|10 Years at Doggy Daycare|
Being a part of a doggy daycare for the last ten years has been fun, stressful, painful and joyful. A lot like life but with dogs. There have been scary moments and funny moments and combinations of both.
Baby Sadie missing in action for over an hour, only to be found cooling herself behind the toilet. Ella locking herself in the office (with the key inside) seconds before Mom is due.
There have been heartbreaking times (losing Schnapps) and heartwarming ones (still having Ben). We've had passwords to pick up dogs, designer coats destroyed and peeing on everything (inside and out) and everyone (people and K9). The dogs are so excited when they arrive they forget about their parents and so excited to see their parents in the evening, they forget about us.
To add to the excitement, we added the pool last year, so we've had wet, soaking wet and totally wet from jumping in the pool to save an unintentional swimmer...
Though A Place for Paws Doggy Daycare, we have developed incredibly strong relationship, with dogs and their human. The tie that binds us is those dogs. We're crazy for them and it shows. Our clients (the human ones) are crazy for them to. Who brings their dog to doggy daycare? People who have a bond with their pets that is so extraordinary that they want everything for dogs that will help make them physically healthy, mentally happy and also completely exhausted.
The personalities that attend daycare are varied, from the pushy ones to the playful ones to the quiet ones. We have a Jack Russell who thinks he can take on the world and any of the big dogs with it. We have a hound mix who thinks every dog is his friend and he needs to lick them in the mouth to prove it. Some of our dogs love to herd the kids, some love the control the whole dog population with their voice.
Rudy loves to come in and knock the toy box over and proceeds to spread all the toys around. He also loves the pool but considers it his job to keep the kids out of danger by getting them out of it.
Ella and Zoey love to be a little witchy with the other dogs but both are remarkably quick to give the daycare attendant a quick smile (as if to say, who me?) when caught in the act.
Willie wanders around the perimeter of the yard for his first twenty minutes at daycare, making sure everything is in place and marking the appropriate areas. He always ends up coming back in with something on his face, whether it may be a leaf, food, snow or grass - he never fails to pick something up.
Each dog has different ways of entertaining himself at daycare. Some legitimately come to play and do so from the moment they get there to the second they leave. Others come to patrol and rest. Still others apparently come to see how annoying they might be to their fellows daycare attendees.
There are some day-long pursuits for a couple of the clients. Gus, for examples, stands guard over the gate to see who might forget to lock it so he can let himself (and everyone else out). Harley slips in and out under the fence in search of a dropped morsel. Or perhaps one left on the table with a chair near it. Perhaps not a morsel at all but a whole meal...
There have been children growing up at Paws from the beginning. Dani opened Paws when Elizabeth was one month old. Serena was practically born at Paws and their older brother Jacob has been there since aged two. For the last year, we've had Nici's baby Addyson there.
The way the dogs react to the kids is varied and amusing. To some they are simply another source of food, intentionally on the kid's part or not. For others they are object to move around (to herd as it were). Some chase them and some try to jump on them. For the most part they enjoy the additional distraction and play that the kids offer.
Harley thinks Addyson's purpose now is to provide food but for the longest time, she was just ballast for his chariot. He felt his appointed spot was the basket in Addy's stroller and he would spend his day riding there. Of course, Lola thought we brought Addy's walker there for her to rest in.
The swimming pool has provided some priceless daycare moments. Some dogs swim. Some watch. Some wade and some, well, fall in. When Abraham fell in, we weren't sure if he could swim, and Nici wasn't going to wait to find out. She followed him in fully clothed with her cell phone in her pocket. Whoops!
Lola loves to swim and looks like a little otter doing it. Maggie thinks the pool is the best thing about daycare and waits at the gate for her chance to jump in. Cash likes to stand on the deck and observe and Ella thinks the best place to view the pool is from the far side of the fence.
By far, the thing the dogs like most is daycare visitors - it's a chance to bark and bark and bark some more. They like the people who come to the door. They like the telephone repair man and they love Ray from next door. Some stand right at the door to be petted, others just stand back and do what they do best, bark.
And at last there's when Mom or Dad picks them up. A favorite time of day for the dog being picked up and all the other dogs (the visitor factor plus the excitement of one of them leaving). Some dogs like Ben can tell time and start to worry if his ride is slightly late. Some like Sheep get so excited to see their people, you wonder if it's been days since the last time they saw them. And a few like Gabby play hard to get and act like they are not sure they need to go home yet but they are always delighted when they are 'caught'.
Doggy daycare has been a learning experience for all of us here at A Place for Paws. It has also been a delightful and rewarding adventure - bonding with dogs and their humans. We're glad we've shared the last ten years with everyone!