Q: What is Paw-zn-Around?

A: Paw-zn-Around is a centrally located dog day care in the Saco area. The building is 350 feet long. A couple years ago, my son painted 4-foot dog paws across the building, so it kind of stands out. 

Q: When did you open and why?

A: We’ve been open since 2001. I was always in the animal business, and I just had to find something I would enjoy. I really considered that and begged my husband to open a doggy day care. 

Q: What was your previous experience with dogs?

A: From search and rescue, I’ve gone to seminars at Cornell University, and I’ve previously done obedience training. I have also had dogs since 1973 and I’ve had various breeds, but mainly Dobermans. I’ve owned two German shepherds, too. My first shepherd was my search and rescue dog. We worked with York County Rescue Management for nine years and then went through a program with an instructor in New York. The name of that team was Maine Wilderness K-9. For that, you have to have skills with reading your dogs because these dogs were off leash. Here, I’ve experienced various breeds, such as pit bulls, which unfortunately we do not accept because they don’t work well with a pack of dogs. I don’t put down the pit bull breed, they’re great companion dogs, but they’re just not day care material. 

Q: So are there certain breeds you just won’t accept?

A: We accept pretty much most breeds, the pit is the only one. We evaluate the dogs before they start day care. If dogs haven’t been properly socialized and they meet up with another dog. Dog to dog, if one hasn’t learned the body language that’s very new to them, so they don’t understand and can become fearful. We, as the staff, I’ve always said why should dogs have to learn what we’re all about and read our body language? Why not learn how they think and study their language and abide by that? doing that you actually blend in quite nicely in the pack. 

Q: What does the evaluation entail?

A: Not all dogs are day care material. The evaluation would consist of: Can your dog be crated an hour and an hour and a half for nap time and at the end of the day waiting for their owner? Another thing is: How does a dog come and respond to other dogs? What is this dog thinking when it approaches another dog? We look, where is the status on this dog? Can it play ball? Will it share ball or toys? Is it food aggressive? Those are some of the things we look for. 

Q: What is the staff like?

A: They’re pretty skilled professional people. We keep it quiet. We don’t scream at the dogs. You have to supervise and be the coach, you have to have the leadership and you have to have that calm energy. You can’t go in there all wired up because they pick up on that. It’s not for everybody. 

Q: What is a day like in the life of a dog that goes to Paw-zn-Around?

A: They pull their owners in and from there they are greeted at the door by Denise. Denise will bring them in. They go out for a pee break and then be led to a crate. When everybody has arrived, then we sort. We keep the small ones together and the big ones together. We don’t allow a lot of high energy at one time. We do provide nature walks during the day. Then they come in for their nap. Then they’ll get lunch, depending when their owners fed them, or their biscuits. Then when they get up from lunch they are raring to go again. We do have ball-playing groups. This is all monitored. 

Q: What are some of the other services you offer?

A: We have a little bit of everything. Obedience training. We do offer fly ball, a relay race game. The latest thing we’re getting into is K-9 Nose Work. In fact, on April 26, we are doing a free one-hour introduction on K-9 Nose Work. It teaches the dog, puts them back into their hunting skills. Canine education if you want to call it. We also offer grooming as another service. 

Q: What are your standard rates?

A: For a full day of day care, we open at 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For a full day we charge $25 per day per dog. We do have some discounts depending on how often you come. — discounted rates and preferred customer passes. We have weekly and monthly rates.

Q: How often do dogs come to day care?

A: Some dogs come in every day. Some three times. Some one time. It all depends on the client and their job. I’d say 90 percent of the people work and some are retirees. They just want their dogs to have a good day while they go shopping. 

Q: What does the 2010 Saco Award in the Boarding and Dog Day Care category by the U.S. Commerce Association mean to Paw-zn-Around?

A: We have five other day cares in the surrounding towns. Getting this award, I can’t even say. It’s very impressing. Everybody is just so overwhelmed with it. We feel like we’ve worked so hard to get where we are. Not just getting one award, but we’re on the third award. This is the third time in a row.

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

[email protected]