Dogtopia Winter Park
is the one-stop, high-end place for dogs to go play, vacation or have a spa day. Offering doggie daycare, boarding and spa/grooming services, Dogtopia is a can’t-live-without-it business for all dog owners.
“What really drew me to the business was my love of animals,” says owner Angela Hubbard, who opened the franchise in May of 2019, as the 99th location. While love of animals is her first and foremost mission, as a U.S. Army veteran she is also very committed to service. Discovering that Dogtopia had a nonprofit foundation, The Dogtopia Foundation, which is committed to giving back to the community, is really what convinced her that this was the business she wanted to invest in and the organization she wanted to become a part of.
The foundation has a few unique pillars, and one is providing veterans with a service dog. It costs about $6,000 to sponsor the extensive training for a service dog, and Hubbard’s franchise was able to raise those funds through donations, professional pet photo shoots, frozen treat day events and other creative fundraising ideas that benefit the dogs in her care and their parents, too. Dogtopia Winter Park was paired with an adorable yellow lab puppy donated by Next Steps Service Dogs and was honored to have the right to name the pup. She asked her pet parents and social media followers to send their suggestions, making it fun for everyone to have a say and get to participate. The winning name was Archie, which Hubbard notes means brave or strong. Archie is heading to Montana for the first part of his training, but Hubbard says they will get regular updates on him that they will share with everyone.
“We want to sponsor a service dog at least once a year. Our foundation also has a youth literacy program. We can bring in a dog to local schools, and the children can read to the dogs, giving them a supportive and non-judgmental audience as they practice reading. We are waiting for our first opportunity to make that happen. We also employ adults with autism. We have worked with Best Buddies to interview potential candidates,” says Hubbard.
The daycare side of the business currently averages about 35 dogs per day, with capacity to take up to 85 dogs. There are three different playrooms, separated by size, temperament and play style. Hubbard notes that there is always a coach in the room to attend to the dogs and monitor them. There are webcams so parents can check in on their dogs, too. The boarding dogs get to be a part of open play also, which is different than most other dog boarding facilities. They offer “Funderland” a couple of days a week, letting the dogs play outside with sprinklers, pools, water hoses, bubbles and plenty of toys. If you haven’t visited their social media sites (Facebook here
and Instagram here
) yet, you need to just to see the antics of the cute lovable clowns goofing off.
Hubbard says when they get tired of playing, they pick a corner and go chill out. They also have naptime every day between noon and 2 p.m. “Dogs are literally like children and will play themselves so hard that they get grumpy,” says Hubbard.