Pet project

By Tanya J. Tyler

Contributing Writer

Robin Fryman manages Uptown Hounds Hotel, a doggy day care.
Robin Fryman manages Uptown Hounds Hotel, a doggy day care.

Robin Fryman is living her dream job.

The manager of Uptown Hounds Hotel spends her days playing with all kinds of dogs. Robin believes she was born with an affinity for animals.

“Some people have a natural gift for certain jobs,” she said. “This job is my life. I really enjoy it. I didn’t go to school for this; it’s something natural for me. I just had the love and passion for animals.”

Robin grew up on a farm with lots of animals, from horses to sheep to turkeys. She has also worked at animal shelters, on a horse farm and at other facilities with kennels. She has four dogs of her own — a pit bull named Jakobi and Chihuahuas Mowgli, Sissy and Ava — plus four cats and some rabbits.

“I have some rescues,” Robin said. “I’ve known people that couldn’t take care of their animals so I took them in.”

Uptown Hounds offers doggy day care during the week. Dogs are placed in playgroups according to their size. They get a lot of off-leash playtime, resting in their rooms between sessions. The facility has a 100-foot-by-120-foot grassy lawn for outdoor play, an 8,000-square-foot indoor arena for when the weather is bad and a 30-foot-by-50-foot saltwater pool that’s 4 feet deep in the middle.

“They love the pool,” Robin said. “We usually open it the first week of April and it stays open through the first of November; it all depends on the weather.”

The dogs run in and out of the pool, chasing their toys and each another.

“They have the best time,” Robin said. “We have fountains that come out of the side of the pool and the dogs absolutely love to play in them. It’s fun to watch. I always take pictures and videos and post them on our Facebook page.”

Doggy day care is beneficial for helping dogs learn to socialize, Robin said.

“A lot of our clients’ dogs are already pretty well socialized, but there are some that are a little shy and their owners want to socialize them,” Robin said. “We start them out slow and introduce them to a couple of dogs, and then we bring them into the group. Usually by the end of the day they’re a lot better.”

Day care helps pet parents, too.

“It’s great for the owners if they need go to work or do some shopping,” Robin said. “You can drop your dog off as early as 7:00 in the morning and pick them up by 6:30. They play all day and it tires them out a little bit.”

Your dog can also get groomed at Uptown Hounds, and there is a vet on site if anything happens.

Robin says the bond between dogs and humans is strengthened by love.

“They feel our love and they give us the same love we give them,” she said. “Dogs are very, very smart. They know who is going to give them the kind of attention they need.”

Most four-legged Uptown Hounds clients arrive there excited and eager to join their puppy partners in all the fun, and they expected their two-legged friends to be part of it, too.

“They feel we’re here to play with them and have a good time and enjoy their company,” Robin said.

Dogs know.

It’s a Dog’s Life

You don’t have make yourself dog tired to have fun with your dog. Most canines are thrilled just to take walks with their people. It’s not only good exercise for both of you, it’s also a good way to get your dog used to other dogs.

“A walk will definitely help your dog socialize with other dogs,” said Robyn Fryman, manager of Uptown Hounds Hotel. “Socialization is good for any dog. It doesn’t matter what breed they are.”

Dogs need the stimulation of seeing different places and encountering different people and dogs. They like to sniff and explore. Taking them around the neighborhood is a simple way to enjoy some time with them.

Another good way to have fun with your dog and to get in some socialization at the same time is to take it to a dog park.

“Some people are not very fond of the dog park for different reasons, but dog parks are good to let dogs socialize with other dogs and people, too,” Robyn said.

Be sure to have plenty of toys on hand for playtime with your dog. You don’t have to buy fancy high-tech toys. Sometimes the simplest of items are best, such as ropes for tug-of-war, sticks for fetching and balls to chew and chase.

“At our facility we have a variety of toys, but the rubber balls are what the dogs really seem to go toward,” Robyn said. “And they really like Frisbees. Frisbees are pretty much a winner with almost any dog.”