Two new Woodbridge businesses are meeting pet-owners’ needs: dog daycare and pet grooming.
Happy Homes on Bradley Road, a local daycare option for dogs, recently held a ribbon cutting attended by Selectman Joe Crisco. Co-owner Tracy Johnson lives in Bethany but had dreamed of opening a doggie daycare in Woodbridge for several years. She knew there was a need because friends of hers in the Amity section of New Haven and Bethany were driving their dogs to Hamden. Johnson and her co-owner, Kristen Iannucci, know dogs: Johnson is a veterinarian and Iannucci, of Derby, is a veterinarian technician.
The business is located in the rear basement of 131 Bradley Road, next to the Town’s regional animal shelter. The reception room’s walls are a cheery aqua color and the dogs’ area is a large open space for running around. Dogs get to play ball, play tug and romp in a ball pit. There’s a smaller section that can be closed off for puppies and smaller dogs where they can run through tunnels, play with chew toys and take naps. A fenced-in outdoor area has towers of tires, a picnic table and an outdoor children’s playhouse that the dogs can climb on and run around.
“The dogs go home happy and exhausted,” said Johnson while overseeing two dogs engage in a playful wrestling match.
Pet owners can choose to bring their dogs for half days, full days, a few days a week or every weekday. Happy Homes offers group and private lessons for dog training, plus puppy day school where they play and learn socialization skills, crate training, house breaking and basic manners. “Busy dog owners may not have the time to train their puppies,” says Johnson, “So we can train them at puppy day school.” Puppy day school is for dogs ages eight weeks to six months. For more information on Happy Homes, visit www.happyhomesdog.com or call 203-298-0970.
Jill and Nicole Minervini opened Sticky Paws grooming salon in April of this year. The small and colorful grooming salon is decorated with pictures of dogs, four of which are their pets. Jill has been grooming dogs for approximately 20 years and ran a grooming salon in Massachusetts before moving to Connecticut. Nicole is an animal control officer for the City of New Haven and has worked as a veterinarian technician.
In the salon, there are a few grooming stations, dog crates in the back room and chew toys scattered across the floor. Grooming a dog can take anywhere from one to two-and-a-half hours, depending on the breed and the need. Most pet owners drop off their dog (cats and other pets are welcome too) and receive a phone call once the work is complete. Appointments are preferred but walk-ins are welcome. Some animals need to be scheduled while no other animals are present; others prefer the company.
Grooming includes a haircut and bath, plus a nail trimming, ear cleaning and brushing. Most dogs are hand dried, but if the owner prefers a dog can be kenneled to air-dry.
All clients receive a gift bag which includes homemade organic pet cookies, a pet toy (hand sewn by a 13-year-old volunteer) and first-time visitors receive a framed Certificate of Bravery with a lock of their pet’s hair. “We try to make the animals as comfortable as possible,” says Jill. “It’s hard for dog owners – it’s like dropping off your baby at daycare for the first time. We want people to know that we treat their animals like our own.”
As she spoke, two pugs happily scampered around the room wandering in and out of the dog crates while they waited their owners’ return.
Sticky Paws is open for appointments seven days a week. For more information, visit www.stickypawsgrooming.com or call 203-389-PAWS.