Doggone delighted

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  • Larger dogs spend time together in a play area at Coeur d’Alene Pet Resort. (Photos by KEITH ERICKSON)

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    Small dogs enjoy space to themselves at Coeur d’Alene Pet Resort.

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    Dawn Kelp, of Coeur d’Alene Pet Resort, holds one of the pooches at her business.

  • Larger dogs spend time together in a play area at Coeur d’Alene Pet Resort. (Photos by KEITH ERICKSON)

  • 1

    Small dogs enjoy space to themselves at Coeur d’Alene Pet Resort.

  • 2

    Dawn Kelp, of Coeur d’Alene Pet Resort, holds one of the pooches at her business.

If dogs could laugh, there would be no mistaking the sunny spirit at Coeur d’Alene Pet Resort and Doggie Day Care. Like a grade school playground, positive energy is everywhere when dozens of dogs converge and socialize with newfound friends.

From pint-sized Yorkies to giant Great Danes, four-legged visitors at Pet Resort have plenty to keep them busy at the spacious 17,000-square-foot business—whether it’s a day stay while their owners are at work, or a prolonged visit to accommodate vacation getaways and holidays.

With summer at the doorstep, it’s an especially busy time at pet boarding businesses.

“We do a lot of extended stays his time of year,” says Pet Resort owner Dawn Kelp. “Yesterday, we had 100 dogs.”

Separated by size and temperament, there are generally three playgroups and no shortage of fun activities with secure indoor and outdoor play areas at Pet Resort, located at 125 E. Hazel Ave. off Government Way.

Under close supervision, dogs can challenge their skills on an agility course, romp on play equipment and even indulge in scavenger hunts in search of jerky treats hidden in a kiddie pool filled with colorful plastic balls.

For the overnighters, there are “luxury boarding rooms”—some even boasting entertainment systems including TVs and stereos. After a full day of play, overnight dogs are secured in their private room with accommodations from home including food, blankets and their favorite toys provided by their owners.

Pet Resort boasts 52 individual themed suites and “kitty condos” complete with play areas and artificial turf indoors and outdoors.

Day care businesses for pets, Kelp says, “are becoming more specialized with added enrichment programs so we’re always looking at what other businesses are doing and learning new ways to improve services.”

And like many other animal boarding businesses, Pet Resort offers grooming services and six-week obedience classes complete with a graduation ceremony.

Similar to curious children at recess, Kelp says Pet Resort visitors love to seek out play pals to chum around with during their stay.

“It’s fun to watch because they pick their own friends,” she says. “And it’s not always their own breed or in the same age group.”

And that bond extends beyond the pets.

Kelp says her “regulars” build relationships with her staff and many will bound out of their owners’ vehicles when they arrive and trot straight to the door to get let in. Once inside, they know exactly where to dart.

Years ago, one dog in particular, “Smurf,” a lab/Great Dane mix, bonded with staff—especially Dawn’s late husband, Dave, who passed away suddenly in 2012.

“Smurf would always look for Dave and he sensed when he was gone,” Kelp says. “It’s pretty amazing to see the dogs run through the door and look for the staff they’re familiar with.”

Elsewhere in the Lake City, family-run Dog N It Day Care and Kennel at 2900 N. Government Way offers its services on a smaller scale, with 20 overnight kennels, says owner Cynthia Rozyla.

“Our niche is we are smaller and able to give individual attention,” she says. That one-on-one philosophy is in practice even during the busier summer months when Dog N It is typically at capacity.

“We’re pretty much booked through the summer,” Rozyla says, adding the business is civic minded.

Working closely with various nonprofits, Rozyla says, Dog N It is an avid supporter of the community and offers discounted day care rates to people participating or volunteering in local organized events such as Ironman or Car d’Alene.

A supporter of the Kootenai Humane Society, Dog N It also helps connect lost pets with their owners, taking in wayward animals and helping them find their owners.

“As a family-run business, we’re strong supporters of the community,” she says. “When we started Dog N It about two years ago, we were looking for a business that we could all buy into and get excited about—and that’s what we have.”

At Northwest Pet Resort, 1717 Northwest Boulevard, Scott and Ashley Ansel offer a variety of services: a full-service doggie spa, doggie daycare, overnight boarding for dogs and cats, training and merchandise.

“We are always trying to stay on top of what we’re putting forth, not only in terms of product and merchandise, but that we’re making changes and staying on top of where the facility is at as far as being the best for our guests,” Scott said.

Giving back to the community is important to the owners of Northwest Pet Resort also.

“We want to continue improving our community and environment,” Scott told North Idaho Business Journal last month. “We are currently partnering with Blackwood Foods and Adirondack Foods and we are feeding 16 of our local police canines and fire search and rescue dogs so that they can allocate those funds elsewhere in their budget.

“Being able to do things like the local skate park fundraisers or giving back to area schools or various fundraising auctions, it doesn’t necessarily have to be dogs; we just want people to know that we are blessed that we have a platform to be able to give back and push it forward.”

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