"There’s a lot of people who, if I turned them away, would not have anywhere to take their dogs, and I would feel terrible turning them away," says Megan Gourlie, who runs Dogtown Cincinnati, a pet daycare and boarding facility in Mount Auburn. "I’m really close to my customers and for the most part know everybody by name."
The facility already has plans for expansion, and its employees have cared for as many as 90 dogs at once, with about one handler per every 25 to 35 dogs. This number varies based on how many rooms are in use and the time of day. Because the Dogtown is a 24-hour facility, the business offers both daytime and night-hour staff.
Gourlie’s pretty well-connected to her customer base. After all, she was once a frustrated pet owner herself.
After rescuing a dog who, it turned out, "couldn’t be left alone with having a total breakdown," Gourlie struggled to find care for him during the day. She didn’t want to leave the Weimaraner puppy in a doggie daycare that used kennels, kept dogs indoors most of the day or would drain her wallet with extra fees for walks or administering medications. Eventually, she sat down and did some research.
It turned out that there were plenty of people looking for the same thing: a kennel-free, 24-hour facility where dogs would have plenty of time to roam freely, play and nap. When she opened Dogtown Cincinnati, second-shift workers finally had a place to leave their pets overnight in a "homelike environment," and Gourlie even worked out a way to introduce new dogs slowly to smaller packs so new dogs felt comfortable.
These days, pet owners can watch their dogs and cats (there’s a separate area for felines at the facility) online through 15 live webcams, as well as periodic photos posted on Facebook.
"We are the place that allows you to have a dog if you couldn’t have a dog before," Gourlie says. "A lot of people are actually getting dogs because we’re here. In college I could never have a dog because I didn’t have the time and resources. We cater to second shift. We love second shift people; we’ll do overnight; and we’re really good for business travelers who don’t want to kennel their dogs."
By Robin Donovan