As owners of six dogs between them, Kirsty and Jen had plenty of opportunity to make use of Vancouver's doggie daycares. As they did, they realized that most didn't have the kind of play space their high-energy dogs really needed. So, Kirsty and Jen decided to create their own daycare facility in a 5,000-square-foot warehouse and stock it and the 1,000-square-foot outdoor space with ramps, tunnels, and toys plus a pool and tree fort. They called their new puppy wonderland Canine Adventure Den Daycare.
Instead of expecting the dogs to just play with each other and keep themselves amused, Canine Adventure's staffers lead some structured activities, such as adventure hikes and Hula-Hoop contests. Some of their activities even include owners, such as dating events that introduce singles to fellow dog lovers.
The facility's Muddy Paw Dog Hostel keeps dogs—and other pets, such as rabbits and turtles—overnight. Staffers even sleep beside the dogs to ensure that pups don't get too lonely without their people or Scooby-Doo night lights.
At Dog Taxi Vancouver's daycare and boarding facilities, the comforts mirror those of a high-class hotel: personal trainers, walks on the beach, and no cages. The kennel-free environment uses homestyle boarding methods, which means dogs socialize, exercise, and rest freely, both indoors and out. There is some structure to their schedules, however—at least three times a day during boarding stays, the staff takes each dog for a long stroll past parks and shorelines. One of these sessions lasts two hours and includes an obedience-training course, during which qualified trainers impress the value of good behaviour and teach their charges how to properly enunciate "thank you" when your mouth is full of tennis ball. Pups that don't stay overnight can still benefit from these lessons by dropping in for half-day daycare visits.
As its name suggests, the company also oversees a fleet of taxis that ferry four-legged passengers to and from various locales. The cabs—all of which are environmentally friendly hybrids, propane-powered, or electric vehicles—shuttle pets between their homes and destinations such as airports, the vet's, or a friend's yard.
With a fashionable canine wardrobe hand-picked from boutiques around the world and an array of cosmopolitan accessories, barking babies lavishes the family's furriest mascot in opulent trimmings. The designer dog firm ushers in exclusive Fido fashion from Tokyo, New York, and Milan to swaddle dogs of all sizes in swanky threads and fill their treasure chests with the finest leather rawhides. Proud parents can primp their whistle heeders in seasonal frocks such as a reversible quilted ski parka ($40) or a sleeveless pretty bow tee ($45) while keeping obedient bottoms warm with a pair of polka-dot or candy-adorned undies ($19). In addition to cocooning four-legged newspaper couriers in luxurious beds and carriers, barking babies also decorates its décolletages with an eclectic collection of collars and leads, such as the stylish gingham harness embellished with lace and button details ($30) or a standard nylon leash to rein in smaller dogs or lasso meandering coworkers ($20). Hound hosers can enlist the spa line at the mutt boutique to keep their pups fresh with a cocktail of shea-butter shampoos, coconut-lime conditioners, and ProDental toothpaste.
GoDogWalk offers dog walking, daycare, and boarding services to four-legged beasts in the Vancouver area, out of the luxury dog boutique The Pet Shop Boys. Your Groupon can be used toward the total cost of any of four available dog-care services: send a sassy schnauzer on a one-hour morning beach run ($20), or opt instead to treat your dog to a two-hour mountain hike ($28) while you work. You may apply the value of the deal toward dog-distracting daycare ($29 for a full day, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.) or boarding services ($55 per 24 hours). GoDogWalk is owned and operated by two passionate dog enthusiasts, and you can rest assured that your canine companion will receive top of the line care in your absence. Certain area restrictions for walking services may apply; consult GoDogWalk's website and FAQs for more information.
Big Dog Little Dog Bakery concocts artfully decorated dog treats from all-natural ingredients free of preservatives and artificial colouring. Pooch palates will dribble in Pavlovian anticipation at the sight of doggie delicacies such as crunchy liver slivers ($6.99 for 200 g bag) and luscious peanut-butter hearts ($1.99 each). Give a wet-nosed companion the greatest gift since that plate of chicken vesuvio fell on the carpet with a mini luv-ya cake ($5.99), available in peanut butter and honey, scrumptious liver, or wheat-free pumpkin maple. Customers who come for the sweets can stay for the swag, which includes a selection of collars, pet clothing, and accessories such as rhinestone-studded brandy barrels for saint bernards.
At Jonah's Ark Doggie Playcare & Training, play is the key term. In this 2,000-square-foot indoor playground, dogs romp freely, toss toys into the air, and clamber on and off agility obstacles. Plenty of lounge space offers tired pups quiet time as well. According to co-owner Saro Boghozian, wrestling and chasing other dogs not only teaches pups how to behave better, but also aids in their mental development. For further canine education, owners can enroll dogs in the center's training courses. During classes, the staff appeals to each dog's natural intelligence; owners are taught to train their dog with praise, rather than coax them with treats or discipline them with a rolled-up newspaper.