Lake Country Dog: How Doggy Daycare Gave Me Back My Sanity


A lesson I’ve recently learned the hard way is that the memories of the early stages of raising a puppy are much like memories of childbirth and the first few months with a human baby.  Our brains seem to block out the worst parts and all that remains are mostly the moments of joy.  My youngest is ten years old so my memories of early motherhood are good and faded by now.  The first memories that come back to me are of my adorable round belly, the unimaginable bliss the first time I held each squishy newborn, the tiny diapers, chubby thighs and those first toothless smiles.  If I think a little harder though, I can recall the sleep deprivation, the feelings of desperation, the crying that wouldn’t stop (both mine and the baby’s), the despair at the sight of my own squishy body that I was sure would never return to the one I had known, and of course the endless poopy diapers. So, so much poop.

As it turns out, the same phenomena of selective amnesia occurs when you adopt a puppy. My husband Tim and I brought home an eight week old Golden Retriever early in our marriage, pre kids.  Skyler was a part of our family for nearly fourteen years when we lost her last winter.  It was one of the hardest things our family has gone through.  The pain of her loss was pretty intense-not only did we miss HER but we missed just having a dog around the house to love.  A few months after losing Skyler, Tim and I decided that we were ready to find a new family member in the form of a rescue puppy.  Our memories of puppy raising included a few sleepless nights, the occasional house breaking accident, and some obnoxious and mildly destructive chewing to be sure, but mostly lots of tail wagging puppy adorableness.  Nothing we couldn’t handle.  We were seasoned parents by now and surely couldn’t be phased. And this time we would have two big kids (ages 13 and 10) to help out with all the responsibility. No problem!

Fast forward to the first months with our rescue mutt, Rory.  Total reality check.  She came to us at eight weeks old and didn’t sleep through the night for the first six weeks after that. Tim and I took turns getting up with her two to three times per night at first.  Potty training involved much more than just a mishap or two here and there. While she is getting there and improving every day, there have been many, many accidents. Oh, the poop.  So, so much poop.  The hardest part has been the constant vigilance that’s required to keep up with a puppy with boundless energy who is determined to destroy your home and has no sense of personal safety.  Having lived for the last several years with a geriatric dog who slept so much she could have easily been mistaken for a fur throw rug, I’d forgotten about the perpetual motion and neediness of a young pup.  Exhausting. The kids have done their best to help out but puppies are a lot for even the most mature older kiddo to handle on their own for long. Puppies necessitate a lot of adulting and we all know that adulting can be super overwhelming, even to those of us who’ve been at it for a while.  To be honest, in the beginning it was so overwhelming I felt like I might go completely bonkers.

Enter Lake Country Dog, the answer to our prayers.  Lake Country Dog is a full service day care and boarding facility centrally located at 535 E. Wisconsin Ave. in Downtown Oconomowoc. It is a small business owned and operated by none other than Natasha Wertheimer, my fellow The Lake Country Mom contributor. We sent Skyler to Lake Country Dog on occasion for boarding and grooming but had never taken advantage of their Day Care services.  I’m SO glad that we decided to utilize this service with our new puppy, Rory.  They have been an absolute life saver. Rory attends daycare twice a week and always comes home exhausted and totally chill for the rest of the evening. Ah-mazing.  We’ve also noticed that she does really well with other dogs thanks to the opportunities for socialization she’s been given. And, I’m not going to lie, having two days off each week to get things done around the house or go on extended outings with the kids without worrying about a puppy pulling stunts like these the second my back is turned has been a huge relief.

Rory really loves it too.  When we pull into the parking lot her whole body starts to convulse with joy.  She wags her tail so fiercely and is so excited I can’t get her out of the minivan fast enough!

Here are some highlights of Lake Country Dog’s services and what makes them stand out:


-Available 7 days a week with options for traditional kennels, cage free boarding and adding a full day of day care to overnight boarding (click here for detailed pricing info as well as pick up/drop off hours and policies).

-Boarding guests are limited to 8 dogs (or dog families) per night so you can be sure your pup is getting lots of individualized attention and won’t get too overwhelmed by too many other dog friends.

-Well-kept facilities that are cleaned and sanitized daily with anti-microbal walls and new epoxy flooring. There’s also a nice sized outdoor area to romp around in.

-Orthopedic raised beds provided for each dog to keep them nice and comfy.

-Fun add on options including peanut butter Kongs and ice cream bed time treats. Additionally, essential oil is diffused throughout the facility to help foster a sense of relaxation and calm. (I’m starting to realize that my dog may be doing a better job of living her best life than I am).

-Small/Personal feel.  Natasha is available by text or email and is super responsive. She’ll even send you pictures of your dog while you’re away if you’d like! It’s very obvious that she loves what she does and that she treats each furry client as her own.


-Day care is available Tuesday through Friday starting at 7:00am-1:30pm.  Discounts are offered if your dog attends at least four days per month.  There’s also a punch card option that provides additional savings.  Click here for details.

-Limited to 15 dogs per day to minimize stress on your pooch and to encourage bonding with other dogs. Sticking to a regular day care schedule is encouraged so that the dogs get to know and can expect the same playmates each visit.

-In addition to the natural opportunities for socialization, basic manners and commands will be worked on each day.

-Your dog’s overall happiness and disposition will be noticeably improved when giving the opportunity to spend the day socializing and getting lots of exercise. Especially for working families whose dogs need to be crated and/or left home alone all day.

-And this is the best part….wait for it….Natasha will DROP OFF your dog at your house for you at no additional charge.  There’s no need to worry about rushing home or being there to pick up your furry friend at a specific time.  Your dog will be waiting for you in its crate or other designated area of your choosing when you get home.  I can’t tell you how awesome this has been this summer!

You guys, it gets even better! As a special perk just for The Lake Country Mom readers, Lake Country Dog is offering an exclusive deal!  Just mention The Lake Country Mom when you call or email to reserve a spot for your beloved friend and you’ll receive $10 off boarding of 3 days or more OR a free day of day care with the purchase of a punch card.  

Phone: 262-567-Woof (9663)


Adding a puppy into the mix of an already busy household has definitely been a challenge but it’s not without its rewards.  Our newest family member may be strong willed and bit needy but she’s also sweet and lovable and loyal has already carved out a place in our hearts. Knowing that our pup is being well cared for and occupied while we are away or busy has been a huge blessing and so worth it. And bonus, I’ve always loved supporting my hometown small businesses in return for personal, small-town service.  Lake Country Dog definitely delivers in this area.  If you are a Lake Country dog owner you need to check them out soon-your pup will thank you!

Jennifer Hocevar
My name is Jen and I am so excited to be one of the new contributors to The Lake Country Mom! I live in Oconomowoc with my husband and our two busy kids. My son, Zach is 12 1/2 and in 7th grade and my daughter, Addison is almost 10 years old and in 4th grade. Most evenings and weekends you will find me tooling around Lake Country in my minivan driving kids to various sports and activities. My husband and I swear we used to do things on weekends that did not involve youth sports at one point in our lives but, for the life of us, we can’t remember what they were. If I do have free time, I love to write and dream of publishing a novel someday. I also love traveling and am a sucker for any DIY craft that lets me use my glue gun. I adore living here in Lake Country and can’t wait to share some of my adventures with you! // Follow along on Instagram // Follow Filling up My Cup blog




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