Doggie Stay-Cation

Tips for finding the right boarding facility for your four-legged family member.
Employee Joy Adams says the two indoor play areas at PupTown are cushioned for comfort and made from recycled materials.

Arlis Werley is such a devoted "pet parent" that even before she and her husband brought a dog into their family, they paid a visit to PupTown, a new boarding and grooming facility in Medina. "In the past, we had had two cocker spaniels, but had gone for eight months without a dog. We are emptynesters, so we knew that if we were going to get a new dog, we wanted to make sure to have someplace nice to take her," Werley says.

Impressed with the cleanliness and attention to detail at PupTown (which includes a 14,250-square-foot backyard, and two indoor play and sleep areas), the Werleys werent' afraid to become the proud owners of Sadie Rose, a miniature boxer; not 10 months old. she is a frequent guest at PupTown, both for daytime play and overnight boarding.

Searching for just the right place where your pet will be well cared for when you are away is an important task for any pet owner. Jill Kingstedt and her husband Tom own PupTown; "I just love getting to know the personalities of all these dogs," she says. "Most are just marshmallows in dog suits." We asked them for their top tips on how to find a boarding facility that's well-suited for your favorite pet.

Take a Tour

Most facilities welcome prospective clients to come in for a tour and have tour hours posted on their websites. Kingstedt suggests leaving your pet at home for the first visit. "It's a lot easier to check out a place and have all your questions answered if you are not distracted," she says. "We require all our dogs to have their paperwork on file, including being up-to-date on vaccinations, so we actually wouldn't allow a dog without that information to spend time with the other dogs anyway." Points to consider during a tour include overall cleanliness, indoor and outdoor play spaces, amenities and number of staff; remember to ask if the pet owner is responsible for supplying the dog's food and/or bedding.

The "Doggie Interview"

At PupTown all prospective four-legged clients must complete and orientation before they can be registered. The orientation or 'doggie interview' takes place after the owner has submitted information about the dog's behavior, personality, health history and emergency contacts.

The dog is dropped off for a minimum of two hours, during which time staff members observe the interaction with the other dogs. This is especially important in a kennel-free facility (like PupTown), where the dogs are always together.

"Some of the puppies haven't spent much time socializing with other dogs, so we'll generally pull aside one or two dogs and put them with the puppy in our smaller playroom," Kingstedt says. "Some older dogs have a lot of anxiety when they are visiting someplace new. I remember we had one dog, who now comes here regularly, spend two hours making her way down the hallway to the large play area."

The doggie interview also helps prepare the pet for future visits, since her or she will remember that "I came here, I played here, and they picked me up."

Stay Safe

Trusting your dog to the care of someone else is a big step, so make sure to ask about safety measures, staffing (including if someone is on-site overnight) and the use of cameras, both for security at the facility and for pet owners who like to keep tabs on their dogs via webcams set up by staff members.



810 Tower Dr. Medina. 763.478.0203.