Home Away from Home
As a first time Husky owner
I went a little nuts-o when we first got Caesar and had him "interviewed" at 4 different doggy day care/boarding places, just in case: 3 were in the city, 2 of which are walking distance to my office for days when I wouldn't be able come home for Caesar's midday walk, and 1 was outside the city en route to the airport/freeway. While I'm usually pretty laid back, I think my biggest fear was all the warnings I got about adopting a Husky - the intense energy level and potential destruction.
In the end, we got super lucky with Caesar (and which is why I would always encourage fostering a dog beforehand) since he's so laid back, and I chose to stick with 2 locations, alternating between them depending on the days when we need to put him in daycare/boarding.
Weekday Day Care
High Tail Hotel is an indoor facility in San Francisco and for me, easy to get to (driving) on the way to and from my office.
The facility does have limited space so I think most customers just book specific days of the week for every week to ensure they always have a spot. I think this also helps the handlers because then they know what dogs get along and it builds familiarity within the group.
While it's not the fanciest place (and in a very industrial area of the city), the indoor playing space is astroturf, which is a nice change from the gravel neighborhood dog parks, and the dogs do get walked as well, but it's really the staff that wins me over; they are incredibly friendly and attentive and best of all, they give a perpetual discount for adopted dogs!
Weekend Day Care & Boarding
The Pawington is uber luxurious. In fact, this was the only location where when I showed up with Caesar I was actually nervous he might fail the assessment test. You feel like you're driving to a hotel, with the driveway entrance, spacious lobby and front desk.
The space is HUGE. There are separate rooms for large and small dogs, but each space is so large that this place actually doesn't even require a reservation for day care - they can handle that many dogs! The spaces are also both indoors and outdoors, so the dogs can still get fresh air without having to be walked.
The location is also a huge plus since my husband and I usually spend at least 1 day of the weekend outside the city to play golf, so we pack up Caesar in the morning with our clubs and drop him off on the way to our tee time.
The other great thing about this place is they have webcams, both for daycare and boarding, so you can always check up on your fur-baby to see how they're doing. There's something oddly calming about watching a bunch of dogs run around.
This business also has other pet services, like grooming, so sometimes we'll get a basic wash/brush. We tried doing a full on grooming appointment here once and that didn't turn out so well - we ended up getting a call saying the groomer didn't feel comfortable with Caesar because he was getting so mouthy so we literally had to drive right back after dropping him off, so yeah, lesson learned.
The one downside to this place is the fact that because it's so luxurious, every little additional thing is an added cost. For example, we always pack lunch when Caesar goes to daycare because he's not very hungry in the mornings. At High Tail Hotel it's no big deal, but here, because they need to use a room to feed dogs, it's an extra $3.
We also choose to board Caesar here when we travel, part of it again is because of location: it's near the airport so guests who are boarding their pups can park (for free!) and then take a taxi to the airport making drop off/pick-up very efficient. Also, while expensive, my husband and I do like the fact that the rooms are clean and are actual rooms (vs kennels/cages). Of course, the bigger the room with a better view will cost you but compared to some of the higher end facilities in the city, I still feel like the prices are more reasonable.
Aside from price the other downside is that the staff isn't as personable compared to High Tail Hotel, in my opinion. The receptionists are perfectly friendly but because there is such a large staff of handlers, while they definitely know Caesar, I feel like they just aren't as friendly to me, or maybe it's with the humans, in general? I guess in the end it doesn't matter so long as they are loving with the pups, which they all seem to be. It also annoys me to no end that none of the handlers seem to know how to put on an Easy Walk Harness, no matter how many times I correct them when I pick up Caesar.
Ultimately, I'm willing to put up with human quirks and paying a premium to ensure that Caesar is well taken care of, and safe, when not at home, and I absolutely love the report card they give for boarding since it shows the staff is attentive.
👣 The fur-mom