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Keeping School Cool at K9 Kampus

By Kelly Church

Dog owners in Melbourne, FL looking for a daily doggy-vacation for their four-legged best friends can look no further than K9 Kampus. The 35,000 square foot indoor luxury (and cage-free) facility is a boarding house for dogs with an outdoor play area, swimming pool, dog park and day care, grooming services and obedience classes. K9 Kampus owner Sherry Acanfora-Ruohomaki says her dog facility provides Melbourne residents with a place to keep their dogs entertained and safe while owners are away.

"I personally feel a pet facility should be clean, smell good and offer the clients the ability to tour the entire facility," says Acanfora-Ruohomaki. "K9 Kampus offers a completely cage-free experience with no doors or walls to separate the dog play areas from view. When you enter our facility, our indoor play areas are seen as soon as you walk in the door and our outdoor play areas are viewable from the street as people drive by and our parking lot."

The K9 Kampus facility features a swimming pool specially designed for dogs of all sizes. With a zero entry perimeter around the entire pool, dogs of all sizes and of all comfort levels around water can experience pool play, taking their time getting as deep in the water as they can. According to the K9 Kampus website, owners have said that dogs who have never liked pools have learned to love water play after getting comfortable in the K9 Kampus pool.

With so many play options, dogs staying at K9 Kampus spend very little time in their kennels and a lot of time socializing with each other. Pet Pals is a program at the facility that allows dogs to play with toys with one another. The Lure chasing course is an opportunity for dogs to expend all their extra energy by using a controlled device as a target for dogs to chase using long strides across a large course, inspired by hounds hunting rabbits.

"Daycare is included in our boarding prices, so our boarding dogs are only in their suites when they're eating or sleeping and out playing with our Pet Pals and the other dogs all day long," Acanfora-Ruohomaki says. "We have some dogs that prefer people to other dogs, so at any time and any point in the facility you might see dogs lying on top of a desk while someone is working, sharing a chair with someone, sleeping on a couch or greeting other dogs as they walk in the door."

Acanfora-Ruohomaki believes that by socializing dogs with other animals and other people, both the dog and the dog parent benefit. Through experiences like the ones at K9 Kampus, dogs are less likely to develop anxiety upon separation from the owner, in turn making them less territorial over their owners and more manageable. Acanfora-Ruohomaki says boarding facilities are a great step in making that happen. Her facility, however, stands out not only because they keep dogs interacted with other animals and people, but they also add an extra layer of comfort for dog owners.

"One of the reasons I started K9 Kampus was because when I was searching for a facility and I requested a tour, either they wouldn't show their facility at all, or they would only show a portion of their facility," Acanfora-Ruohomaki says. "That tells me there is something to hide. K9 Kampus likes to think that we broke the mold on what was traditionally considered 'kenneling' and opened up a whole new world for dog daycare and boarding."

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