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.