There are more nose marks on the outside of Hold My Paws’ windows than are on in the inside.
It’s ironic, given the dogs are the ones typically looking out the big picture windows at the foot and car traffic on Yonge Street. But, most of the pedestrians walking by the Deer Park dog lounge and spa, have their noses pressed against the glass, watching the oleo of breeds play.
It makes owner and dog behaviour specialist Deena Cooper smile as she wades through a sea of pups in the open environment.
The former convenience store, and oft temporary election campaign headquarters, at Yonge and Rosehill is home for Hold My Paws. It was a location Cooper had her sights on for three years.
“I wanted to create a more relaxing, peaceful environment,” she admits. “I wanted transparency. That was important to me.”
The 2,365 square-foot space offers cubby-hole beds, cushioned window seats with accompanying steps, therapeutic beds and easy-listening urban jazz. Cooper, a former pastry chef, also makes frosty treats for the pups — all organic.
A restful stay, complete with two walks a day at the Rosehill Reservoir, is all part of the strategy for Cooper.
“I want peace and quiet, and that’s important for the dogs,” she says. “This is a high-energy place, and the dogs can get all crazy, but if you stay calm….”
She trails off, but shares several anecdotes about helping the dogs with their separation anxiety, and improve their behaviour, as well as their owners.
Come September, Cooper says she wants to hold a charity fundraiser for the Canine Good Neighbour program. The program helps to train therapy dogs for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
From there, Cooper’s focus is on opening another location uptown. She also wants to develop the Hold My Paws frozen treat line, as well as poop bags.
“I’ll try to take all the products that I’m trying to brand under Hold My Paws and sell them elsewhere,” she says. “I don’t just want to sell them in [our] store.”
But that’s a few years off. Right now, she’s smiling that more pedestrians are peering into the lounge. Then she ends with a references to the Patti Page ditty from the 1950s.
“You know that old saying, ‘How much is that puppy in the window’?”