Gone are the days where a family that’s headed out of town is willing to bring their dog to the kennel with cold, hard concrete floors and chain-link fences that encloses their pens. Laura Laaman, who opened Wiggles Pet Resort in Mahopac with her son Craig this past summer, spared no expense — nearly $1 million to be exact — to transform the former Stone Meadow Kennel on Baldwin Place Road into luxurious accommodations for the family pet.
“We really feel that today’s pet parent wants something more upscale,” said Laaman, who had about 25 years’ experience in the pet care industry before opening Wiggles. “They want raised beds, which they didn’t have before. We give them fluffy blankets like they have at home. We just wanted to emulate what they have at home.”
Wiggles provides area dog owners with boarding services should they need to go out of town and can’t bring their pet or daily play and training for those who work long hours and want their dog to socialize with other canines.
With the rise in pet ownership during the pandemic since so many people have been home far more often than before last year, Laaman said the need to help new owners have better-behaved dogs surged. Since Wiggles Pet Resort opened, many owners have availed themselves of the training that can last up to two weeks.
“There’s so many COVID puppies right now and people got these cute, little fuzzy dogs,” she said.” Then they realize they’re jumping on the furniture or they’re pulling my arm out when I walk them. So we are doing a lot of training.”
The sparkling new state-of-the-art facility sets Wiggles apart. Situated on just over two acres, there are nine outdoor play yards for group or private play, Lamaan said. For group play, dogs are generally separated by size, with smaller dogs in one area and larger dogs in another.
Each outdoor yard is surfaced with a synthetic canine grass designed specifically for dogs. Lamaan said it’s built to immediately drain so if a dog has an accident, it quickly dries and remains clean. It also can be shoveled or plowed should there be a snowfall.
“The owners are so happy that they’re outside or running around because they don’t have the time to give the dogs the exercise they need,” she said.
Inside, where there is capacity for about 100 dogs, the suites where they rest and sleep for the night could be considered five-star canine accommodations. The suites are available in five different sizes and fitted with glass doors and windows so they can see out and staff can easily check on the animals. For a dog that does better by not seeing other dogs, that can be arranged as well.
The area is climate controlled and soft music is filtered in along with television monitors tuned to Animal Planet or dog-friendly movies. There’s also advanced HVAC air filtration and ventilation systems to not only keep the air fresh but to have the best air quality during the pandemic for the roughly 20 staff members.
Other amenities are baths with blueberry facials and healthy, seasonal dog treats.
Laaman said most of their business is local with dog owners from Putnam and northern Westchester, there are those who come from the city if they’re headed out of town.
“They want the country, they want their dogs to get out and enjoy the fresh air,” Laaman said. “I think that’s what they’re looking for now, plus the training’s so popular.”
She is expecting that Wiggles will be busy during the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend as well as closer to Christmas and New Year’s when traveling is popular.
“We try to do everything we can to make it as fun and as safe as possible,” Laaman said.
For more information about Wiggles Pet Resort, call 845-628-0200 or visit www.wigglespetresort.com.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/