Business

Dogs lapping up daycare

By PAT JENKINS

The Mirror

When the master’s away, Fido can still play. Kelly Carroll sees to it.

Carroll opened Playful Paws seven weeks ago in Federal Way after deciding that working people and others who are absent from home during the day want a place for their four-legged friends to avoid boredom and destructive behavior.

Doggie daycare, as it were.

Romping with other pooches in the airy, warehouse-style building that includes indoor and outdoor space, Carroll’s clients are “active and engaged all day,” she said. “When they go home, they’re happy and ready to rest.”

Their owners, whose busy days don’t necessarily end after work, can tend to household duties without worrying that their dogs need walks or play time. Carroll noted most dogs need more of exercise than owners have time to give them.

For severely time-crunched owners, Playful Paws offers free pickups and dropoffs of client canines at Grandview Dog Park, the SeaTac-area facility that Federal Way and other cities helped develop.

Once at daycare, dogs can chase balls, chew on bones, splash in a plastic kiddie pool outside and play with each other under the watchful eye of Carroll and other attendants, some of them such dog-lovers that they volunteer for the duty.

To prevent snarling skirmishes, grumpy or tired dogs go to time-out areas.

All dogs must have an agreeable temperament or they aren’t accepted, Carroll said, adding rejects are rare. “Most people know if their dogs have the right personality for this kind of environment,” she noted.

Written proof of dogs’ vaccinations also is required for enrollment.

Owners are willing to pay for a good time for their canines because “people in this part of the country really love their dogs,” said Carroll. That, plus dogs left home alone too much can turn into chronic barkers, diggers or chewers or simply sleep all day, none of which are good for them, she said.

Carroll, now able to take her own dog to work –– something she couldn’t do when she toiled in a Chicago office in information technology before moving here -- said her client list is at 25. There’s room for more in the 4,200-square-feet facility just off Ninth Avenue South.

Leslie Gooch, who has three cats (they stay home) but used to have a dog, enjoys being one of the dog attendants.

“They’re so much fun to be around,” she said.

While all the dogs have their picture on a wall and get equal attention, some in particular work their way into the staff’s hearts. One, a Shar-pei/labrador mix, is “highy sociable” now one year after being found abandoned and shot in the head, Carroll related.

Playful Paws’ daily rates (hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.) are $28 for a full day, $20 for four hours or less. Package deals are available. Additional information is available at 838-7297 and www.playfulpaws.biz.

Editor Pat Jenkins: 925-5565, editor@fedwaymirror.com

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