Monday, March 3rd, 2008
By Shelley Grieshop
How to avoid a rrruff day
Celina daycare offers a chance to get out and socialize, bounce around
  Betty Smith's little one just loves to go to daycare.
Playing with friends gets the 8-month-old so excited, he sometimes jumps around the room licking everyone and everything in sight. And that's perfectly OK at Doggie Daycare.
The daycare program at Celina Pet Center is an oasis of fun for the little Yorkshire terrier, says Smith, the co-owner of Deluxe Dry Cleaners in Celina.
"He really enjoys going there," she says, as Corky paces in circles near her feet.
Early each morning the young pup goes to the dry cleaners with his owner. For a little while, he's satisfied resting on the floor but by 7 a.m. he's up on all fours and ready to roll.
"It's uncanny, he just knows when it's about time to go to daycare and he can't wait," she says. "He starts jumping all over the place. He gives me that look like 'come on, let's get going.' "
For many families, work, school and other daylong obligations mean man's best friend is either caged or placed in a restricted area at home, sometimes left alone for more than eight hours at a time. Doggie Daycare - a growing trend across the country - offers options.
"This is just like a preschool or daycare for kids," says Tim Axe, office manager at the pet center along Havemann Road. "It especially helps puppies get acclimated to being away from their owners."
Many area veterinary offices provide boarding services but most don't offer specialized programs suited for four-legged visitors who stay just for the day.
Axe says the program at the center costs about $5 per day and all dogs must be current on their vaccines. The deal includes a daily walking, individual play time and a house training regiment that mimic's the dog's routine at home.
"Last week, one of the workers brought in a birthday cake for her dog and they had a party," Axe says laughing. "Yeah, it was fun. Each dog got a treat and a stuffed animal. They all seemed to like it."
Skittish puppies quickly get accustomed to a ringing phone, customers' voices and the buzz of grooming tools. The experience helps calm the furry creatures as they come face to face with other dogs, teaching them how to react properly and play together in an acceptable manner, Axe says.
Canine daycare also comes in handy when owners want to entertain or shampoo carpets and need their pet out of the house for a few hours, Axe says.
"It's less stressful on the dogs later when they're boarded. If they're not used to being away from home, sometimes they refuse to eat. They can get homesick just like kids," he adds.
For Smith, taking Corky to daycare isn't much different than the days years ago when her two sons went to a baby sitter. Just like Corky, the boys looked forward to getting treats, playing with their friends and birthday parties.
Licking everyone, however, was never OK.
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