Resort caters to canine clientele

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If envy exists in the canine world, the dogs that spend their days at Sawgrass Pet Resort surely have their contemporaries seeing green.

The new facility, located at the extreme end of Sawgrass Village Circle, offers both dog daycare and overnight boarding, plus various a la carte items.

Dogs may stay overnight or over a period of weeks in the regular boarding area or one of the luxury suites. The latter come with daycare, which can also be added to the former.

The luxury suites, which measure 5½ by 8 feet, are furnished with either toddler beds or large, comfortable donut-shaped cushions. The canine guests are served ice cream or some other treat and are read a bedtime story at the end of the day.

For daycare, the dogs mingle with their assigned group for five- or nine-hour stays. From noon to 2 p.m., they are provided blankets for nap time and a movie is shown on a 60-inch flatscreen TV.

“We kind of treat our daycare like a kindergarten class, where they come in and they go and do different activities in different areas,” explained resort owner Kate Wagner.

There are balls and other toys, a splash pad, pools and miniature picnic tables to climb.

“There are just endless activities for them to be doing,” said Wagner. “It’s a lot of fun.”

At the end of the day, all of the dogs are integrated.

The Sawgrass Pet Resort is Wagner’s brainchild. She has long run a dog rescue and saw a need for such a facility.

But it was a long road from concept to fruition.

Completing the paperwork, meeting all the county’s requirements and constructing the building took more than two years. And then, not long after the resort opened its doors on March 9, the governor ordered a statewide stay-at-home-order.

But Wagner sees the silver lining in this turn of events.

“I’m glad we had the ability to have a slow open,” she said, “because now we’ve figured out really how to make it work better.”

She expressed gratitude that the new business has been embraced by the community.

“We’ve had great support,” she said. “It’s very humbling. They’re so excited we’re here.”

In return, the staff members of the Sawgrass Pet Resort show their support of local businesses by patronizing them.

Wagner said she wants her business to be a community asset, a place where quarterly adoption events, fundraisers and pet food collections can be held.

“That’s how I see this place being,” said Wagner. “A place to help all the animals in need and to educate people on how they can help.”

Now that the Sawgrass Pet Resort has reopened, its hours are: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Sundays are reserved to boarding pickups.

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