In Washington D.C. at a popular doggie daycare business you will find the most pampered of pets. Along with those pampered pets you will see dogs that have been neglected and never known pampering in their life. Wagtime is a booming dog care business. Among the pampered pooches you find from Wagtime’s paying clients, walk into their 6,000 square foot cage-free row house and you will find that 20 percent of the dogs there are fosters that Wagtime is helping to find good homes.
Back in 2000, Lisa Schreiber started a dog walking business in Washington D.C’s Dupont Circle. These days she works alongside her husband, Ofer Khal, and the dog walking business has grown into an impressive doggie day care center that offers a variety of services. Wagtime functions as a pet boutique that offers grooming services, day-care and boarding. Employing over 55 employees, Wagtime is a big business.
Wagtime works with local shelters and rescues to foster dogs and help them find adoptive homes. Wagtime fosters some of the dogs themselves, but also works with its large base of doggie clients to find foster parents for the shelter dogs. Wagtime uses a portion of their profits to support the needs of the foster dogs they take in. They work with several rescue groups in the area and don’t charge them for any of the services they provide. Mirah Horowitz, executive director of Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, says no other day care or pet facility fosters for free. Khal stated, “I have employees on staff that I’m paying to care for adoption dogs.”
Khal and Schreiber carefully assess any dog they potentially take in to make sure the dog won’t be aggressive. “I can’t put my client’s dogs in danger,” Khal says. However, there are lots of dogs that just haven’t been properly socialized that Schreiber and Khal work with. They try to set these dogs up with a foster parent who can give them the attention they need. They also offer to those clients who adopt or foster through them free or reduced-price doggie day care and boarding. This system makes it easier for some people to foster. Santina Latney works in Wagtime’s neighborhood and has fostered a few of Wagtime’s dogs and takes them to daycare for free. “All you have to do is take them home and bring them back in the morning. It’s easier than owning my own dog!” Latney says.
Schreiber and Khal get benefits from their fostering. They love the feeling of helping the dogs and it also helps their business, “Those adoption dogs come back to us as clients,” Khal says. Whether it is for grooming, walking or pet supplies, dogs that are adopted through Wagtime usually are loyal Wagtime customers. Schreiber and Khal are opening up a second location in Southeast Washington and hope to be able to open more facilities in the future.