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Our Story

Our Best Friends Deserve The Best

Our story begins where you are right now:
searching for a dog daycare near Westerville Ohio.

We tried several different daycares for our pups, but none of them were a great fit.

At some daycares, our four-legged friend was kenneled most of the day, so he came home FULL of energy.

But with the "free play" doggy daycares, he came home dirty and absolutely exhausted - and sometimes with scrapes and bruises too...

Who has time to come home after a long day with their own feet barking and give their dog a bath, or exercise them, or worry they got into a scuffle?


In a human daycare, kids spend their day learning and doing activities. The focus is on education and growth. They get to play too, of course - but not all day!

There had to be a better way.

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A New Standard of Dog Daycare

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After some research, we discovered the Enrichment philosophy. We weren't the first to have this idea - in fact, canine experts across the US have been saying that all-day play might not be the best thing for our pups for a while now.

This new dog care model focuses on quality off-leash playtime, smaller groups, enriching activities, and basic training instead of just stuffing them into a kennel or letting them run wild chasing tails.

The result: your friend comes home happy-tired instead of exhausted - and you get to rest easy after work or travel knowing your best furry friend is clean, healthy, happy - and maybe even a little bit smarter too!

 

So, we got our certifications and started running a small dog daycare 2.0 out of our home during the pandemic. Demand quickly grew, and in 2022 we quit our day jobs and opened our first flagship luxury dog daycare in Westerville Ohio :

Sterling K-9 Retreat!

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How are we the new standard?

  1. Our Culture
     

  2. Bring Healthcare to the K9 Industry.
     

  3. Bringing a better choice in dog care
     

  4. Creating a social outlet to help Properly Socialize our Fur'babys
     

  5. Give compensation that represents the skills needed for our team's craft.
     

  6. Giving the community something that could only be found outside Ohio until now. 


 

How we got the name, Sterling?

We were looking for the name for Sterling for quite some time. Just as with every decision and choice here, we wanted to find a name that we chose deliberately that had meaning behind it. At the time, we had the name "Happy Paws" as a placeholder. I feel now you can see how that did not fit our vision of what we wanted to bring to the community. After a couple of months, Reilly asked to sit down and talk about an inspiring story about a family and a dream. 

Here is his story:

There is a town "up north" called Albion with an interesting recent history still playing out today. This town had a bookstore that you may have seen on the big scenes or even felt on the pages of Robert Frost's work.

This bookstore had shelves up to the ceiling with the traditional roll ladders. Books going every which way to make room for more, with ample dust, added to the excitement of a treasure you may have found to read. The wonder was around every corner, making a small bookstore an easy place to get lost in fantasy.

With the internet making buying books cheap and digital copies being so quick to access, these special places are getting harder to find every day. The town was blessed to have theirs because it was owned by a couple that enjoyed being there in the morning to drink coffee and read in the early mornings in their retirement. They always had their doors open to help anyone who came through the door and the community. 

Getting older, they needed to let go of that special place they had loved for so long and looked for a buyer that would keep the accessibility to the pages. They had met a counter couple and heard their dream, and they once had long ago of wanting something special. After many conversations, they decided to sell to this couple who wanted to take their lives work, polish the dream, and put it back up high on the shelf for everyone to see. Their dream was to take this idea and come back bigger and better to make it in this new world we are in today. 

The wife being a contractor her whole life, she did most of the remodel her self. As a contractor, her body is what she had depended on for so long as a livelihood to support her family. They called the book store "Sterling Books and Brew," where they sold children's books and best sellers only to make room for a simple coffee shop in the back with study tables for those children in the community that needed to do homework. I can smell the coffee and hear the jazz still today.

While they were remodeling, One of the 12-foot book shelves did not come down just right and landed on the wife. After many doctors and frustrating conversations, she found out she may never walk again. I want to say most would give up, spiral, or lose focus, but they made a decision that they would make the time to fight for her paralysis from the hips down to find a solution for her to walk again while fighting for their dream. 
 

Seeing the community, college, and business come together was not only aspiring but honestly the most love I have ever seen in this world. if you ever get a chance to get up north and stop in a town that we hold dear, tell Sterling that sterling stent you and give them a huge huge for giving us passion for your pup.

How did you get into dogs?

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Auntie Jae

My younger brother and I are so close. Since we were kids, our biggest joy is to watch the AKC dog shows with him.

Watching the show and seeing how each judge rates the dogs and handlers is always exciting. As we got older, our passion for dogs grew.

Seeing this K9 world lacking diversity made me want to be the think I could never fit in. I aim to become the first dog show judge of color to show today's children this diverse passion we all share. I would love to bring my knowledge of k9 nutrition and Enrichment care to judge the whole dog, not just the dog and handler.

I have been hungry for dog knowledge for as long as I can remember. To prepare for opening a Dog facility one day, I have acquired any certification I could while running a daycare and boarding out of my home. 

Reilly was a catalyst for many dreams coming to the reality of opening the facility as you see it today. I am proud to be able to not say "Maybe next year?" anymore and be here with a great team. This has always been my dream, but I never knew how blessed I would be to share my dream with such great, supportive, and caring parents like you. 

Thank you!

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Uncle Reilly

Dogs gave me my trajectory in life. When I was in Grade school, I was in the LD room (Learning Disabled). Being way behind in school, the school district brought in reading dogs for the kids on Fridays for kids like me. These dogs were trained to lay their head on the kid's laps when they began to read. Not only does this get the kids excited about reading, but the kids tend to practice for their fur-friends to be better the next time they come.

This took kids that were way behind and allowed them to get ahead of the class. I would not have graduated from my undergrad, attended CMU for my master's, or had Sterling K9 Retreat to call my home.

I was blesses for the opportunity after finishing my undergrad  to train my own pup (Grace-Lynn) how to be a reading dog. This allowed me to take her into the schools while substitute teacher to give back. The kids loved hearing my story that made me who i am today.

Now, here at Sterling, I have the opportunity to give back to the pups themselves, as  everything we do is what is best for these kids. Sparing no expense! 

 

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