Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 52
Happy Holidays!
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

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Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate

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It’s New to Us by Jean Stratton

PET PALS: “If people are out of the house working eight to 10 hours a day, their dog will benefit from socialization. It’s more than someone just coming in and walking the dog. The animal will have a full day of exercise, play, and socialization and the benefit of canine and human companionship.” Carole Lini (second row, right), owner of All Good Dogs Day Care, is shown with staff members: back row, Keith Meseroll; front, Dana Christensen and Nicole Rubino, and a group of very contented “customers”.

Socialization, Exercise and Quality Care Are Available at All Good Dogs Day Care

“Is your pet a “pooch potato”? If your dog is becoming a bit too sedentary, inactive, and lonely while you are away, the answer may be a “home away from home.”

All Good Dogs Day Care, with three locations — Plainsboro, Lawrence, and Cherry Hill — offers a safe, friendly, and spacious environment for dogs to socialize with other dogs under the supervision of trained counselors.

“I’ve been in the pet business 25 years,” says owner Carole Lini. “I started as a vet technician, then worked as a pet sitter, walking dogs. All Good Dogs Day Care is available for people who are not comfortable with the typical kennel situation, where the animals are in a more confined area.”

Located at 113 Schalks Crossing Road in Plainsboro, the facility originally opened in Kingston in 2000. Needing to expand the space, Ms. Lini relocated to the current address in 2003. “We picked this property for its size and for the convenience of the clientele,” she says. “It’s only minutes from Princeton.”

Happy Setting

It is also a happy setting for the dogs. The Colonial brick house is spacious, spotlessly clean, with many rooms for the approximately 25 to 30 dogs who stay there each day. Outside, there is plenty of space for exercise. Outdoor play furniture, including slides and a kiddie pool in the summer, is available, and a tunnel, hoops, obstacle course-type play sets, and customized playhouse for agility all combine for lots of doggie fun.

“We’re a boutique doggie day care — it’s like a house environment,” points out Ms. Lini. “The facility was formerly a house, and we have turned it into a very big dog house!”

Day care is not for all dogs, she notes, and she continues to operate Whiskers Watchers: Happy Tails of Mercer County, a pet sitting and dog walking business. “Pet sitting is great, but day care can provide more opportunities, and you’ll get more for your money with this service. Dogs are so smart and intelligent. They can get bored and lonely if left by themselves at home for a long time. They like to have new experiences. Here, they can have stimulation all day long, and get rid of that extra energy. Dogs need to play on a regular basis. They don’t belong in confined spaces.

“After they are accustomed to the routine, the dogs know when they are coming here,” she continues. “They are very happy to come. They often have their favorite canine friend they like to play with. And they get attached to the people here too, the dog counselors.”

When owners consider sending their dogs to All Good Dogs Day Care, they first fill out a questionnaire, she explains. “Then, we’ll have a four-hour evaluation of the dog, and gradually introduce it to the other dogs. We want to see how they interact and mingle, and how the dog reacts without its owner. Nearly all the dogs are accepted, but we don’t take aggressive dogs.

“Also, the animals must be spayed or neutered, with all vaccinations up-to-date.”

Age Range

Dogs four months old up to 14 or 15 years is the age range, with the upper limit depending on the dog’s health. “We have taken older dogs with special needs, such as those with diabetes,” says Ms. Lini. “We can give them medicine, if necessary. Dana Christensen, our supervising manager, is a vet technician, and I’m a former vet tech.”

Chihuahuas to Great Danes have been clients, with all sizes and breeds in between. “We have a lot of labs and golden retrievers now, and a lot of mixed breeds. Some are rescue dogs, and we love the fact that so many more people are adopting dogs from shelters rather than buying them. We group dogs according to age, size, temperament, and activity level. We usually rotate them in and out, so they have the opportunity to play outside and inside. You learn each dog’s personality, and can anticipate their behavior.”

Many dogs come five days a week, others three or even once a week. Half-days (under six hours) are available as well.

“Also, sometimes, people are visiting in Princeton and just need temporary help for a week or less for their dogs,” reports Ms. Lini. “We also recommend that if the dog is to eat lunch that their owners send the dog’s food. We always do have food, too.”

24-Hour Supervision

In case of emergency, they will always reach a veterinarian, she adds.

Overnight boarding is also available, and as Ms. Lini points out, “We are a cage-free boarding facility, with 24-hour supervision. Someone is here all night with the animals. This sets us apart.”

“We really treat the dogs as if they were our own,” adds Ms. Christensen.

Overnights vary — from a weekend to a week or more. Some owners miss their dogs so much that they will even call and ask to speak to the dog, says Ms. Lini. “One owner called us on 9/11. He was very upset because he was looking for his wife, and now, he just wanted to be sure his dog was safe. Pets are such an important part of the family.”

Costs are affordable, with discounts available if more than one dog comes from a family. A Club Card is also offered, with savings for 10 pre-paid visits.

“This is a labor of love for me,” explains Ms. Lini. “I’ve had animals my whole life. Knowing that we offer such a valuable service and that the dogs love to come here is very rewarding. This is a fun business, but we also work very hard. It really is 24/7, and it keeps me very busy, but I truly love what I do.

“We also have a very dedicated, experienced staff who first and foremost love dogs. The right people make it work.”

Hours are Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (609) 275-7177. Website:

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