they are less than profitable. It is not to bash a specific chain of doggy-daycares, either. If it were, I would have shared their name, which I will not be doing. I guess what I hope we all can learn from this, is that we need to be cautious when we entrust the care of our animals to others. I can only imagine that the owners of the dogs I supervised have no idea what they are putting their animals through. So often, dog owners misunderstand their animals; a wagging tail doesn’t always mean a happy dog, and neither does boisterous barking or panting. To me, it is the job of places such as this to be the voice for the dogs, and aid in the communication between pet and owner.

If you are a frequenter of a doggy daycare or dog park, please be sure you are not confusing your dog’s body language as excitement, when in fact it is nervous energy. At the same time, I spent a few hours at another, independently owned, doggy daycare in the same week, and my experience there was vastly different. So I want to know; have our readers had better experiences in dog parks and doggy day cares? Have you had some that are worse? I want to hear about it!

Throughout college, Tonka was a frequenter of dog parks like this one

Throughout college, Tonka was a frequenter of dog parks like this one

40 thoughts on “Doggy Daycare

  1. Wow….Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I wish I could say I’m surprised by what you found, unfortunately I’m not. We used to frequent a national doggy day care chain too (I have a sneaking suspicion it’s the same one you visited), however after several “incidents” we’ve chosen not to return. There were several times that I picked the boys up and was told that they had gotten into altercations and one time even bit a staff member – however their stories just didn’t sound right to me. I did some of my own research and spoke to people who had worked in such facilites, and their stories match yours – their staff had no animal behavior training whatsoever. Looking back, I can’t believe I ever PAID to put my dogs in such a stressful situation. I still have probably about 10 days left on a package I bought there that I won’t be usuing.

  2. So, I am sure I know what chain you are talking about when you reference the ‘outdoorsy” look of the lobby. We take Nola to that exact chain day care here in Maine. However, our experience has been VASTLY different than what you cite in your post. We know the owners personally, and have only developed a relationship with them because we haven been taking Nola there for years. They take an interest in Nola and ask us all the time about our fosters, how they are doing, how Nola likes them, etc. All the counselors know her by name, and the dogs are put in playgroups based on play style. I know this because Nola should really be in with the ‘bigger’ dogs, but she gets intimated so she is in with the medium sized dogs. She feels so comfortable in her yard that many times she sleeps on her back while the other dogs play around her. Also, we brought our foster Laynie there, and she is smaller than Nola, but has a LARGE personalty, so she was put with a ‘rougher’ play group. I have seen the counselors play with the dogs, interact with them, and love on them. Nola is so excited when she goes there that she gives them all kisses and butt wiggles. They scream with excitement “Nola!” every time we walk through the door. They even go as far as to tell me when her poop isn’t solid or when she threw up or was coughing. They also have a trainer on staff that works with the dogs and walks through the yards. I have never seen 75 or even 40 dogs in one yard, the groups are much smaller than that.

    I also like that they take in fosters, free of charge, for rescues that are over crowded. The counselors take them home and on adventures and it’s a great environment for these dogs, who would otherwise be in high kill shelters in the south.

    I apologize if I am dragging on, or sound defensive, but I just wanted to point out that just because this daycare might be a chain, doesn’t mean your experiences apply to every location. I think it is important for people to feel comfortable with where they bring their dog, and to do the research necessarily to be informed. I know you weren’t writing this to bash the daycare, and I appreciate you making people aware of what they should look for, but we LOVE daycare and feel like it is a great place for Nola.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your experiences! Perhaps I wasn’t thorough enough in pointing out that these chains are each owned by individual franchise owners, so while they strive to be consistent, I am sure they are often managed very differently. My main goal was just to point at that we should all be conscientious when entrusting ANYONE with our pups! I am so glad Nola has a great place to go and enjoy herself when her family is busy. I was at a different doggy day care today, and the dogs at this facility seemed so much happier than if they were home alone, locked in a crate for 8+ hours per day. Thanks again for sharing 🙂

      • I totally didn’t mean to be defensive, and I am horrified at what you experienced. I would never let Nola go somewhere that was run like that! Good luck in your job hunt! (P.S. Owning a doggy daycare is one of my secret life goals. Wanna start one together? 🙂 )

      • YES! Let’s do it! 🙂 It would be the best place ever. EVERYONE would want to go there. haha And don’t worry at all, I am glad you shared a positive experience! I want things to always be honest & balanced, and I am certainly happy that Nola has such a great place to visit.

  3. Career searching is hard, and don’t give up! I went through 2 before find the perfect choice! where I have been for 5+ years now! I can totally relate in how you want to work even when you don’t have to..as chris has mentioned that he doesn’t want me to work. but i arguement to that is, I love my job, and i am not still paying off school loans to stay at home! Not to mention, I would go absolutely nuts staying at home all day, and probably would not get off the couch, and only cuddle with my pups all day long!! Plus I would feel like I wasn’t doing my part as a wife by not working…ANYWAY….your discouragement with this facility is completely understandable from the sounds of it. Unfortunately, not everyone views things the same way! And this is something that I have struggled with in the past with the health care profession also.. Most people out there…just don’t care and apparently have no feelings!!! It boggles my mind!!!!
    I would help you run a doggy day care any day….if i could do it along with my full-time job!!! 🙂 lol
    It takes 1 good person with goals and ambition to change this world 1 dog at a time 😉 lol

  4. Ugg, I think I may have worked at the same “camp” as you for a few weeks. It was a really horrid experience. But please don’t give up! I’m currently in a dog-training internship at a really progressive center and I’m inspired by all that’s happening in the field.

  5. Gasp! How horrific! I don’t even know where to begin, but to say I agree with you is an understatement. I do take Mags to a daycare chain but I love them. Play groups there are typically 5-10 dogs depending on the dogs and their needs. They group them by play styles first and foremost, then size and age and things like that. And there is an employee playing right there with the dogs the whole time. And they take dogs, like Mags, who need a little extra attention out for individual play times too. These are just a few of the reasons why I love them. I am just appalled by what you described. How are they even in business?!

    I feel you pain on the job hunting too. I’ll be in the exact same boat in about a month. Fortunately Rich, like Jonathan, is wonderful and will support us until I can find something that is fulfilling too. Phew, good luck in your search!

    • I am so glad that Maggie has a good place to go when you are working or otherwise busy. I visited a different company’s doggy daycare today, and the experience there couldn’t have been more different!
      PS- Maybe we should just open up our own business together?! I mean, a commute from Pittsburgh to FL is nothing 😉

  6. Oh my gosh, what a horrible environment, thank you for sharing your experience, I know my dogs wouldn’t do well in a place like that. Boomer is friendly to everyone and even he would get nervous and Dottie would completely freak out since she’s already a bit shy and nervous. I have only put them in daycare a few times and it’s been at the vet’s office. Boomer has loved it but Dottie always comes home a bit freaked out and clingy, so we look for other solutions when we need to give them time away from home.

    I’m also in the market for a job, my experience is in the veterinary industry. I went on an interview that took 2 hours one morning and I walked away really upset and feeling like I had to take a shower because the people were awful. Money was their number one concern, not the health of the pet and that to me is completely unacceptable. So needless to say I’m still unemployed!

    • Emily, I had the exact same issue when I was managing an equine veterinary practice. It is one of the main reasons I left! Good luck with your search. It sounds like you are like me in that we would rather stick to our morals than work somewhere that doesn’t put the pets and their owners first.
      As far as daycares go, I know I can be a little bit picky when it comes to finding people or business that I will trust with my pets. However, I just want to make sure all of our readers and blogging friends are make conscientious decisions for their pups… as I’m confident they will!

  7. I may be the only one “happy” about your continued career search as we are able to have you care for our girls! I’m mostly joking… but still, we love you. And I loved this post. Maybe your own proper doggy boarding school is in your future? Just picture it, “The S.S. Pet Resort” lol. If only more people cared as much as you!

    • Jonathan tells me this every day! And rest assured, anytime I’ve been offered a less than ideal job opportunity, the girls are one of the first things on my mind! No joke. Why would I go to a job where I’m not sure I’d be happy, when I’ve already found one that makes me SO happy?? 🙂 I feel so lucky to know your family and watch them grow ❤

  8. You actually graduated with my brother-in-law! Sadly, if we wanted to return to PA, most of our job opportunities would require commuting to Baltimore – we’ve both done that before and it’s miserable. Not that my job opportunities have been decent since I followed my husband when he went to grad school.

    I’ve never lived near many doggie daycares, but my family has kenneled a dog once in my lifetime. Our dog came home with ringworm and we’ve heard enough other horror stories that they haven’t boarded again. A friend requested extra walks for her dog, and her sister told them that her dog needed to be next to my friend’s to minimize anxiety. Neither request was fulfilled despite paying extra and the sister’s dog wasn’t doing well when she called to check on him. We vacation with our dogs whenever possible, although my husband’s family can’t understand why we don’t “just board” our dog and fosters so we can “just fly home” whenever they decide we need to visit. I know there are decent kennels out there but there aren’t a ton I trust. The place Edwin starts training soon has daycare/boarding and apparently also offers training for those clients. We take Gambit to the dog park, but I am picky about when we go.

    • Who is your brother in law?! What a small world! And those husbands… always messing things up for us 😉 haha

      I can definitely relate to your experiences with boarding. We are lucky enough to have a few friends whom we trust to watch our dogs in our home when we are away, and that is pretty much the only appealing option we’ve found in our area thus far. So sorry to hear about your experiences 😦 That sounds awful! And yes, Tonka had great times at the dog parks for many years while I was in college, but I just got tired of irresponsible owners, unfortunately. He is much happier with doggy sibling play dates at home, these days!

      • I honestly don’t think I’ve ever heard any of his Penn State friends call him by his first name, just “brown bear.” He’s in vet school now with the goal of being an equine vet, so I’m fairly certain his major was animal sciences (he always just said Pre-Vet).

  9. I must say I’ve worked for two doggie daycares for a total of 3 years. While one had less knowledgeable owners and focused less on the dogs (they got to play with each other almost constantly -except for 30 minutes before and after meals to help prevent bloat- but employees spent the majority of the time cleaning the facility), they were still a pretty good daycare. Their main focus was safety and hygiene more so than fun.The dogs were cared for and were always supervised. They were broken usually into 2-3 packs, mostly because the building was separated into several “rooms” (the so-called walls were just that see through screens).
    The owner of the other daycare was extremely knowledgeable, and the employees were always loving on the dogs. Most of the time the dogs were separated by size, but it is more for the owners’ comfort than the dogs’ (and there were exceptions for dogs who had ‘best friends’ in the other pack).
    Perhaps one key difference is that both of the places where I worked are entirely “cage free” daycares. There are crates in case of emergencies, but at one place they were used for freshly groomed dogs to dry and at the other place it was more for our own dogs when we ran errands, so our personal problem makers wouldn’t bother the other employees.
    Though as far as national chains go, there is one, whatever the one on Disney property is, where I board my dog on occasion and I get the impression they are really great. But, the dogs aren’t there to play, they’re there to sleep. Playtime can easily be in small, supervised groups because it doesn’t last all that long-but that’s okay with me, because she’s never there more than a day or two.
    Personally, I don’t have a problem with using squirt bottles, but the dogs do need to be caught in the act. It’s not like they’re high powered hoses, it’s just a simple distraction like saying “hey!”. (Besides, my dog loves squirt bottles, so they’re a fun distraction for her.)
    Not at all trying to sound defensive, but I do believe you saw the worst of the worst, and I’d hate for you to assume that’s the norm. (Disclaimer-I no longer work at either daycare, so I’m not praising them out of obligation. It really is because if my dog hadn’t been raised in a daycare, I know she’d be a mess.)

    • Thanks for sharing, Kayla! Perhaps I was not as thorough as I aimed to be in trying to add the disclaimer that this was just ONE franchise of this company… certainly, other experiences may be vastly improved! And I absolutely hope that this is the case. And I also completely agree that the right daycare facility can be vital in initial dog socialization! What better way to get your adolescent dogs used to a bunch of other pups?
      As far as the squirt bottles, I agree that they are not horrible or abusive. However, as someone who believes and advocates for force-free training, I need to keep things black and white. In its essence, using a squirt bottle is punishment based training, and it is just not part of what I believe makes for the happiest relationship with our dogs! I don’t think that the use of squirt bottles makes for a bad owner or trainer, outright. It is just not part of what I believe works best 🙂

  10. We took our nervous yorkie to the same chain where i picked him up soaking wet on two occassions from being sprayed with water for inappropriate behavior. For weeks he would flinch when paul or i tried to pet his head, and he vomitted after each trip to the daycare. Needless to say we have since found another place for our pup to stay and play!

      • The new place is great…its actually run by a charity that helps physically and mentally disabled people enter the work place. So that means that Max gets tons of hugs and kisses, and tons of human interaction, all while helping teach the people that work there what its like in the workplace. A lot of the employees that start there end up with careers in the field of animal care. His little butt wiggles like crazy for them as soon as we walk in the door!

  11. This is such a bummer. I used to take my kids, briefly, to a “chain” daycare center and I gradually grew suspicious that things on the other side of the lobby weren’t exactly like I’d seen in the tour! Your story reminds me of that. My dogs would definitely withdraw in a similar situation. (This is a great post!)

  12. Thanks for sharing your experience. I had two thoughts reading this – the first: Do tell them why you did not take the job. I think you could do it in a non-confrontational way (maybe even include this blog post?) and let them know you have concerns. Send a letter to the owner, cc is to the manager if they are not one and the same. Seems to me that education happens in small ways like that – and if you can shift even one small thing by bringing it to their attention, that is progress.

    My other thought was: holy cow, that’s alot of dogs in a single doggy day care center! If there is that big of a need…. maybe your career might be heading in THAT direction? 😉

  13. Wow. Not only does that sound like an awful job interview… it sounds like a terrible place to take your pup. I take my fosters to a local doggy daycare that employs an animal behaviorist who decides what dogs are in which play groups. Polly always went with the puppies because she needed more work being socialized…. Moby goes in with the other spastic dogs. It eases my mind so much to know that someone is making sure they are safe and happy in that environment. I’m sorry you had such a crappy experience. I hope that you are able to find a job that is satisfying and goes with your philosophies soon. 🙂

  14. That sounds SO traumatizing! Based on the difference between the front lobby and the actual facility, it makes me wonder if those dog owners even asked to view the rest of the place before signing up?! I’m lucky enough to work from home but if I did have a job with long hours, I would definitely opt for a trustworthy dog walker to come mid-day and let the pups spend the rest of the day snoozing on the couch rather than stuck in a pen or cage. I think big groups of dogs playing is almost always a disaster, no matter how friendly they are.

    As for dog parks, I really can’t stand fenced in parks as I have had countless horrible experiences at them. I think there is a human mentality of just letting their dog do whatever he/she wants because they’re an enclosed area so what’s the worst that can happen. The dogs also feel confined and act out when they cannot move away from an uncomfortable situation. I only take my dogs to off leash open spaces, hikes or beaches and the dogs get along great 99% of the time and it’s so easy to walk away when you know a dog is not the right match for yours. Plus they get to sniff and explore so much more, it wears them out!

    Good luck in your job search. I’ve often considered working in the animal industry, but always change my mind as it makes me feel so sad, frustrated or annoyed! Have you ever considered starting your own dog walking/sitting business? I walked dogs during college and loved it:)

  15. Wow! Sounds like a horrible place for doggies, so happy to read that not everybody has such a bad experience but the managers of the centre you wrote about sound completely clueless and extremely careless. Running your own doggy daycare sounds like a great idea, especially when it is something you so obviously have a passion for, it is something I would like to do however our many Australians would find the idea over the top especially in a regional area such as ours and my current job is the more stable one so I’ll be staying put for a while. Good luck with your search for a new career/job, I’m sure that something will come along soon 🙂

  16. Oh my, I would not have been able to hold back my feelings if only for the sake of the dogs that go there. I know you don’t want to release the name of the chain, and I respect that, but if you know anyone using that facility, I do hope you will enlighten them. We do not have any facilities in my area but I would certainly demand a visit behind the scenes before leaving my dog with them. I am shocked there are not more fights or dog injuries in that setting. Thank you for sharing!

    • I have been regretting not having said/done more… but some other readers suggested that I write a letter to the corporate location, and I have been considering it. Just not sure if it would actually make any progress?

  17. I think I know the chain that interviewed you, too. We just left our dogs with the for two weeks. One of them had such a bad time that they asked us not to bring him back. Now that I’ve read this, I think it maybe a blessing they fired us… Now I feel bad that we left them there.

  18. This is exactly why we’ve been using a pet sitting service for years. Our oldest dog’s behavior underwent a drastic change after the last time we used a daycare/kenneling service. (And it was one operated by our vet’s office!!). It took us weeks to get her close to normal, again. So, starting about 5 years ago, we began using a pet sitting service. We get 4 visits a day. Each visit includes a 30 minute walk for each dog and one of those daily visits also includes an additional, scheduled, 30 minute “playtime” with each dog. And this 4-visits+playtime service costs less than it did to kennel both dogs.

    We have gotten to know the sitters and they know our dogs. They come for a visit with us before each trip to get caught up on recent events or changes (like the new puppy in the house behind us that drives our younger dog nuts, lol) and they respect and use the training methods that we use. They even send us texts with pictures of the dogs on walks and playing in the backyard.

    Knowing that our dogs are at home, with their toys, their beds and going for walks in their neighborhood is a big comfort. They are always the same, goofy bundles of wiggly love when we return, as they were the day we left.

    Thank you for your story, as it gives me even more comfort that we’ve made the right choice for our 4-legged family members. And maybe you could start a similar service in your area!!!

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