CHESTER, Vt. – Gus was a handsome boy that looked like “a little bear cub, big brown paws, blue eyes, cuddly and sleepy. It wasn’t long till those blue eyes turned brown and you were a big boy, very busy. Off to doggy day care you went! You loved doggy daycare,” read an open letter to Gussie from the Moniers, his loving family.
The house at 248 Elm Street had an electrical fire back in March of 2015. Gus was asleep on the Monier’s bed like usual. The Moniers not only lost their home on that cold winter day, but also their beloved dog who was very much a part of their family. He had such a personality, playing in the snow with the kids, walking on and off leash without trouble, and occasionally eating the cat food.
In December 2017 Gail and Jerry Stewart, friends of the Monier family, opened Gussie’s Place on that same property. Owning a kennel was something that Gail had wanted to do for a long time. She had volunteered for the Animal Welfare Society in West Kennebunk, Maine for almost ten years, and she was on their Board of Directors for many years as well. Gail had a passion for dogs, and she “knew the area needed a doggy day care.”
Gussie’s Place is not just an average K9 kennel. It has a country rustic charm that is not only warm and welcoming, but also durable for the doggies. Wooden gates keep the pups in their main playroom, while giving a warm rustic atmosphere. The floors have radiant heat to keep the dogs cozy all day. And beds are provided in case they want to get up off the floor. You simply feel at home when you walk in, and most of the dogs do too!
“One little dog was shy,” Gail said with a smile. So she set up his bed next to her desk, “and he laid there next to me all day.”
Gussie’s Place is “convenient for customers,” Gail explained. They are small enough that she can work around busy schedules, day care drop-off and pick-up times are flexible, and the kennel is in a good location for the local Chester residents. Boarding offers dog owners a peace of mind leaving their dog in good hands in a fun homey environment.
Gail’s kennel is unique in many ways. Boarder dogs “aren’t in their kennel that often,” she explained, “they are out with the day care dogs,” playing, socializing, and getting exercise. She has a completely fenced in yard for the dogs to play outside, as well as a large main room with a couch and dog beds for inside time.
In a separate space, each kennel has a name tag for each individual pup, and all the dogs have daily quiet time in their kennels from noon to 2 p.m. “They have down time so they don’t get too snippy,” Gail said – they’re much like kids! And when it’s time to go home, Gail will get the dogs ready with their harnesses, leashes, and anything else they came with.
Gail uses all non-toxic cleaners throughout the space, and her husband Jerry maintains the building and property. Though Gail runs the day care by herself, Gus’s human brothers Kyle and Jeb Monier help feed and water the dogs if Gail needs to step out or take a day off. She also has friend and contractor Randy Bobar to help look after the kennel if she were to take an extended period of time off.
Gussie’s Place is more than just a country K9 kennel, and though the dogs never get fed cat food, Gus would have approved. Gussie’s Place is open Monday – Saturday from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., closed from noon – 2 p.m. daily for quiet time. You can visit them online at www.gussiesplace.com, and like them on Facebook.
Being a smaller kennel means that the dogs get more attention, but it also means Gail must limit herself to 18 dogs per day. Be sure to give Gail a call at 802-875-3535 before bringing your pup in for day care or boarding.