From doggy day care to yoga with your dogs, Lawrence canine business expanding
photo by: Journal-World photo/Chad Lawhorn
I don’t send my dog to doggy day care. I’m sure he thinks he sends me to people day care. But make no mistake, dog day care is big business in Lawrence and is getting bigger. Plans have been filed by an existing canine company to triple its capacity in a new eastern Lawrence facility.
Wagmore Canine Enrichment has filed plans with City Hall to move into a vacant office building at 1735 Haskell Ave., the former home of ChaDa Sales. Wagmore currently is at 1411 W. 23rd St. in a building behind Natural Grocers.
“We are just growing and need a bigger space,” said Jeannene Loewenstein, who owns the business with fellow dog trainer Jerri Johnson.
The new facility is about 3,000 square feet, compared with the 1,000 square-foot space the business currently has. That will allow the business to double its kennel space to about 16 kennels. The dog day care business could grow to accommodate about 75 animals, up from a max of about 30 today.
One of the biggest improvements on tap is a large outdoor area. The current location doesn’t have an outdoor area. This one will have the extra benefit of being lined with artificial turf, which Loewenstein thinks canine owners will appreciate.
“With the artificial turf, they don’t go home dirty from playing in the dirt and mud,” she said.
Loewenstein hopes to have the new location open before the holidays. Renovation work, however, isn’t expected to begin until late September.
The new facility will be just the latest project for Wagmore, which has been open in Lawrence for nine years. In March, the company opened a 6,000 square-foot satellite location that offers dog-training classes.
The training center is at 2525 Iowa St. in space directly behind HuHot Mongolian Grill. The business offers classes in basic manners and puppy socialization but also has some specialized offerings. Those include: “fun-gility,” which teaches dogs how to maneuver obstacle courses; nose work classes, which involves teaching dogs how to respond to certain smells; and “doga,” which is a class where people do yoga but their dogs are hanging out as part of the class. (But what happens when the instructor calls for the downward dog pose?)
The training center can host classes of up to 20 dogs at a time, and business has been brisk.
“We had 14 puppies last night,” Loewenstein said.
Canine businesses do seem to be growing in the city. In July I reported that Woof’s Play, Stay & Grooming had filed plans to locate in the 23rd Street building that formerly housed Half-Price Books and before that was a post office.
“It was one of the few industries that continued to grow during the recession,” Loewenstein said. “And it is still growing.”
She said a significant shift has occurred in the idea of providing day care for dogs.
“There are just more people who want their dogs to have something to do rather than just hanging out at the house all day,” Loewenstein said. “There are more people who consider their dogs family members rather than something that stays out in the backyard.”