A relatively new business in Montrose started with the idea of a dog daycare and decided to take it to the next level, with large spaces both indoors and outdoors for canines to hang out and play in.
The Hydrant Doggie Playcare takes a unique approach to caring for man’s best friend and is primed to bring success to the startup in its early stages.
Launched in February 2023, Spencer Fuller talked about his journey to starting the project.
“I used to work in the cannabis industry, and I got out of that,” he said. “I was always watching my friends’ dogs, and we have four dogs of our own. It just kind of was a no-brainer.”
He said he used to use a dog daycare for his own pets, and looked hard for something similar around here. He believed he could start something to fit that vision and help others looking for the same thing.
Fuller and his family have lived here since 2017, after growing up in Montrose and studying at Fort Lewis College.
The business is staffed by Spencer, his wife and one other employee, and they’re open seven days a week.
Since starting the business, they’ve kept on learning, and have kept the business on an uphill trajectory.
Of the journey so far, Fuller said, “Over that year, I think our marketing has improved dramatically, we’re adding more kennels for overnight boarding, we’re going to do a nicer hotel room style boarding, in actual rooms as opposed to kennels. But really I think just putting our best foot forward, just doing what we think is right, and we’ve gotten a lot better at finding out what those things are.”
The “playcare” label in the business’ name is intentional. Fuller ditched the idea of a “daycare” in order to communicate a more playful, friendly experience for canines.
“Here we focus on whole enrichment — so socialization, positive smells, environments, textures,” he said. “From the second dogs get in here to the moment they leave, they are constantly interacting with something, be it a new toy, their best friend; we do a lot of treasure hunts and things like that to keep the dogs constantly moving and interacting with the entire space.”
The service for dogs goes above and beyond, but what should the dog owner expect? Fuller emphasizes ensuring peace of mind for the customer.
“The biggest thing for us is to know that your dog is actually going to be cared for in a way that you feel really comfortable leaving for four hours, or even four days,” he said.
He emphasized how they like to ensure the comfort of the animals left with them.
“A lot of that is knowing the dog’s name, knowing the owner’s name, knowing their favorite treats, their best friends. All of those things I think kind of set us apart too, in terms of what the customer can expect.”
And there’s the name “The Hydrant.” Fuller leans into the funny title.
“It’s where a dog pees, man,” he said. “It was like, ‘What’s the most synonymous thing with a happy dog?’ Whizzing on a fire hydrant, to me.”
On what Mr. Fuller thought people should know about The Hydrant, he talked about the broad services they offer, what they plan on doing, and an event they plan on improving.
“We do the daycare, boarding, we do puppy playcare, so basically, really young dogs get a chance to get exposure to other really young dogs. We’re going to start working with a trainer really soon, so people can come in and check with the trainer,” he said, “if that’s something they want to do with their pets. We’re going to be doing another Pup Jam, so we’ll have music and an adoption event, things like that.”
Pup Jam was a small event The Hydrant started last year. Fuller has plans to expand it going forward.
“It was really small, and so (in 2024) we’re going to plan it out a little better, get it done a little more professionally,” he said.
He stated the goals are to make it a much bigger adoption event, and also to bring out other dog-related businesses to showcase what they do for the community.
The Hydrant is located at 28 W. South 4th Street in Montrose, and can be reached at 970-650-8110.
Gunnison Clamp is a freelance contributor for the Montrose Business Times.