| Smiths lodge proves all dogs go to heaven
| By David Lowe, Contributing Writer 03/27/2008
We all have experienced a trip to the grandparents' house. There's
playing, laughing, eating, sleeping and a general day of fun.
||David Lowe | Contributing Photographer
James and Nancy Smith and their dogs sit with Frisco, a Siberian husky
that has adapted to the loss of his shoulder and leg to cancer.
It's no different in a dog's life when they visit the Smiths.
Monument residents James and Nancy Smith own Smiths Dog Lodge, offering
love and lodging for the family dog. Owners of four dogs, they treat
other people's dogs as their own.
James (Alpha Dog) Smith
wants everyone to know that Smiths Dog Lodge is not a kennel. Kennels
have cages. The dog guests have professional dog crates in which to
sleep, or they can sleep outside of the crate if they choose, like in
front of the fireplace, or at the base of the bed, or any place they so
desire within reason.
James retired after 25 years as a human
service professional and business developer. He earned a master of
science degree in counseling psychology. That combined with his love of
dogs should make for some interesting moments.
"Sixty percent of dogs sleep in bed with their owners," Nancy Smith said.
She is the small-dog specialist at the lodge. She is also a
veterinarian tech with Front Range Animal Hospital one day a week. Even
when she worked such few hours, she found herself taking dogs home to
help out their owners. Her training allows her to give shots to the
dogs with medical and special-diet requirements.
It was this
love of dogs, and an incident involving their own dog, that propelled
the Smiths to open the lodge. They cut short a vacation by three days
after worrying about how rudely they had been treated when they dropped
their dog at a kennel.
The Smiths bought their house and
land 18 months ago. It has 16 acres with three acres dedicated to the
dogs. They have no employees, so they get to know each dog's traits and
needs. They have adopted a lifestyle of 24-hour care for the dogs.
One of the special dogs they care for is Frisco, a 12-year-old Siberian
husky that lost his right front shoulder and leg to bone cancer. Today,
"the Husky drive" has Frisco up and running with the pack.
average, they have 12 to 15 dogs at any one time including borders and
daycare. The dates of Thanksgiving, Christmas and spring break will add
to the average numbers.
Although the Smiths love every dog, be
assured that it's not a case where the inmates run the asylum. There is
a structured daily activities program as follows:
* 7 a.m. - Overnight dogs get up.
* 7:30 a.m. - Dogs are fed.
* 8:30 a.m. - Dogs go outside to play.
* 8-10:30 a.m. - The daycare dogs arrive. They are mixed with the other
dogs except for dogs requiring special needs, and house dogs.
* 10 a.m. to noon - Structured play is introduced to the dogs. They go
to the meadows where James Smith throws balls and Frisbees, exercising
* Noon - lunch.
* Noon to 2 p.m. - Most dogs enjoy nap time.
* 2-4 p.m. - Back to the meadows.
* 5-6 p.m. - Dinner is served.
* 6-9 p.m. - Rest, play, free time.
* 9 p.m. - The dogs are "tucked in."
In addition to the lodge, the Smiths have developed a series of blank
greeting cards featuring beautiful black-and-white photos of the dogs.
There are three series: Eyes of a friend, featuring close-ups; Funny
Pups; and Running Dog. The cards may be purchased at the Second Street
Art Market in Monument.
"Everything we do is by appointment only, including pickups and dropoffs," Nancy Smith said.
All new prospective clients must fill out an information form.
Unfortunately not all dogs are accepted. Appointment hours are 8 a.m.
to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Daycare hours
are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The cost is $30 per night per dog or $23 per night
per dog for families with multiple dogs. The cost for daycare is $20
Smiths Dog Lodge is at 17150 Mitchell Ave. in Monument.
They can be reached by phone at 719-481-9037, or by the Internet,
Smithsdoglodge.com. Check out the "Talking Dogs" feature on their site.