In the past I never really thought of doggy daycare as an option and I certainly would NEVER allow my dog to be kenneled. Recently, all that changed.
To help combat his separation anxiety we started sending Charlie to doggy daycare. At first we sporadically sent him to Great Bay Kennel which didn’t really help all that much since it wasn’t consistent. Plus, he got so dirty in the yard that he had to have a bath after every visit. We put daycare, or Camp as we call it, on the back burner for a little while until I realized that a place closer to Portsmouth would work better for me. For some reason almost all daycare establishments close at 6PM which I don’t fully understand. There are times when I have to leave work to pick up my dog then bring him back to work with me to finish up my day. Fortunately, I have an understanding employer but not everyone does. The closing time obviously isn’t a deal breaker but just a little pet peeve- no pun intended.
After looking into Camps near Portsmouth I finally decided to try A Dog’s Tale in Kittery. The staff was friendly and they had lots of pictures of dogs at play which helps when you are entrusting your dog to the care of another. We also decided that sending Charlie to Camp at least once a week would further help with the adjustment to being away from home and us.
At this point Charlie has been going to Camp regularly for about 6 months. However, even after only 6 weeks, I can say with 100% certainty that daycare has helped with Charlie’s anxiety. At first he mostly hung out near the people or in the corner but now, even though I have to lift him out of the car, he walks right in, plays with the other dogs, and comes home tired. A Dog’s Tale knows what it’s doing! A typical day for Charlie goes like this:
- Drop off between 8AM and 9AM
- Play from the drop off time until around 11:30AM
- 11:30AM to 12:30/1:00PM is naptime. The dogs are ushered into large kennels so they can rest. The air conditioning or heat is cranked, the lights dimmed, and the classical music is turned on.
- Play from 1:00PM until pickup between 5PM and 6PM
At first I was worried about the kennel since I don’t know Charlie’s history with a crate and we don’t really crate him at home (he has a soft crate but is never zipped into it- more on that in another post). The staff said they wouldn’t force him into it if he really didn’t want to go. It turns out that Charlie couldn’t really care less. He loads in easily and relaxes right away- AMAZING!! I think all the dogs are grateful for a little break from all the playing.
The outdoor spaces are large and filled with fun playground equipment, mini pools, sprinklers, and other fun playthings. They are lined with pebbles so your dog doesn’t come home covered in mud which is also great. Additionally, the facility has covered outdoor spaces for when it rains, and large indoor spaces that are usually used in the winter or on severe weather days.
We have been so pleased with Charlie’s progress and his care while at Camp that we decided that he was finally ready for boarding, aka Sleepover Camp. After a regular day of Camp, the dogs staying overnight are fed and watered, allowed to wander and play a little more, then loaded into the kennels again for a good night’s sleep. Most dogs, Charlie included, crash out for the whole night after the full day of playing so that certainly helps.
A Dog’s Tale is definitely a great place for dogs whether it’s just for the day or for a few overnight stays. They take great care of him, know him well, and I feel comfortable leaving him there when we need to travel. If you are looking for affordable (5 days of daycare for $85 or $25 per overnight), convenient, safe, and clean care for you pet when he’s not at home, I highly recommend visiting A Dog’s Tale. Your dog will be happy about it!