Photo:  Courtney Smith owner of K9 Devine in Bridge City is in the company of her canine companions.

Staff Report

For The Record

Playful pups scamper across the indoor area filled with chew toys, balls, toddler beds. A caregiver walks among the happy pack, at times throwing a ball, scratching a furry head and passing out treats. While most of the dogs are on the move, some are napping on the mattresses, at least until a friend comes and nudges them to play. Mastiffs, Yorkshire terriers, retrievers, dachshunds, poodles, pugs and mutts – they all come to play at K9 Devine’s doggie daycare in Bridge City. Dogs can get lonely and depressed when their people are at work all day. And their people can feel so guilty knowing their pups are sad and bored. Then there’s the fear factor of knowing the pooches might be tearing up the couch cushions and leaving little poop packages all over the house — unless they’re kept caged, which adds more guilt to the pet owner. That’s where doggie day care comes in. For many dogs, it’s a lot better than being left home alone.

Meeting human and animal needs

According to Courtney Denmon “Dogs that only stay home usually lack social skills and are usually not having their needs met,” she said. “They may tend to be extremely hyper and under-stimulated or overweight and bored.”K9 Devine’s human clients have different needs concerning their dogs. Some work and don’t want their pets home alone, some want their pups to be active all day so they come home worn out, and some want to keep their pooches in a social atmosphere. “The only thing all the clients have in common is a deep love for their dogs,” The canine clients run the gamut from four-pound Yorkies to 120-pound Great Danes and various mixes and sizes in between. The ages range from puppies to seniors, but young, active dogs seem to be the most frequent customers.

Admission policy

Prospective dog clients must pass an free evaluation before being accepted into the pack. “The evaluation is very important for the safety and well being of the current pack, the new dog coming in and staff. We make sure that the new dogs are OK with all types of dogs. The dogs must be up-to-date on their vaccines, all large dogs must be spayed or neutered and flea-free. Once they are accepted into the day care, the fee is $17 a day with discounts for multiple dogs and multiple daysbought in advance. Grooming and overnight care are also available.

A day in the life

Clients of Courtney Smith enjoy their stay at K9 Devine in Bridge City.

At K9 Devine, the dogs are never left unsupervised and multiple activities are done to keep the dogs stimulated. Some favorite activities include sprinklers, fetch, tug of war, bubbles. They also have free play and nap time. The climate-controlled indoor play area is neat and clean with not a puddle or pile to be seen.“We take the dogs outside for potty breaks every 30 minutes,so they really don’t have many accidents, And just as in any good daycare, time-outs are given for bad behavior. “Yes, we do give time-outs, and yes, they do work”. “The dogs have to sit or lie down and stay for at least a minute to calm down. If they can’t calm down, they go on a leash or in a crate for a few minutes.” The most important aspects of doggie day care, are socialization, exercise and discipline. “And of course,”she added, “I can’t leave out lots of love and affection!”