Community

Kent resident opens Doggie Den

Dave Tagiliani, a Northwest Disaster Search Dogs volunteer, works with one of his dogs during a training session at the Doggie Den in Kent. - Sarah Kehoe, Kent Reporter
Dave Tagiliani, a Northwest Disaster Search Dogs volunteer, works with one of his dogs during a training session at the Doggie Den in Kent.
— image credit: Sarah Kehoe, Kent Reporter

Bob Zuckos gets to do what he loves every day.

The Kent resident opened the first dog daycare and indoor dog park in the city on March 5.

"I have been a dog lover all my life, but because of finances, I was not able to open my own place," Zuckos said. "I started thinking about what it would take to create a dog care center and built a place by looking at other dog businesses, weighing the pros and cons."

Once Zuckos felt he could fund his own center, he spent close to two years researching dog care facts and daycare facilities. It took him 11 months to find the right building.

"I wouldn't open the Doggie Den until every staff person completed training and was certified for dogs," he said. "Dogs are like children to their owners and so owners deserve to know they are leaving their children in capable hands. All our staff come from the dog care industry."

The goal of The Doggie Den is to provide a safe, fun and stimulating social environment for dogs during weekday business hours.

"We have a daycare in front area from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., we take the dogs for at least four walks a day and we have nail cutting and brushing for free," Zuckos said. "Business is just great, it's been picking up more and more every day. People have told me this area was in desperate need for a place like this."

Zuckos also wants to use his facility to help the community.

"We as a business and citizens of this community believe in giving back," he said. "I have been a happy Kent resident for 13 years and am blessed with a great business, so I feel it's my duty to help whenever I can. And I gotta tell you, it feels darn good."

Zuckos heard that Northwest Disaster Search Dogs (NDSD) needed an indoor place to train but has a small budget and no takers. He called them up and offered to let them use space at his facility for free.

NDSD is a a non-profit, all-volunteer specialty unit focused on urban search and rescue.

"It was just awesome to get that call from Bob," said AJ Frank, NDSD volunteer."We'd been practicing in a condemned building and when that got torn down by the city, we resorted to practicing in the street."

The volunteers said they could see how happy their dogs were with the perks that come along with practicing at the Doggie Den.

"This is like doggie nirvana," said NDSD Volunteer Dave Tagliani,laughing. "They have all these great toys to play with during down time and we can set up our agility training in a nice, open space."

Doggie Deb employees are also donating five days of daycare and a 10-day dog park pass to customers in need. They have offered the facility to the Kent Police canine unit for free.

Zuckos doesn't mind staying later to oversee the shop while people use it. In fact, he loves doing it.

"Dogs are my life, this is my calling," he said, smiling. "If you aren't a dog person, you don't realize, but with a dog every day adds compassion to life. I know that I'm always going to want to come to work and when I am there, I'll be happy."

The Doggie Den is located at 405 Washington Ave. N. For more information, call 253-236-4603.

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