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Day at the doggie-sitter's
So, when you got home from work, your neighbors complained that your dog had howled all day. But you know that's not entirely true because Rover had some nonhowling time to chew on one of your new shoes and the library book you'd forgotten to return.
You have a problem that can be resolved to the satisfaction of both you and Rover by a business that its owners describe as "a play center for dogs."

Lee Smith , operates Alpha Dogs LLC, a canine day care that has been open since January at 130 S. Sherman Ave. "Tired Dogs, Happier Owners," their business card states.

Lee Smith is a professional dog trainer, but that's not the mission in the large building on Sherman. The idea is to provide a safe, fun and stimulating social environment for dogs during weekday business hours, their information statement says.

The day care is geared to busy people, Smith says.

The facility provides two large rooms for the four-legged guests, both with rubber-padded floors to help diminish the possibility of injury. The room for larger dogs is 2,500 square feet, while the one for smaller dogs is 1,000 square feet.

Both rooms have high ceilings and open to outdoor play areas. Large overhead sliding doors can be left open to the play areas during more clement weather.



Smith stresses that the dogs are not kept in runs or cages and that their facility is not a boarding kennel but a place where dogs can enjoy a fun, supervised environment and can exercise and interact with other dogs and the staff.

Daily nap time is from noon to 2 p.m. Each dog's rest area is defined by a lightweight portable fence. Each dog may have a chew toy, and owners may provide blankets. Lights are dimmed and classical music is played during the quiet time.

The day care is equipped with a Web cam, so owners can log onto the Alpha Dogs Web site and check on their pets at play or rest.

Each dog is evaluated by Smith, and aggressive animals are not admitted. The program is primarily for dogs that are friendly with other dogs.

The prospective guest must be spayed or neutered, have up-to-date shots and be on an anti-flea program. Acceptance of each dog is followed by gradual introduction to other dogs in its group.

Smith has been training dogs for 30 years. Smith still teaches an intermediate class on Wednesday evenings at the Lilac City Dog Training Club.

"So, we pretty much know what we're doing," Smith said.

The day care is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays but is closed on major holidays.

Access off Second Avenue is simple, and parking is ample. "People have commented on our convenient location," Smith said.

Five-day passes are $80; 10 days, $150; 20 days, $250. A 20-day pass for two dogs is $300.

Interested pet owners may tour the day care if they wish.

So, when you pick up Rover on your way home from work, he will have had a pleasant day with his pals, had his daily exercise, improved his taste in classical music, be happy and mildly tired, ready for a quiet evening at home.