We all know how much I love my ridiculously high energy Weasel-Dog, but sometimes I find myself thinking thoughts like “OH MY GOD WILL SHE EVER STOP!?” or “I would pay good money for her to just go to sleep right now.” So I got to thinking and realized that there are indeed establishments that exist where you can pay for your dog to be tired out- doggy day cares!
I spent an afternoon touring various day cares and picked the one I liked the best. I toured the facilities and questioned the staff about their attendant:dog ratio, activity schedule, sports programs, AP classes, college acceptance rates…. all the usual stuff. I decided on Belladoggie, run by the owners of Belladonna Day Spa (for people), so I thought that was a good sign. The staff was friendly, they had an awesome outdoor play area, and the dogs all looked happy. Good enough for me, so I figured we’d give it try.
Before she could officially enroll in daycare, I had to take Pepper in for her behavior assessment, which I assumed would be a breeze. My social-butterfly of a hound who is a hit at the dog park and loves playing with all of the neighborhood dogs would have no problem fitting in at daycare. She would be one of the most popular dogs in her group in no time, making friends paw over tail! So when we arrived at the daycare for her assessment, I wasn’t the slightest bit nervous. A very nice attendant took Pepper to the back to meet her new friends and I began filling out her paperwork.
About 10 minutes later the attendant came back with Pepper and I couldn’t wait to hear about how well she did.
Attendant: “So, has Pepper been around a lot of other dogs before?”
Me: “Oh yeah! She goes to the dog park all the time and plays a few times a week with the neighborhood dogs.”
Attendant: “Really? Hmmm….”
Me: “Why…? How did she do?”
Attendant: “Well…. she seemed really nervous, and hid behind me, and tried to run away when other dogs approached her.”
Wait, what!?!? My dog? Pepper? The queen of being overbearing in social situations? The dog that practically forces every dog she meets to be her best friend whether they like it or not? Seriously? She was SHY!?!
Me: “Wow… that’s kind of weird. ”
Attendant: “I would recommend bringing her back for a couple of hours early one morning so she will be one of the first dogs here and can slowly get used to the other dogs.”
Me: “That sounds good! So…. she didn’t fail, right?”
Attendant: “Oh, definitely not! I probably would have led with that if she had.”
Me: “Ok, well that’s a relief!”
Great, so now my dog is the awkward, shy dog of the group. This may seriously hinder our dream of becoming Queen of the Barkus Mardi Gras krewe, which was supposed to be the spring board for her modeling career and subsequent reality show.
I knew we must persevere, however, so after having a bit of a pep talk with Pepper about social skills and why it’s important to try new things and make new friends, even if it feels scary sometimes, we went back to daycare on Monday. I had thought about sending her with a basket full of homemade dog biscuits, but I wasn’t quite to the point of using bribes in exchange for friendship just yet, as that might really make me seem crazy (like the rest of this doesn’t….). I decided I would give her another chance to let her personality shine. I left her at daycare for about 3 hours and when I picked her up the staff reported that she was still shy, but did better. She also made friends with LuluBelle, Roxanne, and Jax and they “had fun touring the yard together”. They also indicated that she was “attentive, curious, relaxed, and easy-going”. Again, what!? I’m starting to wonder if they actually know which dog is mine. Easy-going? Really?
She went back for a half day on Thursday while I was in class. It was reported that she was very “outgoing” and “playful” the entire time she was there and made lots of friends, so she is making progress.
I predict in about two weeks they’ll be struggling to find positive sounding synonyms for “crazy”, “hyperactive, and “excessively extroverted”, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Stay tuned for more updates, as I have a suspicion there will be entertaining stories to be told.
But hey, in the mean time, at least she’s tired out 🙂