Making Tails Wag Since 2005
by Kaycee Chance
Photos by Linda Earley
Central Park is a doggy daycare and boarding facility located in the heart of Oklahoma City, which offers an easy location for pet parents in the metro area to drop their pups off for a day of fun with friends or for an extended stay if needed. Owner April Campbell first had the dream of opening the daycare while working at a veterinary clinic in the early 2000s and seeing the animals that were staying in the kennels.
“The veterinary clinic was absolutely amazing, but it made me sad because the dogs there were not used to being in a kennel that long during the day, and I started dreaming up the dog daycare idea so that dogs who were in boarding could romp and play all day,” she says.
Campbell was greatly focused on how a facility like Central Park could improve the overall quality of life for pets through entertainment and exercise while owners were at work or on vacation—and help alleviate any issues with separation-induced destructive behaviors.
In addition to giving the pups a better quality of life, Campbell saw all the ways pet parents could be helped as well. Because of the exercise and playtime dogs would receive while at Central Park, there would be more time for relaxing after work. “We could free up pet parents’ time in the evening, eliminating the need for a walk and allowing more relaxing cuddle time,” Campbell explains.
In 2005, the dream of Central Park came to life, and over the last 15 years, the team has focused on offering a wide variety of specialized care and fun to the dogs of Oklahoma City.
Central Park strives to offer their clients safe, pet-centered care whether it’s daycare, boarding or training. In addition to having skilled staff on hand at all times, the facility itself offers an impressive 10,000 square feet of outdoor space and 3,600 square feet of indoor play space with a climate-controlled area for the dogs to romp and socialize.
Central Park welcomes dogs of all breeds and ages, supervised at all times by the highly trained staff. Play time is an aspect of the job which seems to be a favorite for all staff members, who have many stories of laughs, triumphs and playtime with the pups in their care.
In addition to play, Central Park also recognizes the important role of training in a dog’s life and offers several training packages to choose from. “Training is an important part of a dog’s development and strengthens the bond between dogs and their owners,” Campbell and Manager Melissa Hedges explain. “Much like human children, dogs require education and learning opportunities and thrive when they know what is expected of them.”
There are four main training opportunities for pups who attend Central Park: Day Training, Board and Train, Private Sessions or Fun Add-Ons. Each option offers something different for each pet and its individual situation. The Day Training option is a four-week program where dogs attend daytime training three days a week and return home at night. During this time, owners will also get one session per week where they have hands-on time with the trainer to learn how to continue encouraging appropriate behavior at home.
The second option, Board and Train, is perfect for pups who need to learn a bit more structure while they are trained, or for pet parents who would like to have their dogs trained while they are away for work or vacation. This package includes overnight boarding for two weeks, during which the dog is part of the training program during the day. At the end of the two-week session, owners have an extended training session with the handler in order to learn how to keep up with lessons when bringing their pets home.
For owners who wish to have more hands-on time with their dogs during training and can commit to multiple sessions, Central Park also offers private one-on-one training sessions in which the pet parents are in attendance for training classes. Owners have the opportunity to learn the training techniques themselves and further solidify the bond with their pets.
Lastly, for the pup who knows it all but needs a little bit of brain work, there’s the Fun Add-On. During a daycare or boarding session, let the staff teach your pup a new trick like a high-five, roll over, wave or more.
A true testimony to the care and dedication of the staff at Central Park, pet parents Greg and Tiffany Porter turned from lifelong skeptics to true Central Park advocates. “As a lifetime large, working-dog owner, I had always been skeptical of ‘doggy daycares.’ But you can tell how much our dog loves it by his excitement when it’s time to go to daycare, and then how he runs around the reception area saying goodbye to all of the handlers before we leave. It certainly lowers his energy levels when we get home.”
Aside from their dog’s excitement, the Porters say their true amazement comes from the management of their dog’s occasional aggression toward others. “What strikes me now is the difference in his behavior and attitude. I had never completely solved the dog aggression problem before, but with him, it is very manageable. I credit that to his handlers and the system they have worked out for managing the dog packs. They place the dogs in with the right pack, depending on their temperament, and take the time to develop individual relationships with the dogs.”
The Porters have a message to others curious but unsure about doggy daycare. “As a lifelong skeptic, I find myself a strong advocate for the Central Park flavor of doggy daycare.”
For more information or to learn how to enroll your dog at Central Park, email firstname.lastname@example.org; call (405) 858-BARK; or follow Central Park on social media @centralparkdogdaycare.