The Doggie Den

14 Blake Street, Northboro, MA 01532

Phone: 508-393-6970

Customer Interview with Susan LaDue

What do you do at The Doggie Den?

We help busy pet owners keep their dogs looking and feeling their very best. Our services include supervised daily play and exercise; socialization; baths; haircuts; manicures; massages; tooth brushing; obedience classes; and behavioral consultations either at home or at The Doggie Den.

How much does it cost?

The salon services, like baths, haircuts and tooth brushing, are priced according to the work involved. Call us at 508-393-6970, describe your dog, and we´ll give you an estimate.

Our day care services cost $25/day for dogs up to 30lbs; dogs 31 lbs and over cost $30/day. The fee includes supervised play; hourly potty breaks in our fenced-in yard; and lots of attention from our staff. Dogs are never restrained or crated during play time, except if they need a 5-minute time-out. You can reduce the daily fee by prepaying blocks of visits: see "Rates" page, under "Services".

Our obedience classes cost $175.00 for 6 one-hour weekly sessions. Obedience classes meet once a week for an hour for six weeks in the evening. Behavioral consultations can take place during the day or in the early evening in your home, depending on your needs.

Who will handle my pet, and how did they get qualified to do this work?

In the morning Jennifer Fay supervises the daycare pups, Erika Muir and Susan take over in the afternoon. We´re all trained and experienced in handling dogs in packs. Susan has owned The Doggie Den for 13 years, and is a Certified Canine Specialist, as well as an active member of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters and the Pet Care Associates of America (formerly the ABKA).

Shawna Rubin manages our grooming shop, and also grooms pets herself. Carolyn worked at several grooming establishments in our area before coming to The Doggie Den in 2009. She´s an incurable dog lover, and has 3 of her own who often visit us.

Shannon Cavanagh has been a doggie fanatic all her life. A graduate of Animal Behavior College, she teaches all levels of canine obedience at both The Doggie Den and at another store in Dudley, MA. She also does in-home private consultations with Doggie Den clients who want to address their pet´s specific behavioral issues.

Are you a pet store?

No. We provide services that support your family´s relationship with your dog: supervised exercise, salon care, massage, and training.

We go away a couple of times a year, and we can´t take our dog. Will you board him for us?

We don´t board or kennel pets for the general public. At The Doggie Den, dogs play together during the day in bright, spacious, indoor areas; they have to know each other well and get along. On the other hand, dogs who are regularly enrolled in our daycare program are eligible for boarding services since they´re already well known to other members of The Doggie Den family.

Why don´t you board dogs or sell pet store stuff?

At The Doggie Den, we´re about building relationships. We love seeing all of our four-legged clients (and their people!) on a regular basis. That´s what I love most about my job. If a pet or her owner have been ill, we care about it, and we´ll adjust our services accordingly. We know every pet´s issues. In fact, our only goal is to enhance your family´s relationship with your pet.

How did you get into the dog services business?

Before The Doggie Den, I had two previous careers: I taught French and Women´s Studies at UMass, Boston, in the 1980´s. Then in the 1990´s I did Human Resource work at Digital Equipment Corporation. I advanced steadily in both fields and made a good salary, but I frequently felt out of place and was stressed by the politics and lifestyle.

I dreamed of spending the day with my beautiful Cocker Spaniels, Dudley and Teddy.

I hated climbing into business attire every day. One day a dear friend (who was probably tired of my complaining!) said, "You should do something with dogs." It was an epiphany! 18 months later I opened The Doggie Den.

What are your future plans?

I love my job, and feel "in my element" at The Doggie Den! So my future plans involve continual enhancement and improvement of the business. We´ll add services such as agility training and training for pet therapy dogs. We´ll also expand our relationships with local shelters and rescue organizations such as Save A Dog in Framingham, MA. (

Is there anything you don´t like about your job?

Well, I´m not crazy about cleaning up the pee and poop! But I suppose it´s a small price to pay.