Beast & Nugget’s Doggy Day Care owner Barbara Sena plays with the dogs she let out into the new exercise area on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022. Matt Hollinshead photo.

Dogs adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic went from being stuck at home to their owners returning to work and having less time to ensure they get adequate exercise.

That’s why Barbara Sena prioritized having a spacious outdoor area for the pooches to run around while at her new establishment, called Beast & Nugget’s Doggy Day Care.

“Our yard is crazy big, and we’re so excited for our dogs to be here,” Sena said. “This yard is so big, they’re running from side to side, they’re chasing each other… It fit perfectly for what we wanted.”

Sena said she oversaw clients of Dog Days Doggy Day Care on Southern Boulevard near Golf Course Road for about three months; then she saw the building for what used to be High Desert Animal Hospital at 4305 Peggy Road in Rio Rancho became available. She said she purchased the building and launched operations Dec. 1.

There’s 3,600 square feet of outdoor turf at Beast & Nugget’s Doggy Day Care, and Sena said the next step is to finish building an agility course in the next few weeks.

“They’re playing, and they’re interacting the whole time that they’re here,” Sena said.

She said Beast & Nugget’s started a weight-loss program for overweight dogs where they’d walk and run laps, making the outdoor exercise area even more critical.

“We noticed a couple of dogs from the pandemic didn’t get as much exercise as they wanted, so that was a big, big push,” she said. “When we saw this yard, we knew it was going to be perfect.”

Sena said some clients didn’t know how to socialize their dogs upon preparing to return to work, so Beast & Nugget’s stepped in to help with that.

“They tried the dog parks, and the dog parks weren’t working for them because it wasn’t very structured,” she said. “We do a lot of structure here; we do a lot of one-on-one time.”

She also said the facility just installed a small space for smaller and older dogs to be by themselves.

The new turf area will be unveiled to the public in a grand opening ceremony at 10 a.m. Feb. 12.

Sena said Beast & Nugget’s, which she named after her two late dogs, is taking new clients and looks to include overnight stays for dogs within the next two months. She said she will go before the Rio Rancho Governing Body later this month to discuss changing the area’s land-use zoning.

For more information about Beast & Nugget’s Doggy Day Care, call (505) 429-4107 or visit the facility’s Facebook page.