Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Local Bark

I had the opportunity to visit The Local Bark in Rancho Cordova a few weeks ago. In case you aren't from the Sacramento area (or if you are and haven't seen their awesome billboard on highway 50), The Local Bark is a fabulous facility that offers day boarding, extended boarding and training for dogs. As a veterinarian, places like this scare the bejeezus out of me... I have seen my share of kennel cough, diarrhea, dog bites and other unsavory disasters that have originated from boarding kennels. But The Local Bark is different. It is waaaaaaay different. And let me tell you why.

First of all, the place is clean. I'm talking sparkly clean without a hint of dog hair anywhere... which is a momentous feat considering how many dogs walk through that door each and every day. Second, the staff members are so nice - not the saccharine kind of phony-nice, but genuinely nice. They greet each guest by name (who does that anymore?) and you can tell by looking at the client's face that this is very much appreciated. If you really want to get a feel for how much the clients appreciate The Local Bark, just visit their Facebook page. It is filled with posts from clients who had great experiences there. Oh, did I mention that The Local Bark posts about 100 pictures a day on their page? That way, clients can see how much fun their dog has had while they are away, kind of like a postcard from summer camp. Third, there is someone monitoring all the dogs all the time. I watched the group of large dogs playing together and was amazed at how quickly the two staff members in the play yard were there to respond when someone was getting a little too rowdy - a quick squirt with a water bottle and the situation is diffused. And if that doesn't work, it's time for a doggie time out. And fourth, the owners... ahhh the owners. Kristin and Matt Minnie are just the nicest, most down-to-earth people I have met in a long while. Kristin is a dog trainer, and a damn good one at that. I will admit that my knowledge of dog behavior is slim-to-none and I admire people like Kristin who understand dogs and their psychology. And human psychology, too. Because dog trainers don't train just dogs, they train people. In meeting Kristin and Mark, it is obvious why The Local Bark is such a great place - they genuinely care about dogs, their clients and their staff members.

I had the chance to meet two great groups of dogs while at The Local Bark. The first group being their "pack" or group of dogs that they use to help train other dogs. A funny bunch, every size and disposition was represented. Here they are demonstrating their mad obedience skills:

These six dogs all sat and stayed on command (and did I mention the white Bulldog is deaf?). I have four dogs and there is no way that I would ever be able to get them to do this. Hence the magic of The Local Bark. And here are their close-ups.

Goose - the alpha dog

and with his friend, Little

Dory, the sweet yellow lab

Sierra, the quiet and shy member of the pack

Jake, Mr. Wild Hair (who looks like the dog on
The Local Bark's logo)

and last, but not least... Huge
A deaf bulldog full of love and personality.
Shhhhhh, don't tell. He was my favorite from the day.

And then there is the group of dogs that the trainers are preparing for diabetes alert training. In case you are unaware (much like me), it is possible to train dogs to sense and alert when their person's blood glucose level is too high or too low. Isn't that just incredible? Would you like to see some of these lifesavers? Here they are:

I love how the two Goldens look so regal. And how the two little munchkins in the middle are stealing a kiss.





As a veterinarian, I am often asked if I can recommend a place to board dogs or train dogs. Now that I have been to The Local Bark, I can reply with an enthusiastic "Yes I do!!! Go to The Local Bark!". This place is beyond amazing and I cannot wait to go back. In fact, I must apologize for Kristin Minnie for my semi-stalker ways the past few weeks. Sorry Kristin, but your place is so amazing, I just have to be a part of it!

Check it out - you will be impressed!

3201 Fitzgerald Road
Rancho Cordova, CA 95742
(916) 638-3880

1 comment:

  1. Ann King here...I'm one of the trainers at The Local Bark...we met while you were doing this shoot. These pictures are beautiful and your words really kind. It was especially touching and a little sad to see them because my bulldog, Huge, passed away a couple weeks ago from complications from surgery to remove a lateral obstruction. These are literally the last photos taken of him. Thank you so much for beautifully capturing the essence of our pack. I'll be tracking down the proofs and ordering some prints.