Day care goes to the dogs

Did you know that little children aren't the only ones who go to day-care centers? Many cities offer day care for dogs, too! Instead of leaving their dogs home alone during long workdays, some people prefer to send their canine companions to these day-care centers, where the dogs can have fun and not be lonely.

All day long, dogs of all shapes, sizes, colors, and breeds simply play – and then go home tired and happy.

Like day care for human children, doggy day care offers plenty of activities, planned naps, and occasional timeouts for misbehavior. Before being admitted, each dog is "interviewed" to make sure that he or she plays well with others.

I recently visited Camp Canine Dog Daycare and Spa in Ashland, Mass. Here's what it was like:

One yard, surrounded by a chain-link fence, is for the biggest dogs. The smaller, gentler animals are kept in another fenced-in yard.

Sometimes the two groups of dogs tease each other through the fence. Sometimes they all bark – or howl – at once. That's noisy!

Most dogs like to amuse themselves by playing in groups. First they play with one group and then another.

But Guinness, a rat terrier mix, wants to have a human throw a ball for him ... all day long.

Cocoa, a Chihuahua and the tiniest dog in residence, feels most comfortable watching things from atop a plastic chair where she can feel as though she's running the show.

Paddington, a wooly wheaten terrier, spends most of his summer days hopping in and out of the kiddie pool, and then, sopping wet, jumping on his doggy playmates.

He also jumps on any unsuspecting visitors – including me! Only 30 seconds after I'd met Paddington, my pants were soaked!

Thalia Haseotes, Camp Canine's owner, says she saw the need for dogs to have a place to socialize and have fun.

But the dogs aren't the only ones enjoying themselves. Ms. Haseotes says she loves coming to work every day. What's more fun than playing with dogs all day?

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