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Doggie daycare opens along highway
Rusty's Eye's Dog Daycare operates by donation only

John McFadden
Northern News Services
Friday, August 25, 2017

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE
John Lemouel is not entirely sure when or how the idea came to him to open a doggie daycare.

NNSL photograph

John Lemouel coaxes his two dogs Benjamin and Paiden to poke their heads out of his homemade dog trailer in front of his home along Highway 3. He has recently opened Rusty's Eye's Dog Daycare on the property this summer. - John McFadden/NNSL photo

He just knows he is a dog lover and understands that boarding a dog at a kennel or hiring a dog-sitter can be expensive.

Lemouel, 59, opened Rusty's Eye's Dog Daycare this summer at his home on Highway 3 about 15 kilometres outside of Yellowknife. There is a huge sign advertising the daycare on the shoulder of the highway in front of Lemouel's cabin.

So far, he has only had one client a woman from Hay River who came to the city earlier this month for three days of business meetings. Lemouel said he took in her dog and everything went smoothly. The dog was exercised, fed and he even sang and played the guitar for it.

He also kept a log to track how the dog spent its time while at his place. It had its run of his neatly-kept cabin as well as an adjoining trailer.

Lemouel, who describes himself as a recovering alcoholic, said he is unable to work due to a disability and providing a dog daycare allows him to constructively use his time.

He has two friendly dogs of his own but no business licence. He said he was told by Revenue Canada he could run the dog boarding home provided it was by donation only.

Lemouel said he wants to make potential clients aware that they leave their dog or dogs with him at their own risk. But he added he will look after any visiting dogs the same way that he looks after his own. He has even constructed a doggie trailer that he can tow with his bicycle.

He said he is best suited for medium-sized to smaller dogs and warned if someone tries to drop off an aggressive dog he may have to turn them away, partly for the safety of his own pets.

"The dog also has to be house trained especially in the winter when it may be too cold to go outside," he said.

"It'll be at my discretion. You come and see me. I'll treat them like my own dogs but if it's a big, mean dog I'll let you know that I can't handle it."

He said he named the daycare after a friend's dog a woman whom he said helped him through some tough times.

Lemouel said his dream is to eventually be able to board people as well those who may have struggled with alcohol or drugs or both by offering lodging to people who can in turn help him look after the dogs.

"Dogs have helped inmates in southern prisons and patients in hospitals," he said. "Dogs can help people coming out of situations and lifestyles like I came out of."

Lemouel said he has already received donations, including a load of gravel delivered by Yellowknife resident Mark Rocher. Potential customers now have a proper driveway to park.

He said anyone interested in boarding their dog with him can contact him via phone or email.

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