Owner Barbara Sena is surrounded by just a few of her fans. (Garrison Wells/Observer)
Big dogs. Little dogs. Running-around dogs. And every one of them a tail-wagger in the fenced area behind the building.
Owner Barbara Sena knows them all by name. And when she issues a command, they respond. Beast & Nugget’s Doggy Daycare, at 4035 Peggy Rd. SE, recently was awash with dogs.
“Our plan is to get some agility material here. The dogs love to run,” she said. “We do fetch with them. And we do the nylon bone.”
Beast & Nugget’s has been cleared to keep dogs overnight. And to set itself apart from other overnight dog spots, Sena has added employees who will stay with the dogs to ensure that they are not alone and are safe.
Rio Rancho Planning & Zoning approved the overnight stays at a recent meeting.
A former teacher, she started the business after spending time away from her job to care for her two dogs, Beast and Nugget. They are her business’s namesake.
“Beast and Nugget were very important and that’s why I named this Beast and Nugget. Beast was a silky terrier. Nugget was a cocker Spaniel. I am addicted to cocker spaniels.”
In caring for her dogs, she found her passion.
She quit teaching “and stayed home with them for three years,” Sena said. “They passed away. I miss them tremendously and debated about teaching. My husband said why don’t you start dog-sitting? So I said ‘ok.’”
That venture turned out so well that she realized that she couldn’t do it from home.
Her next step, a leap actually, was doggie daycare.
She acquired her current building in November of 2021.
It’s headed for expansion, addition of indoor and possibly outdoor space.
She needs it.
On a slow day, she hosts 40-45 dogs. On a busy day, there can be up to 65-70.
“I knew when I opened this place I wanted to do boarding, but I wanted to do boarding in a different way than everybody else.
Daylong, dogs are allowed to play, she said. Overweight dogs are put on diet, and each dog is handled in the way that it needs. For instance, some dogs need more affection, say something traumatic has happened to them such as an owner or sibling who passes.
“Dogs feel when there is a death in the family or something going on at home,” Sena said. “One dog just lost her sibling dog, and we can see that in the dog so we are giving her extra love and attention. Another lost his dad, his owner. They can feel it. We know all these little things about these dogs and it’s nice to know it because we can give them the affection they need.”
At night now, they can house between 30-40 dogs, “depending on how they sleep,” she said.
There are six private rooms, four smaller rooms, and the goal is to build out.
“I want people to know their dogs are going to be in a safe location and they aren’t going to let them be at home at night,” Sena said.