Dog Day Afternoon: Where Pups Go To Party
Every dog has his day, and if he’s lucky, that day will be spent at Dog Day Afternoon, a canine social club in Jackson. The off-leash dog facility offers a slew of services for dog owners, all while doing its part to help shelter dogs. It’s an amazing addition to Jackson – an addition that almost didn’t happen. Founder Leslie Rosella talked to Parents & Kids about her passion for pets, the opening of her facility, and its current offerings – and we must say, it’s a true tail of perseverance.
Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. We’ve all heard the old adage; Leslie Rosella has been living it since 2019, when she opened Dog Day Afternoon in Jackson. The canine social club is a dream-come-true for Rosella, who’s admittedly loved animals for as long as she can remember. Parlaying her passion for pups into a lucrative business was no easy task, though. It took a lot of hard work, dedication, and a purebred Rottweiler, named Brixx.
The rescued Rottweiler, which Rosella adopted in 2001, struggled with “insane health problems,” making it difficult to find a doggy daycare equipped to provide the increased levels of care and attention he needed. Brixx’s struggles didn’t get Rosella down, though. Instead, she became a volunteer with the humane society’s behavior unit, where she quickly learned that one of the main reasons families surrender pets are simple, behavior-related problems – most of which can be easily solved with training. Immediately, she became passionate about educating prospective pet owners. Rosella also received her certification in dog training, hoping to further assist pet owners and their furry pals.
The countless hours of volunteer work, combined with the certification gave Rosella the confidence she needed to step away from her career in the restaurant industry and pursue working with dogs as a career. Knowing that Jackson was in need of a doggie daycare, Rosella had no question about what type of business she was going to open – she just didn’t know how she was going to open it. She needed a loan to get started; however, she didn’t have enough collateral to qualify and was turned down six times! There was a silver lining, though. The sixth bank gave her a lifeline; they told her to contact Renaissance Community Loan Fund, a financial institution that empowers entrepreneurs by providing business coaching, loans, and more.
Once Rosella’s loan was approved in November 2017, she didn’t waste any time making her dream a reality. On September 1, 2018, she moved into her new facility, and by the beginning of 2019, Dog Day Afternoon was up and running. Today, Rosella and her staff offer doggie daycare, overnight stays (a.k.a. doggie slumber parties), and grooming services. But even with the success of Dog Day Afternoon, Rosella hasn’t forgotten her roots. She remains devoted to helping rescues, opening her facility to rescue dogs and giving them the enrichment and one-on-one attention they don’t get at the shelter. Rosella also has “office dogs,” which she likens to a hospice/foster program for shelter dogs nearing the ends of their lives. The dogs get to freely roam about the facility and are “spoiled rotten,” according to Rosella.
Read on to see what else Rosella had to say about her canine social club.
Parents & Kids: Dog Day Afternoon is a doggie daycare, correct?
LR: Yes. We are an off-leash facility focused on group enrichment. Our playgroups are broken up based on size, age, temperament, energy level… to ensure an awesome experience for each dog. In addition to daycare services, we also offer overnights.
P&K: What sets Dog Day Afternoon apart from other doggie daycares?
LR: I think we set the standards and paved the way for other facilities. We take the time to get to know potential members. We offer the 1st day free to assess their personalities. We never want to see signs of stress. If our facility is not a good fit, we are more than happy to help you find a perfect alternative for your dog.
P&K: Are there any known benefits of doggie daycare/ dogs interacting with other dogs?
LR: Just ask any/all of our clients! Dog Day Afternoon is their dog’s home away from home! That phrase, “A tired dog is a good dog,” gives our pet parents time to focus on other aspects of their life. Let’s face it; if it’s too hot, rainy, or just a really long day at work, having a tired, happy companion…
P&K: In addition to the services mentioned above, what other services does Dog Day Afternoon offer?
LR: Dog Day Afternoon is currently working with Bebe’s Critter Service to offer basic grooming by appointment. In the future, we intend to offer training, full-service grooming, boarding suites (equipped with interactive cameras and TVs), pet taxi, and a retail boutique.
Daniella DiRienzo is a self-proclaimed southerner who graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2011 and has been working as a freelance writer ever since.