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Dog Day Care

January 4, 2021

A Pittsfield businesswoman is bringing her passion for pooches to Lee.

Despite the economically crippling coronavirus pandemic, the owner of Love Us and Leave Us in Pittsfield is opening a second dog day care facility, along Route 102. The site, in a former child care business that closed in 2013, is across the highway from Valley Veterinary Service.

Renee Dodds expects to open the Lee location in February, offering a broader range of services and pet options, as the building and 1.3 acre-site is larger than her current business on West Housatonic Street in Pittsfield.

Dodds recently bought the Lee property for $320,000, through the MacCaro Agency, according to its principal Realtor, Anthony Caropreso.

While most small businesses struggle to keep a single commercial space open during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dodds says her expansion fills a need between Great Barrington and Pittsfield.

“Lee does not have any boarding or [dog] day care nearby, and the location is close to the [Massachusetts Turnpike], so, we’ll be convenient for people traveling,” she said. “I had been eyeing the building for a few years, and I noticed it was for sale at a discounted price, and I was saving money toward expansion.”

The original asking price was $389,000.

Dodds expects to hire “at least 10 people” in Lee, while offering dog kennel suites for boarding, indoor and outdoor play areas, cat and small animal boarding, spa services, and separate areas for big and little dogs. The Pittsfield location, which Dodds owns, will remain open. It currently only takes dogs and has seven employees.

“We’ll have more room in Lee, which means we can offer more services, and I’m sure we will keep adding more stuff as we grow,” the Lanesborough native said.

Boarding animals will be on hold until the pandemic passes; when that happens, she expects that people with pets will be traveling in droves.

“I feel like we’ll get slammed with phone calls right off the bat,” she said.

Dodds’ canine care career began in northern Vermont, where, in 2003, she landed a job caring for dogs at an inn while the owners went skiing all day. She returned to the Berkshires to work for a local restaurant and hike dogs on the side before starting a home-based dog care business in 2006. Six years later, she rented space from the owner of 1525 West Housatonic St., buying the building in 2018. “I knew my passion was always to be with dogs, and I knew I could make it happen,” she said. “I have always had the vision to have two locations, and the dream is being fulfilled.”

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