October 17, 2021

Wolf Fun

Plink Plink Pets

Dog groomers, doggy day care still experiencing increased demand

Pandemic puppies — a term often used for dogs acquired over the last year and a half — are all too common in dog parks and home offices. But for the businesses that serve them, like doggy day care, boarding and grooming, there have been a lot of ups and downs. 

“It’s been awful,” said Cathy Sutton, owner of Happy Tails Doggy Daycare in Franklin. “We suffered for lack of business for a long time, and then when things opened back up, everybody during that period decided to get a dog, and so then we were just bombarded with people that wanted to come to day care.”

Sutton, who has been operating for almost 20 years, said at first, with people working at home, they didn’t need the day care’s services, even though she said dogs benefit greatly from interacting with other dogs. But now the business has been having trouble hiring enough staff to keep up with demand, and dog interviews for new dogs at the day care are booked through December.

For dogs that manage to snag a spot, it isn’t always easy.

“We specialize in behavior at Happy Tails, and so we are trying very hard to support the dogs in their social skills so that out of the facility, they can be prepared to meet other dogs and know what to do,” Sutton said. “The pandemic puppies don’t have a clue, because the only way you can learn this stuff is from other dogs.”

A passerby watches as Tricia McCart, owner of Scrub A Dog in Maynard, cleans the ears of Harry, an 11-year-old basset hound, at Anytime Dog Wash on Main Street in Hudson, Aug. 20, 2021.

Practice makes perfect, and that goes for routine procedures like grooming and nail clipping, too.

“We find we have longer hours, because we spend more time going slowly with the puppies,” said Tricia McCart, owner of Scrub a Dog in Maynard.

Her daughter Julia and son Will recently opened Anytime Dog Wash in Hudson, a small grooming and self-service facility that has helped with the demand.