After offering pet care services out of their home for 10 years, Darrel and Nancy Schuster’s dream of owning their own dog boarding and day care facility came to fruition with the opening of Snuggles & Hugs Active Dog Camp in December 2016.
Located in Oak Ridge North, Snuggles & Hugs offers luxury boarding and upscale day care for dogs in a home-like setting.
“When I would go on vacation, I would have my mom or my sister who live three hours away to come take care of my dogs because I didn’t trust anybody else to take care of my dogs the way that I would want them to be cared for,” Nancy said. “So I started pet sitting because I wanted to be able to do this for other people so that they can have peace of mind when they go away.”
The facility boasts four playrooms, a lounge and a 2,000-square-foot grassy outdoor area. Playgroups are organized by dog size, play style, activity preferences and energy level, with different days of the week for small and large dog camp days.
With a staff-to-dog ratio of 1-to-6, Darrel said the facility’s capacity is 15 dogs, which allows the Schusters to provide individualized care.
“I would say the biggest thing that makes us unique is the one-on-one attention,” Darrel said. “When your dog is here, it’s as if they’re still at home—that’s the kind of quality service people get when they bring their dogs here. Big box places aren’t equipped to do that because they have too many dogs and not enough staff.”
The cageless facility has eight luxury boarding suites, each with a TV, as well as soft music and Kuranda premium dog bedding. Boarders can choose from four different packages with prices ranging from $67-$95 per day.
Dog camp costs $45 per day and is also available in 10-day, 15-day and 20-day packages, each at discounted daily rates. Camp activities include group play and one-on-one games such as tug of war, hide-and-seek and fetch.
To become a member at Snuggles & Hugs, for boarding or day care, all dogs must complete an interview and evaluation process, be up-to-date on vaccinations, be spayed or neutered if they are at least six months old, show no aggression and be socially appropriate with other dogs, Darrel said.
“Our primary goal is safety,” he said. “During the evaluation process, we’re looking for their communication skills with a pack of other dogs, their temperament and their interaction with us. We want to make sure that every dog here is happy and wants to be here.”
To stay acclimated to the facility, members must board their dogs at Snuggles & Hugs at least once a month or attend camp twice a month.
Additionally, the Schusters also offer in-home pet sitting, dog walking, pet taxi services, obedience lessons and a puppy program.
The Schusters said, in the future, if they decide to expand their business they would build a second facility modeled after the first with the same 15-dog capacity, to ensure quality service.
“This has been my dream since I started pet sitting 11 years ago, and I’m just so happy that it’s real now,” Nancy said. “Getting to work with animals all the time and just love on them, while giving them direction—it’s just a beautiful feeling.”
Snuggles & Hugs Active Dog Camp
26781 Hanna Road, Oak Ridge North
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 7-9 a.m. (drop off), 4-5:30 p.m. (pick-up); Sat. 8:30-9:30 a.m. (drop off), 4-5 p.m. (pick-up); closed Sunday