Bonnie Bristol stands by the wall with treats in her hand, and the dogs quickly sit in a semi-circle at her feet. There’s Suede, an oversized Goldendoodle, and he’s joined by an English Setter named Porter, Sherman the Pointer, and Mary, an Aussie whose whole back end shakes when she wags her tail.
They are four of the regulars at the All Heart Pet Care Center Doggy Day Care. Bristol hands out the treats and then asks if they want to go outside. The group hustles to a gate in the play room and then tear down a corridor, stopping briefly to sniff and say hi to the dogs in the boarding kennels, before heading into an outdoor enclosure.
Since October, the center has been providing boarding, grooming and obedience classes in addition to the day care. Owned by Bruce Langlois, previously of the Lowell Animal Hospital, the center occupies the same building as Arrow Veterinary Clinic. However, the businesses are separately owned and independently operated.
Comprehensive Services for Cats and Dogs
While the Lowell location of All Heart Pet Care Center is new, a second location in Kentwood has been operating for more than a year. Both locations offer the same basic set of services:
- Boarding for cats and dogs
- Obedience training
The center features affordable rates with most services running between $20-$30. Discounts for bundled services are available as well. While some pet owners prefer to bring their own food, it is also provided by All Heart Pet Care Center as part of boarding services.
Obedience classes prepare dogs to earn an AKC Good Citizenship Certificate. Bristol says the class runs for six weeks, and the first group of dogs to go through the program in Lowell all found success. “Everybody passed,” she says. “They all got their blue ribbon.”
Langlois adds that not everyone has time to train their dog, and All Heart Pet Care Center can arrange for board-and-train services in which staff will conduct obedience training on an owner’s behalf. Other services can be combined as well – such as boarding and day care.
Fun for Everyone
Bristol, who helps manage the daily operations of the All Heart Pet Care Center inn Lowell, says playing with dogs in day care is her favorite part of the job. “I like the doggy day care and seeing all their personalities and how they interact,” she says.
Walking out of the back of the building, she points to a wooded area to the rear and explains excavators will be coming soon to transform the area into an expanded outdoor enclosure. The outdoor kennels for boarded dogs will be improved as well.
Back in the day care room, Bristol holds up four tennis balls to the eager dogs. She throws them, and they are off on a wild pursuit. For dogs who might otherwise spend their day at home or alone, the day care provides a much-needed outlet.
“It’s great for the people too if they have a high energy dog,” Langlois says. “A tired dog is a happy dog.”
While pet owners have plenty of choices, All Heart Pet Care Center says they offer an environment in which pets are known by name and treated as family. Plus, as those in the day care room can attest, playing fetch and other games all day is doggone fun for everyone.