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Davis, California

Tuesday, July 23, 2024

New dog spa opens in Davis

Dogtopia provides the Davis dog owner community with a unique dog spa and daycare experience   


By ZOE SMITH — city@theaggie.org


Dogtopia, a dog spa, daycare and boarding facility, opened in Davis at the beginning of July this year. Dogtopia itself is a chain and has locations all over the United States and Canada. 

The owner of the Davis Dogtopia location, Cindy Hespe, is a retired pharmacist and former editor of the California Journal of Health-System Pharmacists. Hespe believes that there are no dog daycares like Dogtopia in Davis. 

“There’s nothing like it around,” Hespe said. “There’s nothing in Davis or Woodland or Winters or Dixon. There are kennels, but there aren’t dog daycares that are like this. We work on socialization of the dogs [and] on educating them to be better canine citizens by working on basic commands with them.”

Dogtopia not only provides daycare and boarding for dogs, it also provides a place for dog socialization, a play environment, spa services and dog training all in a safe facility with highly trained personnel. 

“It’s a service for the community because people work long hours, and they want a safe place for their dog to go,” Hespe said. “And [also] during the day while they’re working or if they’re even going on a day trip to [San Francisco]. We actually get a lot of retirees that will do day trips to San Francisco or Tahoe, and they need a safe place for their dog, so they can bring him here.”

Dogtopia is unique in the services it provides the Davis community. There are three different playrooms for the dogs who are separated by size and temperament. Dogs also undergo a meet-and-greet process before getting admitted into Dogtopia. They have a wellness check, their comfort in a crate is evaluated and their response to staff touch and interaction is recorded, as well as their reaction to open play with other dogs. 

“We have had a lot of excitement in the community because Davis is such a big dog community,” Hespe said. “[…] We’ve had a lot of pet parents just thank us for bringing this to the community because it was needed.”

Jordyn Mines, a third-year human development major at UC Davis and a canine coach and rover at Dogtopia, has been working at Dogtopia since it opened. 

“I’m a canine coach,” Mines said. “It’s when [you] directly work in the rooms with the dogs and you’re coaching them or training them on obedient behavior and making sure that they’re playing safely.”

Mines also works as a rover at Dogtopia.

“[That’s] when I’m going around and doing the meet and greets when we get new dogs,” Mines said. “I make sure the canine coaches have everything that they need.”

Dogtopia also holds charity events where pet owners can buy a treat for their dog or have a fall photoshoot done for their pup, and all the proceeds go to supporting a service dog for a veteran. The calendar of Dogtopia charity events can be found on their website. Mines believes that the business uses their finances for good.

“I’ve been telling people it’s been my favorite job I’ve had so far,” Mines said. “I think it’s nice that we prioritize safety and cleanliness because, while it is important for the dogs to have fun, we have the right goals in mind. […] I also like the things that the Dogtopia company funds. We sponsor ESA dogs to help blind people and we also promote adults with autism being employed.”

Ivy Garrett, a third-year animal biology major at UC Davis, has also been a canine coach and rover at Dogtopia since they opened.

“Working at Dogtopia has been an invaluable experience,” Garrett said. “It’s taught me extensively about dogs, infectious diseases, cleaning protocols and has been a journey of personal growth. The team spirit here is remarkable; we’re a group of dedicated and hardworking individuals, valuing each other’s contributions and ensuring a seamless routine. Above all, the connections forged with the dogs have brought immeasurable joy into my life.”

Garret talked about some of the dogs who use Dogtopia’s services and help make her job memorable.

“Every day brings a multitude of unforgettable moments,” Garrett said. “From Sherlock, the dog who walks himself into daycare, to Whisper, the water-splashing puppy and Frodo, the adventurous husky diving under play equipment. There’s never a dull day at Dogtopia.”


Written By: Zoe Smith city@theaggie.org


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