Chewing Through the Apron Strings
Learn how to cope and plan when leaving Fido at the kennel for the first time.
I can only imagine that the feeling is somewhat similar to a parent dropping their child off at daycare for the very first time—the fear of some smelly, strange child with a wet drippy nose coughing on your dear little one; the thought of an over-size bully picking on your sweet diminutive angel; or worse yet, the idea of your well-behaved mini-me bringing home bad habits.
Moreover, what about the atrocious facilities? Could any dungeon possibly be as clean and nurturing as the warm, loving paradise my baby has never gone a day without? Perhaps calling it a “dungeon” is still too kind—what if it is more like an uninviting, repugnant, concrete shell feebly held up by four, bleak, weary walls with the Wicked Witch of the West as the warden?
Oh, the horror!
These are the exact thoughts that sped through my mind when I realized I would have to board my Fido for the very first time. As a first-time pet parent, and what friends and family would describe as nothing less than an overzealous mother, I had always vowed to never kennel my pup. Imagine living in a world of lollipops and rainbows to all of a sudden being thrown into a world of cold cages, squealing dogs and no midnight cuddling? Drama Queen—I think not! Used to nothing less than premium kibble, all-natural baked goods, 24-hour fold-down service and an endless amount of tummy rubs, my Fido’s life defines luxury. If you catch yourself nodding your head in understanding and have never boarded your dog, there may come a day when you are faced with the harsh reality of having to travel without Fido. Never fret! Funny as it sounds for me to say, as I am affectionately known to be a worrywart, you must suck it up, face your fears and learn how to let go. Besides, you might actually come to fi nd that Fido will have a wagtastic time on his very own pawcation.
Here is the Full, Exclusive Interview with Fetch Doggie Daycare…
FIDO Friendly interviewed Portland, Oregon’s Fetch Doggie Daycare co-owner, Britt Mueller-Anderson to hear how she and husband, Adam Mueller, set their daycare apart from the rest of the pack.
FIDO FRIENDLY: How long have you owned Fetch?
BRITT MUELLER-ANDERSON: We purchased Fetch in June of 2009, and celebrated our one year anniversary by having each dog that came in that week create paw-print keepsakes for their parents.
FIDO FRIENDLY: What was the defining moment that made you decide to own a doggy daycare/boarding?
BRITT MUELLER-ANDERSON: After dog-walking my way through a liberal arts degree and then dabbling in a career working with exchange students, I realized the best part of my day was when I was with the dogs—nothing else gave me that deep-seated sense of fulfillment. To some, the work I do might seem frivolous, but to me and the dogs, it is very meaningful. When I saw a chance to actually make a living at it, I took a leap of faith and have not looked back since. Adam came to volunteer at Fetch when the recession eliminated his long-time job operating a printing press. He was looking for something to occupy him during the day, but soon discovered that he was a natural working with dogs. The dogs took one look at Adam and fell in love, and he has returned their devotion by devoting himself to their happiness ever since.
FIDO FRIENDLY: What makes Fetch so much more special than other daycares/boarding?
BRITT MUELLER-ANDERSON: Several things make Fetch stand out. For one, we are a real mom-and-pop kind of business. Every time we get a new dog at Fetch, we welcome that dog (and their human) into our family. Second, we are a relatively small facility (in terms of dogs, not square feet). This means that each dog can receive one-on-one attention, and it also allows us to take in dogs that other daycares might shy away from. For example, we have been able to work with dogs in wheelchairs, dogs that are completely blind or deaf and dogs that have been rescued from abusive homes. We pride ourselves in being able to fully integrate these dogs into our pack.
FIDO FRIENDLY: Tell me a little bit about your facility and program(s).
BRITT MUELLER-ANDERSON: We are equipped with approximately 3,200 square feet of indoor play space, plenty of toys, play-structures and comfy furniture. A full day of daycare is $25, and a pick-up by 12:30 PM is $17. We also offer 5-packs and 10-packs that can save you 5% or 10%, respectively. For multi-dog families, the second dog receives a 50% overall discount. We offer two types of boarding: boarding with daycare and boarding without daycare. Boarding with daycare is $35/night. These dogs spend most of their time frolicking with the daycare group and are only in their private kennels for eating meals and sleeping at night. Boarding without daycare is $25/ night and is an ideal option for older and/or less social dogs. These dogs are given one-on-one time with a staff member morning, noon and evening, but are kept separate from the daycare group. We have 13 kennels, so we are neither too crowded nor too small. Each private kennel is 5’ x 5’. Our boarding kennels are arranged so that the dogs can see each other which the dogs seem to really appreciate.
Fetch Doggie Daycare, 2021 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Portland, OR 97212; daycare rate ranges $17-25 per day, boarding ranges $25-35 per night, discounts are available based on length of stay or daycare packs; (503) 281-0508; fetchdaycare.com; facebook.com/fetchdogs; twitter.com/fetchdaycare.