Photos by Hillary Ehlen
I’ve often heard it said that Disney World is the happiest place on Earth. Well, I have some issues with that. I actually think it might be Doggy Depot in Moorhead. I say that based off my dog’s reaction every time I drop him off and how well he sleeps after an eventful day at doggy daycare. So, I decided to get to the bottom of this to see if it truly is the happiest place on Earth or, at the very least, in Fargo-Moorhead. That’s why I present to you this totally made up diary from my dog Fitz with real-life thoughts from Doggy Depot co-owner Becky Black.
I played so much yesterday! It was great hanging out with all of my new friends. I really like that everything is so clean, despite all the mess that we make.
“When a dog comes in, it settles down for a couple of minutes,” said Black. “Usually, the regulars are able to quiet down right away. We just don’t want them to get smothered right away. There’s always a staff with the big and little dogs. At 11:30, they start going down for nap time until 1 and then they come back out and play. Then the owners start coming from 3:30-6:30.
“We have staff that’s always cleaning. We have a cleaner every other day and we pressure wash that whole area outside. They spray the cleaner and pressure wash it every other day. The opposite day, we still hose it down. We’re pretty big on cleaning. You have to have a clean place to have dogs.”
Some of these dogs are real loud. I’m not sure what their deal is but the staff handles it really well and makes sure that everybody plays nice.
“We do have dogs who are vocal and we work on barking,” said Black. “If they don’t listen verbally, we do spray them with a spray bottle. If they’re being naughty or too crazy, they’ll get a timeout. They’ll go in a kennel for 20 or 30 minutes if they did anything too bad.”
I sure missed you last weekend but the kennel was really comfortable and I enjoyed having my own space.
“The only difference in boarding and daycare is that they’re spending the night,” said Black. “They’re still interacting with the dogs. They still go down to eat. They have separate kennels. They eat at about 5:30 and after resting their stomachs for 30 minutes, they’re so tired from being here all day and from all the interaction, they usually go right to sleep. I have staff who come back every night of the week between 8-10 so the last time they get taken out is usually a quarter to 10. During the week, I’m usually here around 5:45 a.m.”
I had the most incredible day at doggy daycare. I’ve made so many new friends. I just love meeting new dogs. It’s fun to interact with all the different sizes and breeds of pups that come to Doggy Depot.
“Daycare is good socialization, especially when dogs are young. They’re around different people, noises and dogs. It makes a difference when they’re a puppy,” said Co-owner Becky Black. “When we introduce a dog, we bring them into an area by him or herself. We let them sniff through the fence and let them get used to the dogs. If they seem OK after about 15-20 minutes, we’ll bring one dog in and see how it goes and introduce them. Then we bring another dog in. After four or five dogs, if the dog is fine, we’ll introduce them. There’s always two people in when introducing dogs.
“Some dogs are great and happy and excited to come. Then there are some that are a little bit shy that takes them a few times. We know who will be fine and who we need to spend extra time with.”
About Doggy Depot
Doggy Depot has been open for 13 years. They offer dog daycare and boarding and are open seven days a week. “It’s a fun and different experience for the dogs,” said Co-owner Becky Black. “It’s fun seeing the improvement in the dogs. It makes me really happy when a customer walks in and says, ‘He’s been whining since two miles down the road.’
3224 8th St. S, Moorhead
* Note: There are several services in town that offer similar services to Doggy Daycare.