Last Easter, I bought my first dog, a spunky little Schnoodlehuahua (Schnauzer + Poodle + Chihuahua) puppy we named Persie.
Since then, I’ve been playing it by ear. My family never really had pets, so I’m learning all the lessons of pet ownership all at once. (Lesson #1: Don’t leave your lunch out or it will DISAPPEAR. Lesson #2: Anything with stuffing inside it will be immediately destroyed.)
I had no clue where to turn when it was time to fly to Florida for a weeklong family vacation. None of my friends could take in a rambunctious puppy, and I didn’t know what to look for in a boarding kennel.
I needed someone I trusted to take care of the most precious thing I own, and if there’s anyone who understands that, it’s Jeremy King, co-founder of The Watering Bowl, a cage-free kennel with a location in South County.
“People hear doggy day care, and they immediately think it’s a foo-foo rich thing that people do for their poodles,” King told Patch back when they opened in 2011.
Despite Persie being 25 percent poodle, I am definitely neither rich nor “foo-foo.” I mean, the decline of the news/media industry is so ubiquitous it’s practically cliché, and journalist salaries are part of that decline. I couldn’t pamper my pup if I wanted to, but I do care about my little gal.
So I called The Watering Bowl.
The process starts with a free 2-hour “sniff around,” a mini-trial period where Persie got to experiment with being in a pack of rowdy dogs while the boyfriend and I ate at the Lion’s Choice up the street.
At first, the sniff around seemed silly. I mean, this isn’t kindergarten. But the sniff around taught us everything we needed to know to feel safe leaving Persie:
- Boarded dogs out on the floor with other dogs all day. They can run and play inside or outside under the watchful eye of human employees.
- This place seems perfect for big dogs who need plenty of exercise every day, but for our little 15-pound pup, there’s a room for small dogs only.
- Every day, the doggie day care posts photos and videos of the dogs, so you can check in and see how they are doing. They even caption the photos, which I know takes a lot of time!
- Someone is at the kennel 24 hours a day, which was very important to us.
So the next day, we dropped Persie off at The Watering Bowl on Lindbergh and drove up I-270 to the airport. And every night, we checked the photos posted on Facebook to catch a glimpse of our Schnoodlehuahua, but otherwise, we knew our doggie was being well taken care of.
We still struggled with the price tag: $37 per night for boarding, with extra fees if you can’t drop off/pick up your pooch between their standard hours. But in the end, a happy dog and a little support for a local business made the trip worth it.
Have you used The Watering Bowl? Share your experience in the comments!