Dogs' Inn, at 330 Denny Court in Montrose, takes pride in operating differently than traditional dog boarding facilities, owner Patricia Traufield said.
On any given day, Traufield and her kennel technicians will have a dozen or so dogs, from 5-month-old labs to poodles and retrievers. It's a mix of breeds, ages and size, but each dog is placed with a play group specific to its needs. And all the guests have one thing in common – their tails are wagging joyfully.
"You should see her when we pull up," dog owner Linda Derpod said of her pet. "She gets so excited."
Derpod owns a 2-year-old German shepherd mix who, when she puts her paws on the counter to greet Traufield, is almost as tall as Derpod. "Keys" is in training to be a therapy dog and the daycare service at Dogs' Inn helps with socialization skills, Derpod said.
"This is her treat. She just loves to play," she said.
Dogs' Inn provides full- and half-day dog care, along with overnight boarding. A full day constitutes more than six hours and costs $20, while a half day costs $10.
Many of Traufield's guests come on a regular basis to get much-needed play and socialization time. Their owners sometimes opt for a five- or 10-day package, which gives them a discount.
On this morning, there were 14 regular daycare dogs at Dogs' Inn, all of whom were either splashing in the doggie pool or playing fetch with kennel technician Phillip Purdy.
"Daycare is a great way to enhance a dog's life," Traufield said.
For single puppies, it keeps them out of mischief and teaches them how to play and behave around other dogs, she said. Dogs learn how to get over separation anxiety at Dogs' Inn, and it provides more diversity for dogs who are used to playing with only one or two other dogs at a time.
Zach and Ishtar Ullevig take their yellow lab mix "Dulce" to play at Dogs’ Inn about once a week. It's been rewarding to have a tired dog at the end of a long work day for Zach and Ishtar, but the play time also has improved Dulce's health.
"She absolutely loves it and has lost a lot of weight," Ishtar said.
Along with regulars, Dogs' Inn also provides a safe environment for travelers and tourists to leave their dog while they enjoy not-so-friendly dog activities, such as golfing, rafting or hiking the trails at the Black Canyon National Park.
Each dog that visits the Dogs' Inn first goes through a screening process.
The owner fills out a questionnaire that asks about the dog's behavioral issues, such as fear or aggression. A dog must be at least 4 months old, up-to-date on all shots and either spayed or neutered if it’s at least 6 months old.
The dog is first introduced to humans to see how it behaves. Traufield needs to be able to handle and put a leash on the dogs easily as they are transferred back and forth between play areas and their kennels for food and rest.
After the human interview, the animal gets one-on-one interviews with other dog, both of the same sex and the opposite sex, to see how they behave.
After the personal interviews, then it's socialization time and the dog gets an afternoon – at no cost to the owner – of play time.
If everything goes well, the dog is cleared and subsequent visits are easily arranged, Traufield said.
Dogs' Inn is equipped with indoor kennels with cots that keep the dogs off the floor. Traufield encourages owners to bring blankets or other toys from home that will help the dog feel more comfortable in the kennel. There is no extra charge for special food or administering medication. The only extra charge is for grooming services.
There are three separate indoor/outdoor play areas at Dogs' Inn. This is so dogs can play with dogs of similar size or stamina. If older dogs get along with puppies, Traufield said she will put them together to play to equalize the energy. There is never food in the play areas, but there are toys.
The dogs are always supervised when playing and owners can watch their dogs during playtime via webcams.
"We really get to know our dogs well cause we are out there with them," Traufield said.
The dogs are separated three times during the day, either to eat or rest in their kennels. That time also provides the employees an opportunity to clean and sterilize the play areas.
Overnight boarding costs an owner $30 per night for one dog. A second dog costs $20 per night. There is a 10 percent discount for dogs staying more than one week. Traufield said she charges for the night, not for the day for overnight guests, so pick-up hours are flexible and don't entail extra fees.
Dogs' Inn is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on weekends and holidays from 8 to 11 a.m. and from 3 to 6 p.m.
For more information, visit www.dogsinn.biz.