Every day is a vacation at the Lodge at Vale Park Animal Hospital

Every day is a vacation at the Lodge at Vale Park Animal Hospital

Pets are like children. You feed them, love them, and do whatever you can to make them happy. Unfortunately, it's impossible to spend all day, every day with your pet while handling a busy and unpredictable schedule. Every pet owner is presented with a decision of whether to leave their furry friend at home and hope they don’t make a mess or send them to a doggy daycare to be loved and looked after while their pet parent is away at work.

Deciding on a daycare can be stressful. With so many places to choose from, it can quickly become overwhelming trying to find the right fit for you and your pet. Your pet is your priority, but it’s also the priority of Supervisor and Dog Trainer Melissa Carmichael of the Lodge at Vale Park Animal Hospital.

Carmichael and her team of seven skilled staff members take care of about 30 dogs a day and group them together in ways that allow each dog to feel comfortable, safe, and happy to be there.

“Our groups are usually 10 dogs or less. We put them in groups with the same activity levels, same age, and same energy level,” Carmichael said. “We do some training with them; we’ll play with them; we'll exercise them and have them do some training sets. They always have toys to play with, and in the summer we have swimming pools and splash pads outside, which they absolutely love.”

No matter the temperament of the dog, the team ensures each dog feels safe and happy within their groups. If there are signs of stress or discomfort, they will move dogs to different groups where they can feel more comfortable.

“It's very important that we watch them in the group so that we can keep an eye on the dogs. If some of them aren't getting along too well or there are different signs of stress in some dogs, or if one dog is too playful for another group, we'll move them around to groups that fit them better,” Carmichael said.

The Lodge at Vale Park Animal Hospital is a relatively recent addition to a long history of excellent care provided at Vale Park. The Lodge offers daycare and boarding services with the reassurance that if anything goes wrong, a veterinarian is only a few steps away.

Starting at $30 a night, depending on size, to board, pets can enjoy a vacation as much as their owners enjoy theirs. Daycare services can run at $25 a day for dogs and $20 a day for cats with discounts for regular visitors. 

It can be stressful bringing a beloved pet somewhere unfamiliar, but the team at the Lodge knows how to ensure the safety of every pet in attendance. With Carmichael’s added experience as a dog trainer, pets often learn a new skill while away from home.

“I think I bring an advantage as a trainer because I can offer advice to people. If I have puppies that are coming in, I will talk to the parents about certain things that they might need to work out at home. I also just love my staff. Everybody back here is here because they absolutely love what they do. They love the animals,” Carmichael said.

It’s hard to complain when the average workday consists of working with dogs all day. For Carmichael, walking into the Lodge is as exciting as the first time she walked through the doors.

“I love the girls that I work with. And I just love being around animals. I've been working with animals for 20-plus years and it's just a great company to work for and it's a lot of fun,” Carmichael said.

For more information about Vale Park Animal Hospital and its services, visit https://valeparkah.com/