It's no secret that people love their dogs, I mean they have earned the title of “man's best friend”. :) As a dog owner you are responsible for your best friend's happiness and health. When you live in the city, it can be hard to offer your furry companion the opportunity to exercise and socialize like they need while balancing your busy schedule. What if there was a place where you could relax, socialize with your friends, and have a beverage while your dog runs and plays with other dogs? Where you knew the dogs had owners that were responsible and attentive. What if this establishment was a well maintained, safe, urban type dog park that also provided a family friendly environment? Where you could be offered training classes, dog friendly events, an onsite groomer, and a doggie boutique that sold all of Fido's favorites. This is the question we asked ourselves.
We are best friends, business partners and most of all, dog lovers. We have taken that love for our pets and decided to open Hair of the Dog, Pensacola, LLC (HOTD).
HOTD is a new, hybrid off-leash indoor/outdoor dog park and marketplace. HOTD will be a well maintained, safe, urban dog park that offers a market type environment and a variety of entertainment options for visitors to enjoy. HOTD is a unique gathering place for the community to get together with their dogs, to play and mingle outside, enjoy delicious cold (or hot) beverages, and relax in the beautiful sunshine. The entire park will be completely fenced to provide a safe, private environment. Access to the park is free and anyone is welcome to come in for a visit. However, in order to ensure a safe environment, dogs that wish to visit the park with their human companions must meet a few requirements (listed below) and purchase a “Bark Pass”. Dogs with Bark Passes will be able to roam freely, off-leash within the designated fenced areas, while their families and the general public sip on refreshing beverages, play games, or shop in the boutique area.
HOTD will feature a climate-controlled warehouse building which will house the indoor dog park, market area, pet boutique, an event space, restrooms, and a grooming area. Secured double gates will be located outside the entrance/exit points of both the dog zones. The double gates will prevent dogs from escaping the zone when dogs are leaving or entering the area. Additionally, both the indoor and outdoor parks will contain play gear and water features as well as plenty of space for the dogs to run around and socialize. There will be a variety of substrates to enrich the dog’s experience. HOTD will also offer comfortable seating, Wi-Fi, televisions, and games for the whole family all at one facility.
The ideal location for this facility is on a property that has enough space for a large number of dogs to run and play safely both indoors and outdoors. We searched for over 2 years to find a property that met zoning requirements, had enough space, and was close to the downtown area and the many new condominiums and apartments that are emerging there. We researched dog park design and maximum capacity criteria by consulting the following groups and organizations:
- American Kennel Club - USDA Animal Welfare - Escambia County Parks Department - City of Pensacola – Bayview Park - City of Pensacola Parks Superintendent
Based on all of the information we gathered, we need at least an acre for the outdoor small/large dog park areas as well as room for the 6,000 square foot building and parking.
The market area/pet boutique will be located in the main building and situated by the front door so all guests entering and exiting the facility will walk by this area. We will sell various specialty pet-related gifts and products and a variety of prepackaged snacks and beverages including; water, soda, coffee, beer and wine. In order to support local entrepreneurs, we will rent shelf space in the boutique to merchants that sell pet-related products in the community and we will feature local artist’s work. Additionally, we will rent a space on the property to local food trucks as an alternative food option to our visitors.
For those visitors who would like to bring their furry friend(s) along to enjoy the dog park areas, we will have Bark Passes available for purchase. This allows us to ensure that all dogs visiting the park:
- have responsible dog parents, - successfully pass a temperament test, - are up to date with vaccinations, - have a valid County license (if they live in Escambia County) - review the dog/park rules, and - sign a liability waiver.
Bark passes will be $20.00 per month* ($240.00 per year) for the first dog and $10.00 per month ($120.00 per year) for each additional dog in the same household.
We are also offering a “Day Pass” at the cost of $10.00 per day for a visiting dog. Day pass holders are required to remain on-leash and under owner supervision at all times while in the park.
Pensacola is ready for the Hair of the Dog and we are ready to make that happen. We have the business plan and we have the passion now we need to move to the next step which is funding. This is where you come in! On the suggestion from small business consultants and local entrepreneurs we are reaching out to our families, friends and community for support to move forward with this new addition to Pensacola.
Our current goal is $25,000. Along with each of our contributions this funding will help break ground on the park and tavern concept. Any donation will be greatly appreciated. We thank you for your support and look forward to serving both you and Fido at Hair of the Dog.