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Thursday, February 26, 2009

BUSINESS PROFILE: Almost Home Doggie Day Care

Creating Their Dream Job,
Forestville's Sherrie Owens & Kim Crumb
Almost Home Doggie Day Care

Jake, a Mini-Pincher, visits in half-day increments to rid him of separation anxiety and a fear of large dogs. He no longer cries and barks at the gate of the indoor area. Instead, tail up and wagging, he’s traipsing along near Chubbaca, a large Malamute/Shepherd mix, and Peyton, a lovely Golden retriever, with a smiling Cavalier in tow.

Jake’s real life next door dog, Stella the Cavalier, recently lost her Golden Retriever companion. Jake and Stella have always barked and snarled at each other through the fence, but had never met nose to nose. Their people like each other, but the dog animosity is tiring. Today Jake is showing Stella around the yard and as an “old timer” seems to comfort her on her first day. Without leashes, fences, and turf to defend they are free to be friends.

When Kim and I met, I was breeding Golden Retrievers. Kim knew it was true love when I told him that I loved him as much as my dog Sam. We’ve been married almost thirty years, and have always had at least two dogs in the household. Kim is a Handyman/Carpenter Extraordinaire and has even engineered fire trucks for a living. I have been a Chief Financial Officer for a multitude of not-for-profit organizations. Over the years we have discussed various ideas about a business revolving around dogs.

Late last summer, just a 1½ miles south of downtown Forestville, we found a terrific location for lease on Highway 116. The building is 2,000+ square feet, with over ¼ acre of fenced yard at the back. The owners of the building, Jack and Pat Sissel, allowed us to transform the building and yard into a safe, fun place for dogs. We have set up separate areas inside for large and small dogs, and are able to introduce a new dog to the others without an overwhelming rush of wet dog noses. The yard is also partitioned, but is gated to allow the sections to be joined for maximum running and chasing.

When we have dogs for an overnight stay they go home with us. For our “sleep-overs” the dogs spend the evening by the fire, and then go to bed with our dogs in the kitchen. Because of limited space we only have about 4 dogs maximum that we take home. We had a couple of dogs stay two weeks with us during the Christmas vacation.

We have a fantastic raised bathtub with a ramp and warm water. You can bathe your dogs yourself, or we will bathe them for you. This is a wonderful way to keep your bathroom clean, and spare your back in the process.

Brown ears flopping like thick furry wings, Sophie, the Springer Spaniel rockets by me, pea gravel scattering as Sonoma the Beagle chases after her, intent on the tug she has managed to wrest from him. They dash through one of the gates and on up through the bushes at the rear fence. About the yard, singly, or in small groups several more assorted dogs rest, play, or sniff. From a dog’s perspective this must be perfection, and it is pretty darn great for us too.

Sherrie Owens and Ki crumb: 707-823-4663

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