Land O Lakes Real Estate News - JLS Investment Realty

Who knew? A St. Petersburg water park for dogs
September 15th, 2011 12:49 PM

Who knew? A St. Petersburg water park for dogs

Date: Wednesday, September 14, 2011, 10:49am EDT

It’s 90+ degrees outside, the hot sun is blaring down relentlessly but the bulldogs don’t mind.

They have gathered at the only water park for dogs in Florida and nearby states. Natalie Connor, owner of Love My Dog Resort and Playground Inc. in St. Petersburg, can barely pull away from her dignified guests long enough to give an interview.

“Aren’t they great?” she said rhetorically.

Love My Dog is a grooming, boarding and day care facility founded by Connor.

She opened the water park portion two years ago, after investing $75,000 into the addition, but no price can match the joy that radiates off the dogs as they frolic in and out of shallow pools and water fountains.

The water park isn’t the only surprise waiting for the dogs. There are 22 play areas and suites to accommodate every type of dog and price tag.

“We let the owner designate to us what they want,” Connor said.

Connor and her staff of 16 take into account size, age, temperament and play personality

“This is not some kind of free-for-all,” said Connor.

Connor opened Love My Dog three years ago and it has grown ever since, with boarding creating the most revenue.

A quick Google search shows only one other dog water park located in Sun Valley, Calif. Connor said she gets calls about her facility as far away as Chicago.

“I don’t do anything by the book,” she said of her business model. “I based my business on what my dogs would need. What would make them happy if I needed to go out of town or if they needed a haircut.”

She has invested at least $2 million total into the facility. From painting the main office to installing artificial turf and misters, to more recently building luxury wilderness suites.

Soon to be completed are the suites, which are 17x10 square feet, will accommodate three families of dogs in each suite, and come equipped with flat screen TVs.

The facility also offers limousine service for pet transportation to assist elderly or busy pet owners. Connor said her goal is to get the dogs to her property, because they will have fun once they get there.

“The philosophy is: They get out and play,” said Connor. “It’s a Disney World for dogs.”

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Posted by Jennifer Stepanek on September 15th, 2011 12:49 PMPost a Comment

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