Spacious rooms, trained coaches, and a menu of spa services. At first read, you might envision some sort of state-of-the-art health resort, but in fact, you’re glancing over just a few of the features of Warwick’s newest doggie daycare, Dogtopia.
“We understand that dogs are a member of the family,” say owners Jennifer and David Giardino. “Dogtopia provides pet parents with more than just a place to leave their dog for the day.”
The first Dogtopia opened in Virginia in 2002, when the concept of dog daycare was still new and the idea of modeling it after a children’s daycare – and in their case, creating “indoor dog parks” – was unheard of. Today, there are more than 120 Dogtopia daycare centers in North America and a goal of 400 by 2023. The Giardinos open the first in Rhode Island this month.
Dogtopia is exactly what it sounds like – a utopia for dogs. There are four indoor, climate-controlled playrooms lined with compressed rubber flooring (for your pup’s paw health) that are routinely sanitized with pet-friendly cleaners. Certified canine coaches, trained to recognize even subtle changes in a dog’s body language, supervise each room, where dogs are matched with furry friends of similar size, temperament, and play styles. There’s even a fully equipped spa that promises to leave your pup “looking like a million bones!” and web cams for “pet parents” to check in through a mobile app, which also acts as an interface to request appointments and boarding and keep you up-to-date.
“Our favorite part is not only making a difference in the dog’s life while they are in our facility,” says Jennifer, “but also we are excited to ‘fetch it forward’.” She’s referencing The Dogtopia Foundation, a nonprofit connecting dogs with organizations that support causes like service dogs for veterans, youth literacy programs, and employment initiatives for adults with autism. “We hope to fund at least one service dog with our efforts in year one!”
Says the couple, as they gear up for the grand opening March 9, “Our hopes for the future are to make a difference in the lives of as many dogs – and pet parents – as we can in Rhode Island.”