Daycare for your dog

Doggie daycare may seem like a frivolous expense, but pet parents who rely on it say there are actually some really big benefits.

"Hi Maya," the dog lover, working the front counter at Four Paws Dog Hotel and Day Resort in Grand Blanc, greets her one-year-old Husky client.

Maya is living the life! Monday through Friday, while her humans are off at work and school, she luxuriates at doggie daycare.

Sonja Boehm, Maya's human mom tells me, "Next month will be her one year with them, and I don't know how we would have gotten through puppyhood without them."

With a host of friends, and plenty of fun to be had, this happy Husky burns off energy and separation anxiety, "I teach kindergarten, so I am gone for 8-plus hours a day, and my kids go to school a full day, and my husband works, so there were times when she would end up in the cage for 10 hours a day."

Running free with other dogs is a great way for Maya to get exercise, mental stimulation- and socialization, "She's more mellow, and she's not as high strung when we go to the doggie store. She doesn't react to animals the way that others that aren't around them do. People. She's really well oriented with people."

Maya, whose breed is notoriously high energy, may come every day, but not every pet needs that much daycare time.

That is just way too much exercise for some dogs," say Four Paw's manager, Janelle Pushman, "So for some dogs even just one day a week is enough."

Here's now it works: New dogs, like Duke, the Great Dane, spend the first few days adjusting to the new environment. Duke will then slowly meet the other dogs.

Staffing is based on the number of dogs here on any given day, with dogs separated into groups based on size, age and energy level.

There are two, four-hour play sessions dialy, with a mid-day naptime in between. Yes, they even get lullaby music to help them calm down.

Janelle says, naps are a must here, "Just like a toddler, if they don't get a nap, you'll have tiffs; so we do that as a preventative measure."

Dogs have to be current on all vaccinations and go through temperment testing.

One day costs around 20-dollars, but there are also multi-visit packages.

Maya's mom says it is worth every dime, "It is a nice chunk of change you're dropping, and no it is not a necessity, but it is a wonderful investment in our animal. She's one of my kids. and I have to ask myself, 'would I lock one of my kids in the house all day?' No!"

Four Paws offers boarding, and even has suites available for multe-pet families. There is also a special area for dogs who have special needs or need to avoid the excitement.

There is even a room available for dogs to watch movies. Today, I took in "101 Dalmations" with my new friend, Lincon the Labrador.

Learn more about Four Paws here.

For information about selecting a pet daycare, or even a boarding kennel, visit the Humane Society here. This is another good article I found.

Happy boarding!

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