Fido's Fantasy - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Fido's Fantasy

More and more working families find themselves in a bind: what to do about day care? Not for their children but for their dogs. Rather than leave their pets home all day to mope or chew on the furniture, pet owners are looking for an alternative.

We found one: Camp Canine, a country club and spa for dogs in Boca Raton. Barney the bus arrives for another pick-up.

Marilyn: "She has dog ears so she can hear the bus before we hear the bus.

She is Tara, a 3-year-old mixed breed and Tara can't wait to get to Camp Canine.

Marilyn: "I would just open the door and there was no way I could hold her leash. I just had to let her go."

The bus is all part of the service offered by the doggie daycare. Tara is buckles in and she knows she has to follow the rules which include no peeing, no biting, no barking and definitely no pooping.

Marilyn: "She loves to go and she loves for us to pick her up and bring her home. She's a pretty happy girl."

And the fun is just beginning. Here at the camp for $22 a day the dogs roam and play freely.

Vinny Schettino: "It's cageless day care. They're in an environment with other dogs and all they do is play all day long with the counselors and themselves and they get a lot of activity. They get a lot of exercise."

There are two air-conditioned play areas, one for the big dogs and a nursery for the little ones. All the dogs who come to Camp Canine must be healthy and vaccinated and they can't be aggressive. But sometimes even a friendly dog can get frustrated.

Vinny Schettino: "If the dog just had a bad day, then we have a time out."

The offending dog is then segregated for 5 to 10 minutes before being allowed to play again. The camp has as many as 20 employees in its Boca location so counselors are in the rooms at all times and these dogs are pampered. Some get special food and some are even spoon-fed. Their owners are very attached to their pets and often have separation-anxiety.

Vinny Schettino: "They sit out here 5 to 10 minutes with their dog. They'll cry with their dogs. They'll hug their dogs. They'll kiss their dogs."

Camp Canine also offers grooming, lodging and even manicures and nail polish for owners who want that special look for their pets. And for the really pampered pets it sells designer collars and leashes, clothing, and even designer colognes. But the camp aims to be really known for its cleanliness and its caring.

Marilyn: "We're just very appreciative. They treat animals, and you know they love the animals. So that makes us feel not so guilty leaving her."

Camp Canine also provides boarding during hurricanes. During Wilma it provided a safe haven for as many as 75 dogs a night. The cost for boarding: $40 a night. As for the nail polish, that'll set you back $5.

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