Doggie Daycare Has Closed

Humane Society Silicon Valley says goodbye to doggie daycare and boarding–and focuses instead on adding core services.

Pet owners dropped off their dogs at daycare at the Humane Society Silicon Valley for the last time Wednesday.

Nadia Shaw has been taking her dog, Musubi, to the doggie daycare  for the past six months. She used the service because Musubi was shy and Shaw wanted to socialize her with other dogs.

"I'm really sad for my dog because she was really happy here and she's improved a lot," she said. "She went from a shy dog to a super social, friendly dog."

After several months of consideration, the Milpitas-based nonprofit decided to end daycare and boarding because it was losing money on the services.

About 230 clients are impacted by the change. But another factor, besides the services not paying for themselves, was that only 10 to 15 percent of the clients had gotten their dog from the HSSV shelter–a disconnect with the organization's mission, said Wu.

Subsidizing daycare and boarding "couldn't be at the expense of homeless animals in our community," said Jeanne Wu, vice president and pet services business liaison. "Our primary focus is on saving lives ... That's what we do best so we want to continue doing that."

Instead, the nonprofit will focus on its core services–finding animals permanent homes. That includes trainings that may keep an owner from giving up a dog due to behavioral issues, said Barbara Jacque, chief marketing officer.

The space could be used, instead, for dog-training classes, seminars or workshops, she said.

Daycare and boarding staff are contracted from A Dog's Life. A third of the customers will move to the Sunnyvale or Palo Alto location. Others have brought their dogs, one mile away to the Milpitas location of Barkley Square, which offers daycare, grooming and boarding for dogs.

Shannon Case, Barkley Square manager, said they are currently taking several evaluations of dogs from HSSV.

Under one roof, HSSV will continue to offer the public: a dog park, spay/neuter services, grooming, dog training center, vet hospital, education center, community room and a pet store. The 48,000 square-foot facility opened about two years ago. It is LEED certified and uses solar panels to generate electricity. 

In the 2010 fiscal year, more than 13,000 animals received services from the organization, including medical. Among adoptions, 2,800 found new homes and 200 were directly reunited with their owners.

Andy Hancock, who comes to the playground facilities everyday, with his dog, Chase, says the community is losing a valuable service. 

"I just heard they're not making money," Hancock said. "It's a shame."


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