If anybody knows about dogs, fresh air and wide-open spaces, it’s three farm women with professional credentials and perhaps the roomiest canine daycare and boarding spot around.
“We thought we’d bring country style to the city,” says Kim Boddy, a licensed veterinary technician and former college instructor who runs Hudson’s new 12,000-square-foot K9-Playtime with her daughters, Melissa and Bekah.
“Growing up on a farm, you kind of learn about animal behavior.”
The Boddy team has also learned that fresh-air exercise is important for happy dogs and happy customers –- it’s one of K9-playtime’s biggest selling points.
“We give our dogs a big outdoor area where they can run around like in the country,” notes Melissa, a University of Wisconsin-River Falls biomedical graduate with extensive dog boarding and daycare experience.
K9-Playtime’s 7,200-square-foot, year-round outside exercise area isn’t concrete either. It’s all green grass, scrub growth, play structures, tree shade and dog-friendly romping space. There’s also constant supervision.
“We know dogs, and we know how to handle them,” Melissa explains. “We’re always paying attention and watching their faces. It’s their tails. It’s their ears. It’s the way they hold their heads. We know right away if there’s a problem. We also know what to do about it.”
That starts with the way the Boddys assess, group and manage their canine guests from the beginning, allowing the entire business to be leash-free, including the 4,800 square feet of exercise space inside.
“A dog should never have to be on a leash here,” Melissa explains. “We individually assess every dog that comes in according to how they will get along with others, and we separate them into personalized play groups. So when they’re here, everybody can have a good day.”
Dog visitors spend all day in the exercise areas, and if they’re boarded, they retire to individual kennels at night –- unless they come in with other family canines, in which case they’re kept in their own group. The kennels, too, are arranged by temperament and compatibility.
K9-Playtime’s adjustable indoor exercise-area fencing makes for flexible logistics management –- another of the business’s strong points.
“Any transfer from indoors to outdoors is done through a passage that we set up,” Kim says, for example. “We do it by play group, and we’re continually assessing each play group, so there aren’t any conflicts.”
Dogs with anti-social tendencies can have space of their own. Unlike some other daycare and boarding businesses, K9-Playtime also accommodates convalescing animals and so-called “bully” breeds, a label the Boddy team doesn’t believe in.
“We have the background and the facility to handle all breeds and conditions,” notes Bekah, another vet-clinic pro and a UW-River Falls agricultural studies/animal science graduate. “Some places have a long list of dogs that can’t go in, but we don’t discriminate.”
Health concerns are identified at check-in and managed throughout each visitor’s stay. Staff veterinarian Sara Herrlinger, who also teaches at the University of Minnesota, is on hand for vaccinations and other services. K9-Playtime is fully insured as well.
The business was built for cleanliness too. The building is temperature controlled throughout and equipped with state-of-the-art air exchangers.
“That’s important,” Kim explains. “It keeps things fresh and keeps the air healthy.”
Adds Melissa: “We keep everything very sanitary here. We also clean out everything after our dogs leave.”
Kim, Melissa and Beka all grew up on the family beef farm off County F. Kim and her husband Bob bought it from her parents, who inherited it from Kim’s Swedish-immigrant grandparents.
When Kim’s daughters finished college, they decided to go into business together. K9-Playtime opened Aug. 8 next to Menard’s at 1400 Gateway Circle, just off Gateway Drive and Carmichael Road.
“I didn’t know that I’d own a business working with my daughters, but by this stage of life, I always hoped that we’d be doing something like this together, something with animals anyway,” Kim says.
Since the K9-Playtime idea became a reality, the Boddys have been busy getting the facility ready and spreading the word.
They’ve established contacts with area veterinary clinics, become part of U.S. Bank’s new Business Table, participated in local community events and parades, set up a website (www.k9-playtime.com) and Facebook page, and made new friends wherever they can.
K9-Playtime is offering discounts and specials to encourage potential customers to get to know what they’re about. Newcomers will get the first half-day of daycare free, for example. Every dog gets a free bath on the last day of five-day stays or longer.
“We’re a family business, and we care about your dog as much as we care for our own,” Kim says. “We want people to come here, experience everything we offer and come back.”
For more information, drop in, call (715) 808-8624, check out the website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.