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Man’s best friend digging doggy daycare

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Renee Morin is doing it for the dogs.


In July, Morin and business partners, Lee and Garth Wilcox, opened The Little Dog House, a small dog daycare and activity centre.


The centre grew out of a play group for small dogs which Morin started more than seven years ago when she got her first small dog.


"There was nothing to do (for small dogs), the off-leash parks were pretty scary," Morin said.


So, Morin, a Fort Garry resident, started the Out of the Doghouse playgroup, which has since grown to 100 dogs. The group still meets at least once a week.


As membership grew, Morin and her partners wanted to expand and decided to open the small dog only daycare and activity centre, which is located at 3-10 McGillivray Place.


While the business provides doggy "daycare," Morin wants to get the word out that dog sitting is only a small part of what the centre has to offer.


"We really want to get the message across that it’s more than dog sitting."  


Morin said people usually don’t think to bring their dog to a daycare centre because they work from home, and are already spending time with the animals. However, she said even in cases such as those, dogs need to "socialize" with other dogs.


"It would be like us not ever having humans to talk to," she said.


The centre also offers training classes and various types of activities for dog owners, including continuing meetings with the Out of the Doghouse playgroup.


"We want to be so much more (than just a daycare). We’re about educating people about the research that’s out there (on small dogs)," Morin said.


In January, the centre plans to bring in a certified small animal massage practitioner to walk people through pet massages.


"The stuff we’re (offering) is stuff that isn’t offered elsewhere and is about increasing (owners) relationship with (their) dogs," Morin said.


In addition to the daycare and activity centre, The Little Doghouse runs an online network which people can sign up for and receive small dog information and tips.


While its primary focus is to help small dogs and their owners, Morin said the centre also works to assist rescue facilities in the city.


Each Christmas, the Out of the Doghouse Playgroup collects toys, dog food and treats to donate to different dog rescues.


"Each year we pick a different rescue, usually one of the smaller, less known ones, and we ask our members to bring in donations," Morin said.


This year, Morin is accepting donations for the new Before the Bridge Senior Canine Rescue, an organization that takes in senior dogs who would otherwise live out their life in a shelter, or be put down.


Morin said The Little Dog House will be accepting donations right up until Christmas.


"(We collect) luxuries that a dog can enjoy but a rescue can’t usually afford," Morin said.
If you wish to donate, contact The Little Dog House by calling 204-505-3644 or emailing smalldogcenter@gmail.com.


For more information on The Little Dog House visit outofthedoghouse.ning.com.

danielle.finch@canstarnews.com

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