Luxury Pet Daycares Are Coming To Jacksonville

By Jessica Volz and Cameron Rodgers

When one hears the phrase “doggy daycare,” the picture that most likely comes to mind is a hallway lined with kennels or maybe a small play area for them. But over the years, facilities specializing in pet boarding have transformed, changing that picture into something spectacular for four-legged friends.

Whether you are dropping off your animal for a few hours as you complete your daily nine to five, or saying goodbye for the weekend before a vacation, your dog will be just as busy as you are: perhaps completing obstacle courses or playing up with other dogs around them. 

According to Liz Culver, general manager of Dogtown, dogs under their care are supervised and cared for as they burn off their energy before going home for the day with their humans. On a tour of Dogtown, one will immediately notice all of the visual stimulation on site. It is designed to look like an actual town, that is, if it were run by dogs. The main street is complete with a fire station a bail bonds office and even a jail, where the keeper of the keys is their feline foe.

The major attraction is the play area, a large room with an enclosed field for dogs to run, roll around and bark until their heart’s content. Multiple employees are on watch in the field, ensuring the dogs’ safety as they entertain themselves with play time. Owners can also get their pup groomed, check on their health or purchase special treats from the additional businesses within Dogtown, a seemingly one-stop shop for all animal needs.

What if your pet has needs that are unique?

Not all dogs are the drooling, smiling bubbly love machines in need of constant hugs and kisses, some are shy, quiet and reserved. Because of the changes that have been made in the doggy daycare business, facilities are more equipped now to meet those needs.

At Camp Bow Wow, assistant manager Amanda Johnson explains that owners can specify and add certain activities to their dog’s day to ensure they are enjoying their time.

One thing Camp Bow Wow does? Snuggle time. Dogs who receive it are plucked from the play yard or their kennel suite and taken to a designated room for calm snuggles with one of the employees. For a period of time, they are held and petted with all attention on them, providing comfort for dogs more prone to stress or anxiety. Camp Bow Wow is also interactive with owners.

“We do have livestream video so that owners are able to watch their dogs through the day and check on them if they want to see what they’re doing,” said Bowman. On a flat-screen television in the lobby, footage of the animals is streamed from multiple angles so owners have the opportunity to look in on their pets.

Dr. William Daniel, of Beaches Animal Clinic, says that animals benefit from these types of doggy daycare.

“I think doggy daycares can make a huge difference in their lives, especially high energy dogs, by giving them exercise to burn off some of the energy and to learn socialization with other dogs and people,” said Daniel.