By Jacob Hoytema –
Lucie Meloche, owner of Masters n’ Dogs, sits in her makeshift office — a computer desk, swivel chair, and an old trunk — in the middle of a standalone building tucked away on Madison Avenue, just a block south of its retail location on Richmond Road.
The room is unfurnished and only a small section of the concrete floor has been painted. When the Kitchissippi Times first visited, there were still a number of steps before the space would fulfill its potential by transforming into a doggy daycare.
Lucie looks at the empty room with excited anticipation of the many furry friends that will soon fill it.
“It’s nothing now, but when we’re done it’s going to look amazing,” she says.
She describes the murals that will adorn the walls, the rubber-based (that is, accident proof) paint she’s using for the floors, and the “Spaw” in the back room for bathing and pampering her canine customers.
Lucie explains that the one-storey building, which was previously owned by a sporting goods store, will be partitioned into different sections, with different dogs grouped together depending on various factors such as size and personality.
“When I started mentioning that we were thinking about this, the demand was incredible. We already have pre-registers,” she says.
When Lucie took over as owner and operator of Masters n’ Dogs over two years ago, she says she knew that this was going to be the next move for the business.
“Daycare was always the next step, it was just a matter of the right location and the right time. And the time is now,” she says.
She also adds that, in the last year, she has been hiring employees at the store that she knew would be qualified to transfer into working at the daycare later on. Two of these employees, Jay Kay and Vee Tait, who will be supervisors at the new location, have dozens of years of dog daycare experience between them and have been providing input on designing the new space.
Lucie says that, for now, the daycare will only be open Monday to Friday, and will offer hourly rates and discount packages to accommodate owners who will use the service regularly as well as those who may only want to drop their dogs off for the afternoon.
The opening of the daycare – expected to be March 20 – nearly coincides with the business’ twelfth anniversary in April. [A special grand opening event is planned for April 8.] For the occasion, Lucie is planning a celebratory pet photography event to fundraise for Boxer Rescue Ontario. Follow Masters n’ Dogs on Facebook for more information.