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It's a Dog's Life at My Dawg House

These pampered pooches get playtime, primping and even "pupsicles" at the "play-care" center and boarding house on East Street.

Step inside the doors of 1700 East Street and the sleek decor, friendly receptionist and stylish retail area might make you think you're at a spa or salon — until you notice the intricate paintings of dogs adorning the walls.

Perhaps the bone-shaped cushions and doggie statue will alert you to the true nature of this establishment. My Dawg House is a dog "play-care" center and boarding house that also offers grooming services and a dog boutique. 

Doors opened July 9 and now dog owners from as far as Danville and San Ramon are bringing their precious pups to play for the day or stay for the night.

The 6,100 sq. ft. facility houses three play areas forming a kind of puppy kindergarten — "Barks and Recreation" for small dogs, "Ruffington Square" for high energy, large dogs and "The Hound Lounge" for older, low energy dogs — plus an outdoor play area complete with seasonal decorations and a play structure. 

The daily routine includes a two-hour nap time when handlers turn down the lights, put away the toys and even read the pups a story — usually Scooby Doo. Every owner gets a report card at the end of the day detailing the dog's behavior, food consumption and bodily functions. 

For overnight guests, My Dawg House becomes a pet hotel. There are nine overnight suites, two of which are "family size." Dogs staying for a meal can choose from a made-in-house menu of organic treats like turkey quiche and "pupsicles," or get prim and proper in the salon-style grooming center.

Co-owners Dan Jones, Karl Schultz and Stuart Bond were inspired to start the business after discovering a lack of clean, comfortable dog accommodation in the area. None of them had ever run a business before, and each is now doing so while still holding down a regular, full-time job. Jones works in property management, Schultz is in construction management and Bond is with PG&E. 

"It keeps us busy," said Jones. "It's difficult sometimes, but it's worth it."

And so far, My Dawg House is meeting all the financial projections, Jones said.

The House is consistently at or near capacity for small dogs, which Client Services Representative Kim Patterson says is due to BART commuters taking advantage of early drop-off and late pick-up. During the week, dogs can arrive from 5 a.m. and stay until 7 p.m. — or up until 9 p.m. for an extra fee. 

Unlike other doggie daycare and boarding services, says Patterson, the dogs here are monitored 24 hours a day by staff communicating via walkie talkie. The front desk also has a multi-camera view of all areas. 

Not all dogs are suited to My Dawg House, though. Pooches should be friendly and at ease around other dogs and must go through an assessment before joining the clan.

My Dawg House hopes to expand in the future and even offer training and vaccinations. Meanwhile, clients are quickly discovering that Jones himself is the artist responsible for the dog paintings on the walls — and now his busy schedule includes deflecting requests for commissions. 

For more information on My Dawg House, plus prices for day care, boarding and grooming, visit the My Dawg House website.

Have you and your pooch visited My Dawg House? How was it? Share your experience in the comments.

Terri Lowe November 13, 2012 at 07:21 AM
Hello, I received an email from MyDawgHouse owners Dan, Karl, and Stuart today that they have sold the business to Julie Liu, who owns Just Pet Me in Oakland, CA. I see that the posted hours have been changed to 6:30 - 7:30pm and the rates have increased a bit as well. I had reserved to board my dog when I plan to go on vacation for 5 nights the week after Thanksgiving. I'm just hoping that everything will still work out fine.
Terri Lowe November 26, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Hello, I'm posting an update to say that I am still planning to board my dog Prince at MyDawgHouse this week. The new owner Julie Liu had personally taken the time to call and tell me about her commitment to keeping MyDawgHouse open and making it a wonderful, fun, caring, and safe place for dogs. Prince and I have met Julie in person twice now and we felt very comfortable with her. Julie explained to me how she was contacted very suddenly and was offered the opportunity to take over the business, but was required to make the decision very quickly. I feel that we should be thankful to Julie; else, the future existence of MyDawgHouse might not be a happy one. I am so very glad that a doggie daycare and boarding facility such as MyDawgHouse (even though the name may change) exists in our community and I shall continue to support it. I understand the need to make changes that will help the business survive in today's difficult economy. When I return from my trip and pick up my dog Prince, I will post an update about the boarding experience, so stay tuned.
Terri Lowe December 09, 2012 at 05:45 AM
Hello, while on vacation, I called each day to inquire about how Prince was doing and was happy to hear that he was adjusting well to his boarding experience. He's usually not one to play much with other dogs, but likes to just "meet and greet (sniff)" instead. I was pleasantly surprised when it was reported on one day, Prince barked and ran around the play area chasing another dog to play. On a couple of occasions, I spoke to Prince over the telephone's speaker while the handler, including Julie one day, held the phone close to him; Prince even talked (barked) back (lol)!. Each day, it was reported that Prince was a well-behaved boy who was mellow most of the time, and ate all of his food and drank his water. I was also told that each night, Prince slept well in a special "doggie bedroom" and had his own private space with a cot and blanket. Upon my return to pick up Prince, it sure seemed that he enjoyed his stay at MyDawgHouse so much that he looked a bit sad to have to leave. While there, he had an opportunity to meet and play with a number of different dogs, as well as many of the dog handlers who gave him treats (which he loves) and special attention. Overall, I would say that Prince had a wonderful boarding experience where he got to play all day and everyone there took great care of him. I will definitely to take Prince there again for doggie "playcare" and boarding. Many thanks to everyone at MyDawgHouse!!

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