SIOUX CITY | A golden retriever and a blue heeler mix jump into a pool of water, trying to cool off during playtime on a hot day. The two dogs are among 30 that are being boarded or are spending the day at the Bed and Biscuit Doggie Daycare and Boarding on Stone Park Boulevard.
“It’s like a kid’s daycare,” said owner Rebecca Gaskell. “We have all kinds of themed parties. We want to make sure the pups have a positive experience.”
Recently, staff held a going-away party for a regular daycare dog. It was a Hawaiian theme and all the dogs were decked out in leis and sunglasses. Parties also are held to correspond with the holidays, such as a St. Patrick’s Day “pup” crawl complete with doggy beer, a.k.a. chicken broth.
Gaskell owns the establishment with her husband Curtis. They trade back and forth between working at the business and raising their two children, ages 2 and 4.
Bed and Biscuit has been in business since November 2007, when Gaskell decided she had a new calling while going to school to study nursing.
“I was just thinking about what I wanted to be when I grew up,” she said. “At the time, Sioux City didn’t have a doggy daycare facility. And I love dogs. I guess that’s the short answer.”
Bed and Biscuit spans across 6 acres and features several pools, an elaborate sprinkler system, and luxury indoor facilities to make dogs feel comfortable when they aren’t at home. Their days are filled with snacks, naps and group playtime, which is why aggressive dogs aren’t allowed to attend.
“I’m a total crier when it comes to leaving my dog places,” said Gaskell. “I wanted people to see that when they leave their dog here, it will be well taken care of and not just left in a cage all the time.”
Dogs must also be spayed or neutered, healthy and current on all vaccinations to visit Bed and Biscuit.
“Just like if you were to take your kid somewhere, you’d want it to be healthy,” Gaskell said.
The dogs aren’t the only ones having a good time at daycare. Gaskell and her staff also enjoy coming into work every day.
“I feel blessed that I get to enjoy my passion for dogs every day," Gaskell said.
Mornings start early, which is fine with the staff.
“We start at 6:30 a.m.,” Gaskell said. “I used to not be a morning person, but it’s hard not to be when you have the daycare dogs busting in the gate in the mornings.”
Summer months are the busy season, and Gaskell noted that it's a good idea to get reservations in as soon as possible. People can call the same day and will get a spot if available. It's better to call in advance, though, as the kennel holds approximately 35 dogs at maximum.
For safety, the staff is trained in canine body language in case things get out of hand during playtime.
“We just want all the dogs to have a good, safe time,” Gaskell said.