Tips to find animal boarding in Atlanta

Who we talked to

Mara Morreale,

general manager

Camp Woof

608 DeKalb Industrial Way

Decatur, Ga.

404-499-9008

Mara Morreale started working at Camp Woof five years ago as a manager after the advertising agency she worked for went out of business. "At the time, I figured it would be a temporary gig until I got back to my real advertising job, but after two weeks, I couldn't imagine doing anything else." Two years later, she became general manager, and she's been there ever since.

How can I make sure my pet has a happy stay?

"Ask what kind of activities they have for the dogs. You want a supervised play group. Make sure humans are always watching the play groups. Is there an inside and an outside area? You want large kennels for the dogs. Ask if it's air-conditioned. Are you allowed to bring your own food and bedding? Friendliness, customer service and cleanliness are all very important. How do they interact with you and your dogs?

"Webcams are important, so you can see what your dog is doing. Consumers tend to like the webcams so they can keep an eye on what their dogs are doing during the day. We have four webcams, both inside and outside.

"You can tell a lot from how friendly the staff is toward you when you come in the door. If they know your dog's name when the dog comes in the door, that's a good sign. When they give you a report about how the dog did, and you feel like they're telling you the truth, that's good. You want the staff to be people you can have an open, honest relationship with. It's important that the people seem to be enjoying what they're doing.

"It's very important to have strict health requirements. I wouldn't even consider a kennel who didn't require proof of vaccinations. You want to make sure the dogs are spayed and neutered after six or eight months.

"The department of agriculture inspects our facility once a year. As a consumer, I'd want a kennel that had the required license from the department.

"Your primary concern should be the safety of your dog and the relationship of the staff to the dog. I'd want to leave my dog with people that I felt really cared for my dog as an individual creature."


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