For the Dogs

Daycare facility provides peace of mind for owners and playtime for their furry friends.

Not everyone has heard of daycare for dogs, and some who have heard of it haven’t ever really seen it in action. Vicky Doi is trying to change that for Kailua. She’s the co-owner of Laughing Dogs Daycare, a year-old enterprise set up on Hekili Street across from Pali Lanes bowling alley.

The concept has been around in the islands for a few years, but Doi explains that it’s much more established on the mainland. She and her boyfriend, and co-owner of the business Neal Nakamura, saw this as an opening, and many in Kailua can see why. They are longtime Kailua residents and dog owners, and they can see how much their neighbors care for their furry friends.

It’s hard to get very far on the beach or through almost any neighborhood and not spot residents caring for their dogs. Doi even noticed how many businesses, like restaurants, would take care to invite owners in with their dogs.

“It’s dog-friendly,” she explains. “Lots of dogs, which is ideal. And there wasn’t a kennel-free doggy daycare here yet.”

It took some work fi nding the right place for a business like this, but they eventually found an old workshop for a cabinet-maker. Doi explains that it took Nakamura a lot of work to make that industrial space inviting for both her human clients and the dogs who would inhabit it.

“As I look back now, I’m even amazed at what we were able to do with such a raw space,” she says. “We wanted to lose the industrial feel of the warehouse and create a bright, open space where dogs could run and play safely.”

The concept of doggy daycare is pretty simple. You drop off your dog, typically in the morning, and have someone look after it in a group. Dogs get to socialize and play, which is healthy for them and can prepare them to be good playmates for other dogs, as well. Laughing Dogs’ facility is split into two, with the small dogs on one side of the room and the big ones on the other. The dogs have open space to romp around in, human supervision 24/7 (if you need overnight care), and even some comfy couches if the nice cool floor isn’t really your dog’s thing. The caretakers will feed, exercise, play with and clean up after your dog for you. Pick up your dog when you’re ready.

Just remember that the daycare needs to be able to see your dog in the group as a test to make sure it’ll be a good fit, and you’ll need to call for a reservation.

Laughing Dogs Daycare is ideal for a dog owner who wants a controlled environment for their pet, with no cages, constant supervision and opportunities for interaction.

Doggy daycare isn’t for all dogs, or for all owners. But it’s a good fit for many in Kailua. And Doi knows it when she hears the happy sounds of her guests at play.

Laughing Dogs Daycare, 131 Hekili St. 261-2530 | www.laughingdogsdaycare.com