aboutfor dogs & their people


What is dog daycare?

The purpose of dog daycare is to provide a safe, fun, and stimulating social environment for a group of friendly dogs from multiple families, in an organized, controlled, and monitored setting. Daycare operators are onsite at all times to supervise their interaction.

Daycare gives owners peace of mind, knowing their best friends aren’t left home alone for long hours while they’re at work, out-of-town, or unable to exercise or socialize them as much as they’d like. It works similar to child daycare, as dogs are dropped off in the morning and picked up at night, happy and tired from a day of playing with other dogs. Daily naptimes allow everyone to wind down, especially puppies, and avoid over stimulation. Daycare is an excellent opportunity for puppies and younger dogs to learn manners, gain confidence, and become well-adjusted with a variety of dogs and experiences. Daycare is a valuable tool to prepare dogs for overnight boarding, ensuring their comfort level and well being.


How do I know if it’s right for my dog?

This is where screening is so important. Completing a personality profile/application and visiting the site prior to attendance is necessary to determine if it is a good fit for dog and owner. Not all dogs are candidates; some may be friendly but experience more stress than enjoyment. Others are either too dominant, aggressive, or fearful.

See “What if I want to Come Visit First?” below.


Are daycares licensed by the State of Maine?

Yes, an district humane agent from the Animal Welfare Department inspected our site and granted our license (# F1098).


How many dogs attend at a time?

Group sizes vary depending upon the time of year, space available, personality and physical size of the dogs. We average five to seven dogs during the day in order to give the best attention to everyone.


Will my dog be safe?

Everyone’s safety is the number one priority. Good daycare operators continually educate themselves regarding dog behavior and training. Advance screening cannot guarantee how every dog will react in every situation when new dogs impact group dynamics, but the key is to anticipate problems and intervene before they occur.

“Secure fenced play area” translates as a 6-foot high, three-rail cedar framed perimeter fence with vinyl-coated wire. Two feet of galvanized wire is buried under the bottom rail to prevent digging. This area is divided by a 4-foot high fence as well to accommodate a secondary yard for smaller dogs. Multiple fence gates and double doors in and out of the house and screen porch additionally secure the site.

Every dog should have a collar with current license and rabies tags. Personalized I.D. tags are helpful. Tags can fall off however, so tattoos or embedded microchips are often utilized. Not all dogs can be off leash, so we have extra leashes for our woods walks.

Last but not least, protecting the health of every dog is vital. That’s why we require proof that all dogs are up to date on their vaccinations before they can attend daycare. Owners must submit written proof of DHLPP and Rabies vaccinations, as well as Bordetella (for protection against what is often referred to as “kennel cough”). Annual titre tests are acceptable. Every dog must be on flea/tick control and heartworm prevention. Annual proof of a negative fecal exam is also required. Veterinary offices may fax records to: 763-2800.

What happens in case of an emergency?

We give owners an Emergency Contact Information form to complete and return for our files due upon their dog’s first visit.


Do you have references?

Yes, references are available upon request.


What if I want to come visit first?

That’s a good idea and a necessary one, prior to making a decision to utilize our services.

We call it a “meet and greet.” Owners should call and make an appointment to visit our site to determine whether Hope Unleashed is a good fit for everyone. Owners need to complete a profile/application form for each dog, accompanied by a $10 application fee. This form is available from the website or via mail. Allow approximately 30 to 45 minutes. Owners are also required to submit a completed emergency information form (via website or visit) and sign our waiver by the first scheduled daycare. Please arrive and depart with your dog leashed, as the resident cat is often outside.


What to bring?

Every dog has their own diet and few tolerate a sudden change in food, if only for a day, so owners need to bring what their dog is accustomed to. Food and water bowls are provided, as are biscuits and homemade frozen treats for those hot summer days.

Beds are available, but if your dog is not possessive of his/her bed, it can come too.

Bring from home:

  • Food in container marked with name and feeding instructions

  • Favorite treats, especially if your dog has specific allergies

  • Medications if necessary, also with written instructions