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Meet Carol Small, Owner of Poochie Play

It’s certainly a dog’s life for Carol as her doggie daycare draws up to 50 dogs a day.

Though Carol Small had a yard of her own where her dogs could play, she knew there are many dog owners without that luxury. And many more whose busy schedules don’t allow for their pups to get the exercise they need.

After looking for options in the area, Carol found a need for a daycare facility for dogs and went about making her dream a reality. From that dream, was born in March 2009.

North Branford Patch: Describe the process of bringing your idea to fruition.

Small: Before I opened, I traveled to Oregon to do a sort of internship with a woman who runs a doggy daycare. I spent the week learning the business and then I came back and had to find a place, which was a challenge. There were other obstacles, too, because we had to have a new law put on the books for kennels in town because the existing law said a kennel had to be on five acres in a residential area. We had to have it changed to include industrial. The process was a challenge, but once you find what you want to do, you don’t give up until you get there.

North Branford Patch: What made you decide on this location?

Small: It took me so long to find this location, but it’s a good fit. We have 5,000 square feet with indoor and outdoor play areas.

North Branford Patch: Can anyone bring their dog to Poochie Play?

Small: All dogs have to be up to date on vaccinations and spayed or neutered. We offer the first visit free so we can get to know your dog and make sure they have a good temperament. The first time they come, we take the dog out on a leash and introduce them to each of the dogs individually.

North Branford Patch: What is a typical day like for the dogs?

Small: We usually have 35 to 50 dogs here each day. They’re separated by size so the big dogs are together and the small dogs are together. They are all loose in their groups playing with each other. From noon to 1:30, we have naptime and they all go into individual kennels. Then they play for the rest of the day. And they’re always supervised by our staff.

North Branford Patch: What do people like about bringing their dogs here?

Small: People are busy so it’s a good place for their dog to come get their energy out and they pick them up and have a nice, exercised dog who’s happy. And the dogs love it here, too. They’re always excited to go inside with their friends. We also have a webcam so you can check in on your pup during the day.

North Branford Patch: What other services do you offer?

Small: Besides the daycare, we also offer boarding and grooming. The facility is a licensed groomer and certified commercial kennel.

North Branford Patch: Why do you love your job?

Small: I love the dogs. And I’ve met a lot of nice people, too. I’ve always had dogs and currently have two–they’re both rescues–that I get to bring to work every day.

North Branford Patch: What do you like about doing business in North Branford?

Small: It’s a beautiful town and I’ve gotten to know a lot of people. It’s also a good location because I draw from all over. I have dogs from East Haven, Branford and Guilford. Then there’s Katie and Ryder from Orange, Cooper from Bethany and another Cooper from Stratford.

North Branford Patch: What do you do outside of work?

Small:  I’ve been a for about a year. It’s a great bunch of people who do such great things. brought me  into it. I’m also involved in the . I’ve been working with him on it since the first .

Mary Caruso May 25, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Our dog Rochelle loves to go to Poochie Play. The dogs have a great space to run and exercise and the care is fantastic. Rochelle knows when we are heading there and can't wait to get in the car! We love dealing with Carol, her professionalism is outstanding and she has a true love for her dog clients and people clients :)

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