How Doggy Daycare Saved My Dog (And Me!) From Going Insane
I don’t think dogs know how to tell time, at least not on a clock. But I swear Piper always knows when it’s “daycare day” (and of course when it’s dinner time!). Every Tuesday and Thursday, unless an act of God stops me, I take Piper to doggy daycare.
In case you aren’t aware, doggy daycare is exactly what it sounds like. It is literally a day care facility for dogs. Crazy, I know. If you have ever boarded your dog while you were away, it’s exactly the same thing except I pick her up at the end of the day. She gets to play and socialize all day and I can actually get some work done. And I also don’t have to worry about if she is destroying anything in my house while I’m away, LOL. I am a major worrier and I care for my dog like I would a child. So being able to take her somewhere where I know she will be taken care of while I am at work, and come home exhausted, is a huge relief for me.
Some people might say that I’m crazy for spending money on such a thing and that I spoil my dog, but my life before I discovered daycare was, to say the least, stressful. When I got Piper she was about 9 months old (read more about her story here) and she was as wild as they come.
Less than a day into bringing her home, while taking her on a walk she was able to wiggle her way out of her collar and I had to chase after her. I’m embarrassed to say how much I cried that night. I just didn’t think I could handle the responsibility of having a dog. She was always hyper and I could never get her to settle down. But I was determined to make it work. I wasn’t going to be one of those people who took their dog back to the shelter because they were “too much to handle.” But I used to dread coming home from work. Don’t get me wrong, I was excited to see her, of course. I could only imagine what she had gotten herself into while I was away. No to mention what she would act like when I walked through that door.
I had heard about doggy daycare before but I just wasn’t sure if it was necessary or if it was worth the money. I did some research on some places near me and about what to expect. Eventually, I took the plunge and signed her up for an evaluation at a place recommended to me by a co-worker.
One day. I couldn’t believe the difference.
That first day after I picked her up, poor thing couldn’t even keep her eyes open on the car ride home. One day. I was in shock. I cried again, but happy tears this time! Finally, after getting into a routine of daycare twice a week and visiting the dog park every other day her energy started to level out. Before, I just couldn’t keep up with her. Even with taking her on regular walks, it just wasn’t enough. Now, Piper is a different dog.
It’s important that you know how to choose the right daycare for your pooch. Do some research on the facilities in your area. You might, like me, have to go a little further than you want to find the right one. Tour the facility if you can. This is always a good tell-tale sign that they are honest, open people. You want to see where your beloved pet will be spending their time, obviously. How often do they allow the dogs potty breaks? How much play time do they get? Ask questions. It’s important to know how your dog will be taken care of.
The daycare I take Piper to, Ultimate Pet Lodge in Lyman, SC is about 25 minutes away but it is worth every mile. There are closer ones but I’m just in love with Ultimate. The people there are so friendly and helpful and I know they take care of Piper while she is there. There are also cameras in the play areas which mean I can go on their website at any time and check in to see how she is doing. I love to see her chasing and wrestling with the other dogs. Ultimate also offers full grooming services as well as boarding. I wish they did referrals because I think I have recommended them to almost every one of my dog park friends and several of them have actually started going!
Pricing for daycare can vary from place to place. I buy a “package” from mine so I get a huge (like crazy huge) discount because of how many days in advance I purchase. And when I run out of days I just buy a new package! The days don’t expire and all I have to do is call the night before and let them know we are coming. Since I bring Piper on the same days every week they just put us on a schedule and I get a text every Monday and Wednesday night confirming her play day!
Now, let me also say that doggy daycare is not for every dog. Some dogs just do not get along with other dogs, and that’s okay! If this is your dog, don’t be discouraged. There are plenty of other activities that you can do with Fido that can help release some of that pent up energy. Agility classes are great for dogs that require a little more mental stimulation.
By taking her to doggy daycare just those two days a week I can come home from a busy day at work and actually relax while she sleeps soundly for the rest of the night. I’m not kidding. It’s all she can do to eat her dinner and just plop down on a cool spot in the house and snooze. I take her doggy dream whimpers as her way of saying thanks.
Do you take your dog to daycare? If so, what do you love about it?