With just a click of the mouse or a tap of the smartphone, owners can check in via webcam as their dogs gambol about the 6,000-square-foot facility at Camp Bow Wow. What they'll see should please them. Certified camp counselors supervise both the indoor and outdoor play areas, where dogs play fetch in the yard and Marco Polo in the pool. After gobbling down treats, overnight guests slumber in private cabins as soothing music plays. To further pamper their canine friends, owners schedule grooming appointments for nail trims or baths.
Kellye Sommer lived closely with nature in her hometown of Seminole, Oklahoma, and spent the early years of her life deeply fascinated by the creatures around her. Her deep empathy, fostered by tolerant parents, led her to adopt and rehabilitate injured and orphaned animals found around their home, and she assembled quite a menagerie. When not bottle-feeding a baby raccoon, bathing a skunk, or teaching a crow to speak Spanish, she and her brother cared for cats, dogs, and a host of other critters. After a pit stop in the horticulture department at Oklahoma State University and 12 years spent working in the medical-technology field at a local hospital, Kellye returned to her first passion—caring for animals.
Today, Dog Days of Sommer makes clever use of Kellye’s surname to describe the substance of her days, which involve caring for pups whose owners are at work or out of town. Beyond the warmly lit lobby of her facility lies a massive indoor play space equipped with toys and large kennels for private sleeping. Throughout their stay, dogs are lavished with myriad pampering services, including baths, full grooming, walks, and supervised romp sessions in the attached yard. Dogs return home clean and sleepy, which is often more than their owners can say, unless they tame wild bars of soap for a living.
Tabitha, the owner of Jagers Playhouse, started her business to help her mom out. Her mom's dog got a bit depressed when its owner left for work each day, and Tabitha felt the pooch needed some extra activity and attention. She thought there might be a few other pets in similar straits, so she decided to turn her daily dog-sitting routine into a business.
Now she runs that business with all the care she put into taking care of her own mom's pet. She gives all the dogs personal attention, playing with them and helping them feel important. She never locks up her visitors in cages, instead giving them the run of her facility. And of course, she doesn't over-structure playtime or force the dogs to wear ties and discuss business ethics.
Staff Size: 1 person
Parking: Parking lot
Pro Tip: Cage-free, safe environment where dogs can have fun
Good for Kids: No
Walk-ins Welcome: Yes
The family behind TNT Pet Services draws on 10 years of veterinary and pet-boarding experience as their courteous and professional staff cares for tailed critters with an array of grooming and playtime services. The experienced pet sitters and dog walkers entertain furry friends with 15–30 minute interactions that include walks, belly rubs, refreshments, and English lessons. Gussying up animal companions, TNT's groomers gently cleanse, crop, and brush coats until they're soft and lustrous. Groomers also offer pickup and drop-off services at an additional cost. To help prep new pups for domestic life, TNT's skilled trainers teach them proper manners in two-week potty training courses. If owners continue to reinforce the techniques at home with consistency, dogs will learn to avoid bad habits, such as staining rugs or eating with their elbows on the table.
Stephanie Gau has loved dogs all her life but it wasn't until she discovered Meatlovers, the nutrient-rich organic dog food used by police departments, that that the idea to open her own business took shape. Meatlovers wasn't a new concept, as the company had been around since the invention of dogs in 1949, but Stephanie, who had worked in law enforcement, felt she could combine the time-tested food with other products and services and her passion for canine care.
Today, the dog lover packs her shop with locally made goodies waiting to fill the stomachs of man's best friends. She works with the local Yellow Dog Bakery to outfit canine chompers with treats such as birthday cakes, pupcakes, and decorated cookies. Stephanie also educates customers on proper dog nutrition, while Waggles—the store's dalmatian mascot—attends local events at dog parks and garden shows.
In addition to the retail shop, Stephanie and her team groom pups and run a boarding center. Unlike most kennels, Tail Waggers' crew doesn't keep their furry friends inside crates or cages. Instead, canines spend nights in doggy hotel rooms and days in a play area, where they can bounce and play cribbage with other dogs between regular trips outside.