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Local pet lovers have options for day, overnight animal care, socialization

Janice Fischer provides daycare and overnight stays at Camp Doganuga. (Courtesy www.campdoganuga)

About 28 percent of American households have dogs. That’s a whopping 90 million four-legged friends, or as many dog-owners prefer to say, family members. When dog-owners are unable to take their fur babies with them, or when they want to offer them some social interaction, daycare or overnight care is the answer. Here is a look at a few local options for pet care facilities in the Tucson area.

Camp Doganuga offers overnight and day camp care for socialized dogs. “We are not a kennel, but a comfy, safe, home away from home,” says Janice Fischer, who calls herself the “head camp counselor.” Dogs can take advantage of the run of the pet-friendly home in Oracle Heights Estates. An expansive, fenced area with natural desert vegetation is as large and safe as a dog park.  While bigger dogs may romp and play at will, smaller dogs always are escorted outdoors. Fischer emphasizes that the dogs must be sweet and able to get along with others in the freewheeling environment.

There is scheduled time for outdoor play, rest and eating. Fischer serves all meals individually, in separate rooms, to eliminate any food aggression issues.

A 43-year Tucson resident, Fischer has been a life-long dog owner.  She now has two elder, resident miniature dachshunds on the premises. Upon retirement as an educator, Sonora Desert Museum education curator and Humane Society of Southern Arizona volunteer, she opened a grooming business, but sold it to do pet care. Ideally, Camp Doganuga is comfortable to house three daycare and three overnight pooches together.

“This is fabulous,” says Robin Nozick, mom of Zena the Yorkshire terrier. “I’d rather stay here than where I’m going.” Frequent campers are eager to return, Fischer says, often becoming excited when their owners round the corner to the campgrounds. “Actually, my love for dogs is overflowing, which is why Camp Doganuga is such a special place,” says Fischer.

Camp Bow Wow is a franchise that has been in Tucson since 2000. Its two most popular services are doggy daycare and dog boarding. At daycare, pups can mingle with peers under the supervision of a Certified Camp Counselor in a spacious play area. For boarding, the staff treats pets like family, providing all-day play, lots of attention and Campfire Treats at night. Owners can sneak a peek at pet activity in the group play area by way of live streaming video camera online. Other services include training and grooming, which can be done in combination with day or overnight camp experiences.

Also a national franchise, Dogtopia’s philosophy is “safe socialization, exercise and education for furry children” in a supervised environment. The core service is indoor daycare, which runs very much like child daycare, with eight to 10 hours of supervised play. Dogtopia even gives report cards. Owners can monitor their pets at play over a webcam. Spa services also are available. While Dogtopia’s Oro Valley location is well established, a new facility is opening soon in the Tanque Verde and Grant area.