The Grateful Dog Owner

By Cristina Guccione

Cristina Guccione
Cristina Guccione

Owning a dog is arguably just as rewarding as birthing your own flesh and blood. Easy for me to say as I don’t have children however, my furry baby does hold a special place in my heart that is typically reserved for our two legged progenies.  

As many pet owners know, trying to find someone to care for your furry loved one, when work or vacation calls, can trigger immense stress, paranoia, and fear that leaving your child in someone else’s care will result in major discomfort for both you, and your pet. Okay, maybe it’s not that extreme, but for those working professionals who must make arrangements when duty calls, have no fear, there is a solution. 

In my hunt for a pseudo overnight mother, I trolled the Internet and blogs looking for something to jump out at me that said “I will love your baby just as much as you do!” Well, unfortunately my friends are not dog sitters on a regular basis so I decided to take a leap of faith and trust a complete stranger with my baby (gasp!). 

I was looking for a place that had the comfort of home, with the ability to let my baby wander outside and daydream in the heat of the sunshine, and snuggle up with a warm body if he was feeling homesick.  I’m sure most of you reading this are thinking to yourself that I’ve just described a five star resort and spa, but on the contrary, this magical place does exist right in downtown Sacramento.

Enter: Grateful Dog Daycare.

Grateful Dog Daycare in midtown Sacramento is a hidden gem, or shall I say, a buried bone. My experience began with a phone call to ascertain how these people were going to convince me that they actually like dogs and would somehow make certain that I wouldn’t be thankful I microchipped him as a puppy. Channeling my inner negativity, I started the conversation off with a rapid fire superfluous inquisition only to hear the voice of a kind soul on the other end of the line. 

With her caring and gentle demeanor, she immediately calmed my trepidations by explaining that at Grateful Dog Daycare, animals are not caged, they are organized into different play areas with similar tempered dogs and are given the option of playing outside, with a staff member, or with a new furry friend.

The dogs are never left alone and are always in the company of the loving staff. At nighttime, they are moved to the bedrooms that consist of a twin bed, sofa, and various blankets and dog beds on the floor. In each bedroom (about the size of a one bedroom downtown apartment) there is an actual human that sleeps in the bed so that the dogs feel “at home.” Honestly, this was the kicker for me. The staff must really love dogs if they enjoy having other people’s dogs sleep in their bed…I mean, really?

Needless to say, I thought my dog was actually better off living there than at my house. After his temperament test and trial day, my dog passed the test and was accepted into Grateful Dog! I was a proud mother that day. My little ankle biter that can’t walk on a leash without jetting after everything and will run away if given the chance, actually passed an obedience test. Again, proud mother. So, in tribute to the people who post photos on Facebook of their children on the first day of school with a chalkboard that gives you all their stats, please see the report card below from my child that I receive every time I pick him up from his favorite watering hole.

Charlie Guccione

And whether their name is a tribute to The Grateful Dead wherein lies their philosophy of minimal confines, everyone being together, hang out where you please, and if you want sunbathe naked, go for it…or, if it just means that my dog is super stoked to be there, I’m sold. Call me a Grateful Dog deadhead.




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