Dog Day Getaway Celebrates 20 Years of Tail-Wagging Fun!

2 women standing in front of the number 20 covered in pictures holding the letters DDG

DDG marks 20 years of tail-wagging fun! Reminisce with us from our humble beginnings to becoming the #1 dog boarding and dog daycare facility in Minnesota. 

Hello to all of our wonderful dog families! Nicole and Carey here, feeling a bit nostalgic. We can hardly believe that it’s been a whopping 20 years since we opened the doors to Dog Day Getaway (DDG).

As we hit this milestone, we want to celebrate and share the wild journey of how our little dream blossomed into the beloved pooch palace that your furry friends practically call their second home.

How It All Began

The Seed of an Idea

Our story starts in 2003. With fur babies of our own, we were frustrated with the disappointing choices for boarding our dogs. We stumbled upon a unique business idea that reimagined the business of dog boarding. Then we dreamed of a place vastly different from the cold, concrete kennels we’d seen. We wanted to create a cozy, cuddly environment that we’d want for our own dogs. 

So armed with passion and a bit of naïve enthusiasm, we thought, “We can do this!”.  About 9 months later, in May of 2004, DDG was born. We have been asked so many times how we came up with the name, Dog Day Getaway, and honestly neither of us can even remember! It must have been on a long list of ideas and somehow that one stuck. 

Evolution of Our Space

Room to Roam

We kicked things off in a modest 4,400 sq. ft. building. In an effort to keep costs low and with the help of our family and friends, we remodeled our original space all by ourselves! We quickly learned that dreams—and dogs—need room to grow. By 2013, we moved into a brand new 9000 sq. ft. facility, and within two years expanded to the 12,000 sq. ft., canine home away from home you see today fully equipped with both indoor and outdoor play areas, roomy sleeping quarters, a convenient Self Wash room and even a chic event space for doggy celebrations.

The First Doggie Lounge

Our first facility featured what we fondly called the “doggie lounge”—a hang-out sort of space where older dogs could relax and feel at home. Believe it or not, it featured a massive old-school console TV, and we played dog-themed movies on VHS! It sounds quirky now, but back then, it was our way of adding a touch of being at home with family. It was a hit, and it helped set the tone for the type of care we wanted to provide.

Innovations and Improvements

Embracing Technology 

Before the explosion of social media, we were snapping old school photos and printing them out at Sam’s Club for pet parents. We mailed them to our clients or sent them home with each dog after a boarding stay. We wanted them to feel connected to their fur babies while they were in daycare or boarding. It’s so much easier now! 

From the very beginning, we knew we wanted to include webcams in our services. The idea was simple: allow pet parents to see their furry kids anytime they wanted. So we  hooked up our first $40 webcam, courtesy of a tech-savvy buddy. Though the quality was rough, it was a hit! Now, we boast 12 high-definition cameras streaming live daily that livestream puppy love directly to your devices with a bit more clarity and coverage than we once had. 

Outdoor Potty Etiquette

One very unique and important improvement over the years is our outdoor potty areaIn those early days, the city wasn’t sure how an outdoor potty area would work. So, believe it or not, we had to open with an indoor potty!  Thank goodness it was short lived while we proved to the city our doggie clients wouldn’t be a nuisance to the area.  It did the trick, but … Eeewww! 

Our staff is super quick on the draw with the poop-scoop, but when 100 dogs a day do their business, it has to go somewhere. 

Our current outdoor potty area has an easy to clean artificial turf and it is directly connected to the city sewer system. This elaborate but very sanitary set up prevents all the “messiness” from being absorbed into the soil and groundwater –  an added eco-friendly bonus! 

Convenient and Fun Extras

Over the years we’ve tried to pay close attention to the needs of our dog families by adding services that make their stay with us more enjoyable and convenient. It’s important to us to continue to provide the best care for all of our furry guests no matter how much we grow. We are all ears when it comes to your feedback! 


Building a Community

It Takes a Village

In the early days, it was just the two of us running the show, and money was so tight that we didn’t pay ourselves for more than the first year. We hustled hard – 7 days a week, 365 days a year. 

When we finally brought on our first employees they were actually customers that couldn’t afford much daycare, so we basically bartered. They got to get their dogs in daycare and we got a helping hand. 

A new client even trusted us in our very first week open to board their dog. We were so excited that we rolled out the red carpet for that pooch!– we even took her to the dog park! This sense of gratitude for our dog-family community has been the backbone of DDG ever since.

Making Connections

We hit the pavement hard in those early years, attending every local dog event we could find, and passed out flyers like doggy door-to-door salespeople. We regularly picked up our friends’ dogs on our way to work, so when potential customers came for tours, the place was full of happy, playful dogs. It made all the difference, too, showcasing  that DDG was a place dogs were loved and thrived.

Impact and Growth

Today, we have a fantastic team of 30 + staff members and cater to over 100 dogs daily. We’re booked out weeks in advance for holidays, and every summer weekend sees us at full capacity. Some days it’s hard to believe!

Our amazing, dedicated staff is the beating heart of Dog Day Getaway’s success over the past two decades. They are the backbone of our business, the ones who bring our vision to life every single day. 

From very early mornings to late nights, our team’s commitment to providing outstanding care and creating a nurturing environment for our furry clients and their humans has been the key ingredient to our growth and success. This job is not easy and it’s most definitely not “playing with dogs all day”. Its incredibly hard work physically, mentally and emotionally and our staff give 100% of themselves on a regular basis. 

Whether it’s cuddling with a dog who needs some extra love, taking a dog with health concerns home overnight to monitor, or throwing a heartfelt Bon Voyage party for our long-term boarders, our staff consistently goes above and beyond. 

Their genuine love for animals and dedication to exceptional care truly set us apart. We owe our twenty years of success to their hard work and passion.

We feel so honored to be a part of the Apple Valley and Twin Cities communities. We’ve had the privilege of working with some amazing organizations over the years. With opportunities to offer a space for local rescues to host free meet-and-greets, foster dog training opportunities and fundraising events. To regularly collect & distribute an immense amount of dog & cat supplies for local rescues in desperate need thanks to our incredibly generous customers. We’ve been privileged to host blood donor drives for heroic hounds in an effort to help dogs in their time of need. Plus, we’ve been fortunate to have provided educational field trips for children’s daycare centers and Girl Scout troops earning Pet Care or Entrepreneurship badges. We’ve also been active members of the Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce for two decades.

Lasting Relationships

But more important than numbers are the generations of dogs that have come through our doors, with owners who trust us time and again with their beloved pets. Some of our original clients still bring their dogs to us, now with their second or third generation of pets. It’s these long-term relationships that truly highlight what DDG has become—not just a business, but a community and family.

We are profoundly grateful for the unwavering loyalty and support of every dog owner who has walked through our doors. Your trust in us with the furry members of their families means so much to us. Their belief in our vision has not only inspired our growth but also deeply touched our hearts. 

We are especially thankful to those who have been with us from the very start, growing right alongside us and entrusting us with each generation of their fur-babies. They know who they are and we hope they know just how much they really do mean to us. Our pet families are the core of our success and reasons to keep going. 

So from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for being a part of this wonderful journey.

A Heartfelt Thanks

We owe every bit of our success to YOU, our wonderful pet families. And especially our dedicated team, whose love for animals transforms everyday care into something amazing.

Thank you for being a part of this journey. Whether you’ve been with us since the very beginning or just joined the DDG family, your support has been invaluable. We invite you to continue this wonderful journey with us, sharing in the joy and love that only a dog can bring.

Come Celebrate with Us!

As part of our big Thank You! we are celebrating our anniversary during the entire month of May! 

There will be giveaways, contests, fun photos, special treats, prizes and more! 

We can’t wait to celebrate with you!

Thank you for being such an important part of our lives and a part of our family,

Carey & Nicole

Girl in red shirt sitting on red couch holding small dog
Macie in 2008!
Young woman sitting on a couch holding a pug & basset hound
Jill in 2009!
Old living room with couches and a console tv
Our first “doggie lounge” in 2004
green room with many picket fence door spaces
The original overnight rooms we made ourselves.
Woman on a couch with dogs all around
How the playroom started in 2004-yikes!