Co-owner Mallory Poirier started the business with her cousin, Dan Poirier, after they both returned to the Buffalo area after years away for work and school.
“We just wanted to do something and we were into dogs and he was into the business side of it, and we thought, what could we do to bring in an element Buffalo doesn’t have?” she said. “And that was a canine recreation center, everything dog, things for them to do.”
People have responded to their top priorities of safety and cleanliness, Mallory Poirier said, as well as the wide variety of services.
“They appreciate the pool and the very large play space,” she said. “With the facility is as big as it is ... a lot of dogs just really appreciate the opportunity to run.”
Jeff Williamson has owned All Dawgs Academy and Paws at Play Dog Daycare in North Tonawanda for 13 and three years respectively, providing training, boarding, daycare and grooming services to countless Western New York canines.
“We started All Dawgs as a hobby,” he said. “We both had full-time jobs. We just ran it at night and it just kept growing. Paws at Play, we just fell into.”
Over the years, Williamson has seen businesses such as his own grow and take off as people become more and more focused on their pets and the care thereof.
“The pet industry has grown, it’s gotten huge,” he said. “You can make almost any idea work for people’s dogs ... well, they’re not really dogs. I consider them children with fur.
“Ten years ago, you never would have sent a dog to daycare. It’s just evolved. People take better care of their pets, they do more with their pets. It’s just huge.”
In Ransomville, Epic Blue Acres bills itself as “private pet resort,” offering cage- and kennel-free boarding on a 35-acre farm, dog day care and even a shuttle service. Dogs will have access to off-road nature trails (for leashed walks) and options include the run of the house or their own room.